The Plum Awards have come around again and this time the title is ‘Mary Poppins’ but based around the current situation with the Coronavirus and how wonderful the NHS and our carers have been. I’ve entered, not knowing how I’ll do. I just know it’s good to produce something instructed by a brief, for my portfolio. I’ve really enjoyed producing this artwork. #plumawards2020 #plumpuddingagency
Archie is a spider who knows about being knocked down, but he also believes there must be more to life. When a strong and determined new friend encourages him to take charge of his own destiny, Archie seizes the day! A charming story of friendship, tenacity and teamwork; Archie Wood-Knot is a hero for the next generation of young readers and an inspiration to all.
After the release of the Christmas story ‘A Christmas Eve Tale’ written by Caroline Draper and illustrated by myself, Caroline had set a short story writing competition to some school children in Yorkshire. The winner would receive an illustration of a scene in their story.
I was delighted to read the winners story and design and illustrate a picture based on their words and descriptions. The winning story was based around Christmas time and was imaginative and descriptive which made creating the illustrating easier.
I can’t name the winner for data protection reasons but I have been told that she was delighted with my illustration presented to her. Hopefully it’s something she will keep forever and have fond memories about in the future and perhaps eve go on to write her own children’s book.
With an hour to go on the wet November morning of Monday 25th, Caroline texts me from her taxi on the way to BBC Radio Leeds. Full of excitement and nerves she was on a count down to a very important moment in her new career as a children’s Author; an interview with Stephanie Hirst at BBC Radio Yorkshire. What an opportunity to talk about the book she has written and I have illustrated ‘A Christmas Eve Tale‘. Along with the text was some delightful photos of the main characters she had made by Helen Connolly. The Snowman and Fairy were sat patiently in the taxi, ready for their first big outing.
Very Excited, I tuned in to BBC Radio Yorkshire (Leeds) to hear the warm and friendly voice of my book partner and now good friend, Caroline Draper (Author of A Christmas Eve Tale). What a delightful interview to listen to. As Caroline talked to Stephanie Hirst, it sounded as though these two had been friends for years. I felt like I’d tuned into a warm and cosy coffee shop chat and desperately wanted to join in the laughs and chat myself.
Caroline did a great job of telling us her inspirational story of how she became a children’s book Author and her journey on how the book ‘A Christmas Eve Tale‘ came about. She remembered all the details of when and where the book is available which I was most impressed with as it’s easy to get carried away with nerves and the excitement of being featured on BBC Radio (none the less).
I have to say a big thank you to Caroline for the big shout out and mention on how we both met and her positive comments on my illustrations. I was very impressed that Caroline remembered such detail about my journey into illustration and how I came to meet Caroline and illustrate her beautiful Christmas Eve Tale. I was very touched.
You can listen to the interview on the following link:
A perfect gift for those Christmas Eve Boxes!
Two of the book characters created by Helen Connolly are finished and are off on their journey with Caroline to help share the story ‘A Christmas Eve Tale’ … safe travels! Written by Caroline Draper, Illustrated by Leah Rowe) #waterstones #amazon #foyles #christmas
…Then I shall begin. Caroline Draper (Author) and myself (Leah Rowe, Illustrator), have released part one of ‘A Christmas Eve Tale‘ on YouTube. The YouTube video is the part one of the story put to music and narrated by Caroline herself. She has the warmest voice, full of nostalgia and perfect for a magical and cosy Christmas Eve story. The video has been made to compliment the book and allows a different experience. Reading along with the book is special; you can take your time, browse the book and the illustrations while looking out for the extra little characters that pop up in most illustrations. Count them as you go and see if you get them all. (Answers at the back of the book). Watch part one of the story on YouTube and enjoy the music, narration as well as little animated moments. Part Two will be released closer to Christmas. You can also follow updates on the book and the creation of decoration figures based on the book characters made by Helen Connolly – so follow this blog or keep an eye out of Facebook ‘A Christmas Eve Tale‘. Once you purchase the book, we’d be very grateful if you could please leave your feedback – we’d love to knowhow you found it and if your little ones enjoyed it. Amazon.co.uk / com /.au Waterstones.com Olympiapublishers.com
Watching the delicate, hand-made characters come to life from A ‘Christmas Eve Tale‘ is truly mesmerizing. Helen Connolly is a real talent and a brilliant find by Caroline Draper (Author). I’m so delighted she has stayed true to the characters I have illustrated in throughout the story. Every bit of detail is taken care of; her red fairy dress with dots and sparkles, her stripy tights to her round pale face, freckles and flowing fiery orange hair. The Snowman with his rounded belly, blue and red wooly scarf, big red nose and cute face – so adorable you’ll be hooked instantly. And this is just a start – there’s more characters to follow, ready to show for next Christmas.
They’re attracting a lot of attention demand for them already. The characters, which Helen has made are currently beautiful delicate Christmas decorations but it would seem there’s a future for them as toy characters, which are more durable and safe for a child to play with.
One thing leads to another as they say and it’s like this Christmas Eve Tale story has a real magic of it’s own. Like someone waved the sparkly fairy dust over the book itself and brought the whole thing to life. With great feedback already based on the YouTube video trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdEkGUIbP4o, Caroline and I are very excited about the release on 28th November 2019. It makes me feel warm and glowing inside as I think of young children everywhere, reading or listening to this delightful tale on Christmas Eve. Which character will they identify with? Could the tale be real? What DOES happen to the Christmas decorations throughout Christmas eve?
A Christmas Eve Tale, Written by Caroline Draper, Illustrations by Leah Rowe
Available online at Amazon.co.uk, Waterstones.com and OlympiaPublishers.com