V&A Illustration Awards 2019 Student Category – Sandy Horsley

The brief for this project was to reimagine Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale, The Wind in the Willows.

I wanted to capture the traditional feel of the book whilst also showing moments of humour, without the illustrations becoming overtly whimsical.

Using a restricted colour pallette, I combined the traditional mediums of pen and ink and monoprinting with digital collage to create the illustrations.

I worked on this project during my final year of the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.

Penguin Random House Write Now programme 2018 – I’m through to the next round!

Sandy Horsley Jack and the Beanstalk Panda Harp

Exciting times! I’ve recently heard that I’m one of 10 illustrators selected to go through to the next round of the Penguin Random House Write Now 2018 mentoring programme.

The Write Now programme was set up to promote under-represented writers and illustrators in books and publishing. This includes, “illustrators and writers from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) communities, writers and illustrators with a disability, or who come from a socio-economically marginalised background”. *

It is worrying that in 2018 there still isn’t the equality or diversity there should be in children’s books. In this recent blog post, I talk about how my awareness was raised about ongoing issues regarding lack of diversity. See this research here and here.

My experience as a working class child, with a colloquial accent, growing up on a council estate in Norwich, was never reflected back at me in any of the books that I read.  My access to books was limited, there weren’t many at home and the local library was off our radar.

The school library was my secret pleasure, where I read stories about characters and heroes that inhabited very different worlds to mine (think Enid Blyton or the Chronicles of Narnia). The escapism of these other worlds was of course enjoyable, but I remember gasping with delight when I came across a book that had a colloquial phrase in it that was used by my family. That experience of recognition and reflection happened only once in my whole childhood of reading, and I still remember the phrase to this day.

The Write Now entry requirements for illustrators was to illustrate the whole story of Jack and the Beanstalk – one finished full colour spread and 11 black and white rough spreads. That was quite a challenge as I came to the competition fairly late. I was also struggling with the whole moral aspect of the traditional story of Jack and the Beanstalk, which to me seemed to be saying: if you’re poor it’s ok to steal…err… I don’t think so!

The story text was pre-determined by Penguin Randon House and couldn’t be changed, so I had to think of a way of using just the illustrations to change the moral slant of the story…which hopefully I did. I’ll get to that in a future post.

So now I’m through to the next round, which is a day’s workshop with Penguin Random House, learning all about the publishing industry and talking through my work. After the workshop a shortlist will be announced and another illustration challenge set. Ultimately a total of 10 writers and illustrators will be chosen (from an original 1700 entries) for the year’s mentoring scheme…*bites nails*…wish me luck!

Sandy Horsley Jack and the Beanstalk Penguin Random House 2018

*As quoted on this Penguin Random House Write Now web page [accessed online 17:10 07.09.2018]

Noirwich Flash Fiction Competition 2018 – Shortlisted!

I am delighted that my entry to the Noirwich Flash Fiction Competition 2018 has reached the shortlist of 10!

The Noirwich Perfect Crime Writing Festival is run in conjunction with the National Centre for Writing and the University of Easy Anglia. The competition was for short stories less than 500 words based in or around my home town of Norwich and/or Norfolk.

As a newbie to the writing scene, I am so excited that Black Shuck’s Awful Alphabet, A Deliciously Dark Bedtime Story has reached the shortlist.

 

#3000 Chairs Fundraiser for Refugees Pop-up chair

Sandy Horsley pop-up chair original print 2      Sandy Horsley pop-up chair original print 3

My most recent pop-up is this little chair made for the #3000 chairs fundraiser to help refugees.

The chair is an original drypoint etching print and the feathers are tiny block prints, hand printed, hand cut and assembled into a pop-up of my own design.

It was auctioned at the book launch of The Day the War Came, a book by Nicola Davies and Illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, highlighting the plight of refugees.

PAUSE pop-up book

https://vimeo.com/sandyhorsley/pausepopupbysandyhorsley

My pop-up book P A U S E was put into (sort of) mass production as I had to prepare an additional three copies to take to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in March 2017.

Re-creating the main chaos pop-up and the pylon pop-up three more times was certainly a challenge! But I got there in the end, phew 🙂

The brief was to propose, develop and execute a completed visual sequence for a children’s picture book as part of my MA studies.
I wanted to show through illustration, printmaking and pop-ups how our obsession with digital gadgets can mean we miss out on the beauty that’s all around us.

Switch off that phone and go out for a walk!