e: What is your creative process, can you walk us through it?
Bethan: My creative process can vary depending on what project I’m working on. With picture books I usually start by generating ideas. I try to do an exercise where I think of as many ideas as I can in three minutes which brings out all sorts of wild ideas.
Bethan: My path to publication started on my illustration (BA) course at the Cambridge School of Art. My class were given a 6 week book project in the second year of our degree. The brief was quite loose, so we were encouraged to find a text, or a competition to give it some structure. I chose to make a book for the Macmillan Childrens Book Competition. I only had six weeks, so I didn’t have enough time to create my own story from scratch, so I used a pre-existing text, Little Red Riding Hood. I had never illustrated a story, nor illustrated for children, but I really enjoyed it! I submitted my picture book to the prize, and a little while later I was told that I had won the prize! I worked on Little Red with Macmillan on its journey to being published, which it finally was on the 24th March.
Bethan: I think the most challenging part of being a creator is having an ‘off’ day. As an illustrator you rely on your mind and hands to work together to create artwork, but sometimes that doesn't happen. It can be really frustrating to set aside time to illustrate and you just aren’t feeling very inspired! If I am ever suffering from a creative block like this, I have found the best thing is to go get inspired. Inspiration can come in all forms, but I like to go to museums or new exhibitions, as it really helps to go and learn about something new. Having enough ‘me’ time is important too, a lot of creatives juggle freelancing with other part time work. Although it’s really tempting to spend all of your spare time making things, you’ll run out of creative juice if you don’t have a movie day every once in a while!
Bethan: I think my definition of ‘Heart Art’ is about the relationship between the text and illustrations. The text gives us the story, but the images can be used to tell us more of the story and in a really exciting way. An example of this would be from Little Red:
The text reads ‘And he made a plan’, but the illustration tells you more.