Thursday 1 September 2016

A fab blog tour guest post from Lisa Stickley, author of "Handstand" (Pavilion Books)

We're joined today by Lisa Stickley, author of a fab new children's book teaching the values of practice and perseverance. Here's Lisa sharing with us her typical working day...Take it away Lisa!

If I’m having a ‘book’ day then it starts at 8:30/9am with a plan of action (in my very necessary mini notebook), inking up my mono printing block (always with black ink), and an essential side addition of tea, tea and more tea. Sometimes I will be illustrating a book I’ve already written, working on completely new ideas, or experimenting with new thoughts and pages for my portfolio.

My books start with an initial idea being vaguely scribbled down as a word and picture concept. The story comes next followed by illustration plans page by page. I quite like to map these out on huge rolls of brown packing paper (and white chalk) in case my mind wanders a bit too much. This way I can chalk up ideas for as long as necessary! Last year I built a super-narrow yet LONG kitchen table, which is the perfect place for such mapping out.

I tend to get the writing as finished as possible first, and ‘colour in’ second. Although the text and illustrations are often tweaked and twiddled along the way, as I frequently read back over and regularly check to see how the pages flow from one to the other image wise.

I like to use a variety of techniques for my illustration. Printed line, pen and ink, paper-cutting, oil pastel, paint (of various kinds – household emulsion tester pots are often a favourite!) and crayon.

Having originally trained as a printed textile designer my fabric patterns and designs often make a regular appearance in my books too, used as backgrounds, textures or to ‘dress’ the occasional pair of shorts.

I always create/ draw/ paper-cut all of the elements for each page separately (the outline for each person or creature, pattern, texture and so on). These are then scanned into the computer and collaged together to make the final composition.

Inspiration comes from all over the place. I am a prolific collector of random things and have packed boxes and sketchbooks full of ephemera, photographs, colours, fabric and paper cuttings, objects, ceramics and old toys I have gathered together over the years, all ready to dip into as and when.

For my books I particularly love using old lined paper, aged graph paper and exercise book sheets for the background. A great stash from a Parisian flea market I visited 20 years ago still comes in useful today!

My work day finishes at around 5pm when I switch back to being mummy and go forth to the splishing and sploshing of bathtime, followed by lots of stories before bed!

I am very lucky to have two lovely little daughters who are as keen on books as I am, and we have a number of go to stories we all favour. Top favourite books of the moment are;

Harry The Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham (YAY!!!! We love this one - Ed)

Shh! We Have A Plan, by Chris Haughton

Outfoxed, by Claudia Boldt (hilarious!)

If I’m on a roll then when all is quiet and I’ve refuelled after dinner, the midnight oil comes out and on I go…

Handstand is published by Pavilion Books on 8th September, £9.99 hardback

Follow Lisa on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest @lisalevis

Join #HandstandBook to win signed copies of the book!