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The Children’s Book Illustrator’s Guide to Self-Isolation

By Pathways

The Coronavirus pandemic has turned the world as we know it on its head. While everyone has been affected in different ways, we at Pathways thought it would be valuable to share our top tips for illustrators, specifically children’s illustrators who need support during these difficult times. So without further ado, let’s dive in…

  1. Learn about the support you can receive

It goes without saying that this is an extremely stressful time for many of us. If you’re a freelance illustrator or designer who is simply trying to get their head around the practical aspects of this situation, check out the AOI’s COVID19 guide for illustrators. Complete with all the latest information about everything from seeking government support to taking care of your mental well-being, if there is anything you can do about your current circumstances, you can learn about it here.

  1. Take care of your mental health
George by Chris Haughton

While washing hands and staying inside is imperative, remember to also be kind to your mind. It’s fine if you’re not at your most productive right now and can’t find the energy to be creative. If the pressure to draw, paint or write is making you feel more stressed, don’t feel compelled to continue reading this article – switch off and focus on something that distracts or relaxes you instead. Allow yourself to fall down the cat video abyss, or turn to free mental health resources for support when things get too overwhelming.

  1. Build your skills

If you’d like to stretch your creative muscles, practice responding to a brief. A number of competitions for writers and illustrators are open for entries. Why not challenge yourself? Remember, you don’t have to send your creations in if it proves to be too stressful. If you’d like to try something simpler, go back to the basics – get stuck in to some observation drawing or hone your character designing skills.

  1. Study up!
Illustration by Dapo Adeola

If you find that you have more time, get a feel of the industry and draw inspiration from the works of other great writers and illustrators. Don’t know where to begin? Check out our complete selection of Book of the Week titles for inspiration. You can also learn a lot from the British Library’s Discovering Children’s Books online resource or dPictus’s curated list of 100 outstanding children’s books.

  1. Support each other

We are strongest when we stand together. Amplify the work of fellow creators on your social media and consider buying any books you’ve been eyeing from an independent bookshop.  If you can, consider joining the #artistsupportpledge campaign on Instagram which seeks to make art available to everyone while helping artists support each other. The rules are simple – sell your artwork for under £200 to anyone who wants to purchase it. Once you have earned £1000, purchase another artist’s work for £200.

  1. Support others
From Two Problems for Sophia by Yasmeen Ismail

If you’re looking for ways to use your skills as an artist to support others, there are many things you can try doing. If you’re confident in your skills as an educator, why not speak to your friends who are parents or teachers and offer to help them with an art lesson for their kids or their students? If that sounds too complicated, you could make simple colouring sheets that children (and maybe even grown-ups) can enjoy. Or, you can follow Sir Quentin Blake’s lead and design your own set of e-cards that people can send each other to spread cheer and as a show of solidarity.

What are your top tips for artists and writers trying to get through self-isolation? Share your ideas on Twitter and Instagram, tagging @PathwaysInto, or write to us on pathways@pop-up.org.uk