Roisín Swales nominated for The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.

Manchester School of Art alumni Rosín Swales, recognition for her first picture book ‘Big Hid’ Nobrow Press.

Illustration with Animation alumni 2016 Roisín Swales has been nominated for the highly prestigious CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.

The picture book ‘Big Hid’ was developed in Rosín’s third year on the course became the centre of her final degree show and New Designers where Roisín was spotted by Sam Arthur from Nobrow publishing. The Kate Greenaway Medal will proceeds in stages from nomination to long list to short list with the final winner announced in June 2018. Nomination in itself assures a wider global audience for the book and the opportunity to raise Rosín’s profile in the industry alongside some of the leading illustrators working in this field today.
Previous winners of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal include William Grill, Chris Riddell, Levi Pinfold, Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes and Quentin Blake.
Long list announced in the New Year.

Interview with Roisín in Creative Review 2017

Carnegie Greenaway Awards

Rosin Swales  Previous post profiling this publication.


‘Pongwiffy’ series of children’s books to be illustrated by recent graduate Katy Riddell.

Graduate success story in children’s publishing.

Another alumni success story to relay – this time from illustrator Katy Riddell.

Katy graduated from the BA(Hons) Illustration with Animation course in 2015 and recently came into Manchester School of Art for some help with scanning some originals. We can’t show you any of this work yet as they are still waiting to be published, however we can give you some background on a great start to a career as a book illustrator.

Katy has been commissioned to provide new illustrations for the Pongwiffy series of hugely popular children’s books written by author Kaye Umansky. Originally published nearly thirty years ago, they are now being reissued in this edition by Simon and Schuster Children’s Books. The first two books came out in a dual binding late August 2017, with another two out by the end of the year and more for 2018.

We will ask Katy to share some of the work with us in due course.

More details here on The Bookseller website

Katy Riddell Instagram 

Simon and Schuster Children’s Books 2017



Alumni David Howe Illustrates ‘Kes’ A Kestrel for a Knave for the Folio Society

A graduate success story with the Folio Society.

David Howe graduated in 2015 from the BA (Hons) Illustration with Animation programme at Manchester School of Art and as part of his end of year show took part in the New Designers Graduate Showcase in London. Whilst exhibiting at the event he was picked out by art directors from The Folio Society as an illustrator they might be interested in working with when the right project came along…

Later that summer David received a call from the team at Folio and was commissioned to provide a series of illustrations for a reissue of Barry Hines classic text ‘A Kestrel For A Knave’ better known to many perhaps as ‘Kes’ following the release in 1969 of the film adaptation by Ken Loach.

The resulting rather subtle and beautifully designed book was published in May 2017 and is only available direct from The Folio Society:   The Folio Society: A Kestrel For A Knave 

End paper design by David Howe for A Kestrel For a Knave The Folio Society
David Howe: A Kestrel For A Knave, The Folio Society 2017

We interviewed David to find out more about how this process worked:

David Howe – timeline to publication:

In the July of 2015 I was exhibiting at New Designers in London on the course stand and after the first day received a business card left by the Folio Society. The contact was made by one of the art directors who asked me to get in touch.

After arriving back to Liverpool, I followed this up by sending a package with a hand written note and a few A4 prints of my work down to The Folio Society in London addressed to the art director. The next day I received an email from saying they were  delighted that I got in touch and how much they liked the ‘Berlin’ drawing that I had on display on the New Designers stand. Folio also gave me initial details about the commission they had in mind and that they were going to present my work at a forthcoming planning meeting, to confirm whether I would be the best candidate for the work and subsequently receive the commission.

The Folio Society - A Kestrel For A Knave Inside Illustration by David Howe
David Howe: A Kestrel For A Knave, The Folio Society 2017

Three weeks passed and I received an email saying ‘Good News, we have a commission for you!’ The book was ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ and they wanted twelve drawings (eleven black and white text integrated illustrations and one colour image for the title page), in addition I was asked to create a binding design, and several motifs for the inside of the book. I accepted the commission and they sent me a copy of the text to read as reference.

After accepting the commission, we met in London for a more detailed design briefing so that I could get a better idea of the kind of  projects they commission at The Folio Society and more importantly to get a better idea of what they were expecting from me as the illustrator. We talked in detail about the potential illustrations and how they could integrate effectively with the text. We discussed the binding design details and the idea of the translucent outer dust jacket that would come with the final publication, and which my artwork would be printed on to. We also discussed deadlines, roughs and contracts at the same meeting.

David Howe: A Kestrel For A Knave, The Folio Society 2017

After returning from London, I first started by working on the roughs for the binding. I presented five ideas in total, all of which had a full wrap around drawing design for the cloth back and some smaller drawings on the paper jacket. During this time I was also working on the texts and thumbnails for the illustrations. I was sending in images and receiving feedback on which ones were suitable until after a number of weeks I was left with the agreed 12 drawings they wanted me to produce and the agreed binding design.

Work began on the binding first and it was a huge challenge to try and get the tightness that the ‘Berlin’ drawing had. I made a series of fully rendered attempts to get this drawing correct and when It finally came together and I had the OK it was a huge relief. During this time I had been drawing constantly, beyond anything I had experienced before, producing two – three illustrations each day. Some inevitably taking longer than others but I kept that momentum going until I had all of them completed.

The final drawings were presented alongside the original roughs so that I could demonstrate how the ideas had evolved. When all the work was signed off I hand delivered the drawings to London (I confess two weeks longer than the original deadline!) and showed them to the design team at Folio – I am pleased to say they were all really happy with the results. They were then sent to production to be scanned and over coming weeks turned into the final book itself.

Thank you David – a great insight into the commissioning process.

David Howe. Website   Instagram

The book was published in May 2017.  Folio Society: A Kestrel For A Knave

Digital Arts Magazine feature A recent article on The Folio Society featuring David’s work alongside some other Folio commissioned illustrators

All images Courtesy of The Folio Society.



Advertising Unlocked

Student placement success

In October 2017 a group of 10 students from third year illustration signed up for attendance at an event running across the UK  called Advertising Unlocked.

Advertising Unlocked was a unique Open House event where top UK agencies opened their doors to those curious about a career in advertising.

Visitors had an opportunity to learn about the wide range of creative and production roles in an exciting industry which makes everything from high profile adverts (like the John Lewis Christmas TV ads) to bus stop posters, public health campaigns, web banners and much more.

We had most students attend an event at McCann Manchester – (which is actually based in Cheshire just outside Macclesfield). As part of the day the agency set all the students who attended the event a challenge and offered a negotiated paid 2 week internship as a prize for the most successful applicant.

We are pleased to announce that both Alexandra Boocock and Amy Needham from third year were both successful and will be undertaking the placements in mid November. In addition Ella Brown has also been offered further work experience later in the year. Great opportunities to see how the creative sector operates and the variety of roles that exist within these organisations.

McCann Manchester

Thank you to Jeff McCarthy Senior Lecturer, Digital Marketing at MMU for bringing this event to our attention.

Picture Hooks Conference May 20th 2017 at Manchester School of Art.

In May 2017 Manchester School of Art will play host to the first Picture Hooks event to take place outside Scotland. Picture Hooks was originally set up to encourage and develop talent in emerging Scottish illustrators and the scheme is funded by Creative Scotland.

As part of the day we are delighted to welcome back one of our own former students Amy Veried who will be returning to talk in her capacity as a junior artists agent for Handsome Frank, London.
The Picture Hooks team offer a wealth of professional insight and experience to new and aspiring illustrators. They are all established names in their respective fields as authors, educators, illustrators and literary agents, based in and around Edinburgh and with excellent links to the professional publishing industry across the UK and beyond.

Profiles of the team can be read here.

Picture Hooks works across two kinds of delivery – the first being a mentoring scheme that offers five successful applicants per year the opportunity to be mentored and developed under the wing of professional illustrators for a period of twelve months – culminating in an exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery.

You can see pictures of the 2015/16 show here

The second strand of activity is a bi-annual conference – which in 2017 will be hosted by Manchester School of Art – details below:

Picture Hooks presents its annual conference for illustrators, now in its fourth year, with the Association of Illustrators and Manchester School of Art.

This is a great opportunity for emerging illustrators and graduates to get an insider’s view into the picture book industry and other commercial opportunities, with illuminating talks from leading publishing experts and agents.
We are joined this year by Tessa Strickland, the co-founder of Barefoot Books, and Tiffany Leeson, the Creative Director of Egmont Publishing.

Illustrator Robert Hunter will be joined by Zoe Aubugeau-Williams of Nobrow Press to talk about Robert’s hugely successful career in print and moving image. Rob will focus on the vital relationship between agent, illustrator and publisher, as well as the importance of promotion. This discursive session will allow for questions from the floor and is an ideal moment to get practical tips along side inspiration!


The AOI will present a special edition of the hugely popular series AOI Discusses: Making More Money with Amy Veried (agent at Handsome Frank) plus illustrators Matthew the Horseand Sonny Ross. They will share their experiences and offer practical tips around contracts, negotiation and the awkwardness of pricing your work, with lots of time for Q&A.

Further speakers to be confirmed!

You can book a ticket on the following link: Picture Hooks 2017

We look forward to seeing you at the event.


Roisin Swales, ‘Big Hid’ and Flying Eye Books.

Roisin Swales graduated from Illustration with Animation in 2016 with a portfolio of work that clearly identified picture books as a career direction she was interested in following. There had already been early indications of Roisin’s potential when as a second year she was recognised with inclusion in The International Lemniscaat Worldwide Picture Book Illustration Exhibition at The Hive in Worcester. (image below)

Roisin Swales 2.jpgFollowing a successful end of year show in Manchester and a shortlisting for the 2016 Macmillan Prize. (see below). In July 2016 the IWA course took a selectionRoisin Swales.jpg

Roisin Swales.jpg

of the the final year student show down to the New Designers graduate showcase in London…..this was a success for the course overall but in particular Roisin’s work received a great deal of attention form publishers and agents.

You can read what happened next in this interview with Roisin in Creative Review April 2017:

Further research:

The Macmillan Prize

The International Centre for the Picture Book in Society

New Designers