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Children’s Book Illustrator Julia Groves

Julia Groves is recent graduate from the Children’s Book Illustration MA at Cambridge school of Art, Anglia Ruskin University.

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‘My time on the course has been a rollercoaster ride and a brilliant crash course into the children’s book world. The course was set up by Martin Salisbury and I’ve been taught by some of the best contemporary illustrators – Pam Smy, Alexis Deacon, Marta Altes, Paula Metcalf and guest speakers – Quentin Blake and Oliver Jeffers.

I’ve enjoyed exploring traditional and digital media, printmaking and letterpress, learning about sequence and narrative and eventually developing my own illustration portfolio. I’m primarily interested in board books and picture books, but I think my work could translate to other illustration platforms. My background in printmaking and my interest in graphic design have really shaped my approach to design, colour and composition.’

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‘I usually begin developing an idea by storyboarding it, although I will quite often start with the last image and work backwards! I enjoy the restrictions of working to the 12 spread (double page) format of picture books, there are also design considerations such as the gutter (where the page is folded) to take into account. I’ll sometimes create one large image which fills the whole page, but I also enjoy playing with repeat patterns and peep holes.

My work is created using a combination of printmaking and cut-paper, initially I always work in black, everything is then scanned, coloured and composed in Photoshop. I love to create my own text, again using either letterpress or hand-drawn type. Although I love using Photoshop, for me it’s all about creating a final image that retains a hand-made quality.’

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‘I was represented on our university stand at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair this year and had the opportunity to meet publishers and agents from all over the world. It was a fantastic experience and the illustrator’s exhibitions and publisher’s stands were a great source of inspiration. The experience has enabled me to make contact with publishers and to gain invaluable advice about my work. I’m still in the process of promoting my work and have been fortunate to have had several meetings following the contacts I made at Bologna.’

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Website | @julia2groves | Facebook