Artist and Illustrator Emma Graham visits Inkspokes today, bringing with her a symphony of animals in motion, a travelling mouse, twittering birds in flight, and wood creatures pointing the way to a musical happening.
Being somewhat partial to raccoons and mice and other creatures of the woods, we were naturally attracted to Emma Graham‘s drawings and illustrations the first time we saw them. You’ll see a parade of little animals jump, dance and fly about. But it was not just the characters that drew us into her artwork. It was the manner in which Emma’s illustrations told a story. There’s energy in them – maybe from the perspective taken: a little mouse in various stages of falling, a tower of wood creatures wibbling and wobbling. There’s drama and there’s life.
There’s also something special about Emma’s style. There are scenes and characters that carry the soft textures of color pencils or water color and yet there also are places where we see the rich, vibrant colors. She readily uses, selectively, the full range of her palette. It’s an exciting blend.
We are lucky to be able to showcase some of Emma Graham’s children’s illustrations and sketches here today and marvel at that bit of sparkle, that bit of dance that lights up her art. But we’ll let Emma tell you a bit about herself and her work.
EG: I am a highly versatile and experienced illustrator and aspiring writer based on the coast of Suffolk, UK.
I come from a creative family. Both my mother and grandmother were highly collected artists and my father a photographer. I was always surrounded by beautiful books as my parents were avid collectors of old children’s books. They also ran a highly acclaimed gallery in the late 70’s in Norwich, so I grew up in a wonderful creative background of artists, print makers, potters and sculptors.
Since graduating from Great Yarmouth College of Art in 1990, with an HND in Graphic design, I have built up a colourful and exciting portfolio designing and illustrating everything from book covers to seed packets, album covers, greetings cards and private commissions.
I work in a variety of styles and media, from vibrant inks to soft colour pencil, finding inspiration in the Suffolk countryside and shoreline, myths and legends and from both modern and classic children’s stories.
In 2014 I exhibited at Ipswich art school in the Once Upon a Time exhibition alongside the likes of Nick Butterworth, Margaret Tempest and Helen Oxenbury, and for me this was a big turning point in my confidence as an illustrator.
I am a member of SCBWI and in 2016 participated in The Hook at the UK SCBWI conference. In 2016, I was longlisted for the Picture Hooks mentoring scheme. In January of this year, I was shortlisted for the Stratford Literary Festival’s Stratford-Salariya Prize for picture books.
I have two of my own picture book stories, all illustrations roughed out and some spreads complete. ‘The Owl who wanted to sing’ and ‘Mouse’s star’ are on submission to publishers and agents. ‘Mouse’s star’ has two sequels written too that I am looking forward to illustrating. The trouble is my head is full of ideas that I am longing to draw and so I aspire to write too.
I am currently contracted to illustrate a picture book (titled Symphony Hollow) with a US publisher. Symphony Hollow, written by Jessica Reino, is about a group of very musical animals. The book is due for publication by Spork (an imprint of Clear Fork Publishing) in April 2018.
More about Emma Graham and her work may be found at:
Emma Graham’s Website: www.egrahamillustrations.co.uk
or follow her on social media for day to day updates and sneak previews of what she is working on:
(Illustrations in this post are copyrighted by Emma Graham. All rights reserved.)