Macmillan, Harper Collins and Walker Books

The final day saw visits to Macmillan Children’s Books, Harper Collins and Walker Books.

Nigel and Rachel took students to see Macmillan art director Chris Inns and his design team in the morning. Chris was extremely generous with his time, giving us all a great insight into how children’s books are commissioned, designed and illustrated. Strong ideas and strong characters were the top of his wish list in an illustrator. Interestingly he was positive about the future of young audience illustration, saying that in his opinion “I think its a golden age for illustration” . Of course we live in a period of intense competition but it was reassuring for someone in Chris’s position to say this. He also was very complimentary about Falmouth Illustration. We will make sure that we get a good number of Macmillan prize entries in this year…

Tom took a group to see Julian Humphries at Harper Collins. Of course Harper Collins are one of the big publishers and so it was a very interesting visit for students. The parent company has many imprints, including 4th Estate, William Collins, Borough Press and more.

Today, HarperCollins UK publishes around 1,000 books a year. Their authors include worldwide bestsellers such as Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, George RR Martin, and perennial fiction favourites Bernard Cornwell, Wilbur Smith, Patricia Cornwell and Cecelia Ahern. In non-fiction, they publish such luminaries as Max Hastings, Nigel Slater, Professor Brian Cox, Lorraine Pascale and Lena Dunham.

Their award-winning children’s division publishes the most talented authors around, including Michael Morpurgo, David Walliams, Judith Kerr, Derek Landy, Oliver Jeffers and Holly Smale, alongside all-time classics such as Paddington Bear and Dr Seuss.

In the afternoon Nigel and Tom took around 25 students to visit Louise Power at Walker Books. Louise, as ever, gave a fantastic presentation that is borne from years of experience in the industry. She reiterated that Walker look for strong emotional connections with the reader and also highly value strong drawing skills. Once she had run through Chris Haughton’s brilliant book, ‘A Bit Lost’, she used theatre as an analogy for the presentation of narrative within a book where the characters are ‘actors on a set’. She also said to students, ‘don’t get obsessed with backgrounds, your characters are far more important’. Once a gain a great visit to round the week off with.


Saatchi & Saatchi, Harper Collins and Arena Illustration Agency

Nigel Owen took 8 students to see Senior designer Julian Humphries at  Harper Collins today. Julian is an experienced book designer who was able to take students through the process of commissioning illustrators, developing the concept and navigating a route through the maze of editorial meetings with editors, sales and marketing, the author etc. it was very revealing for students who asked intelligent questions throughout.


Later in the morning Rachel Dunn took 22 students to Saatchi & Saatchi. This was a new visit for Falmouth students that had been organised by Linda Scott (thanks Linda). The students were met by ex Falmouth illustration student Layla Boyd who is now a project manager at Saatchi & Saatchi. Layla gave students a wonderful insight into the world of advertising and her career pathway. Students were looked after from the moment they walked through the doors and Layla’s professionalism and words of advice were inspirational. Thank you Layla…

Students with Layla Boyd at Saatchi & Saatchi

Students with Layla Boyd at Saatchi & Saatchi

Early in the afternoon Nigel took five students to Arena Illustration Agency. Arena are based in Stratford, east London, close to the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. The Long trip was really worth it. Tamlyn and Caroline spent well over an hour talking at length about the role that Agents play within an illustrator’s career. Their in depth knowledge of the industry is just what students needed. Topics such as characterisation, copyright, marketing, visual language amongst others were discussed all under the watchful eyes of Tamlyn’s cats! It was great to see three ex falmouth students that are represented by Arena doing so well (Levi Pinfold, Emily Fox and Euen Cook).

Tamlyn Francis at Arena

Tamlyn Francis at Arena

Many thanks for the free book Tamlyn…..