Completing the MA at Cambridge School of Art would give me a chance to make it as an illustrator of children’s books. I want to use my artistic talents to make inspiring picture books which spark young readers’ imaginations.
I have strived to develop my illustration for many years. The MA has been brilliant in expanding my drawing skills and experimenting with my own visual language. It has reignited my passion for combining pictures and words to tell stories. In 2018, my progress was halted when I underwent a major operation which meant deferring the MA and being unable to work for 3 months whilst recovering. Thankfully I am now well but unable to pay the remaining tuition fees to continue with the last module. The final part of the MA is about developing books and a portfolio of work which is ready to present to the publishing industry and agents.
During the MA I created a book, Sealskin, based on an Inuit folk tale, which explores the themes of belonging and home.
Another MA project was a book, The Wilful Thing, which is inspired by Charlotte Brontë who obeyed her inner call to write despite the restrictive expectations placed upon her during her lifetime. Her efforts to conform are thwarted by an ever present crow, her creative impulse.
I am delighted that The Wilful Thing, will be published by a small independent publishers, Hikari Press in 2019. I am currently working on developing this book but there is no payment until after it is published. Nevertheless, this encouragement along with reassurance from tutors and professionals within the publishing industry has given me the conviction that I could perhaps realise a big dream.
My challenge is to consolidate all the learning so far and work on a new picture book which is specifically aimed at child readers. I am keen to explore drawing green spaces in the city in which I live, Liverpool, and have begun to draw a girl and her companion cat who are trying to find their way out of the woods. So far, sketches are very rough but I am excited about this project and seeing how it will grow
Over the last 2 years I have supported my part time studies by doing various jobs. Cake baker, children’s story sharer, teaching assistant, book shop assistant, running an art club for young people and creating visual minutes for events and conferences. Whenever I can, I work as a freelance illustrator or artist/maker for theatre and carnival companies. All of these experiences have strengthened my ability to gather and tell stories but none, frustratingly, have made me enough money to finish my MA!
It has now reached crunch time. Due to the starting date of my course in 2015, I am not eligible for post graduate funding. I have explored charities and trusts but not yet had any luck. I have had so much support from my parents already. I need to pay the remaining £2500 of my tuition fees and afford the fortnightly travel costs to Cambridge in order to continue in October and since my operation I don't seem have the same energy at present to undertake multiple jobs and projects whilst studying. In order to pursue a career in children's books I need financial help and some time to focus until the end of the course in January 2019.
Thankyou for reading. You can see more of my work on my website: gillsmithillustration.com
Any contribution towards helping me fulfill my potential would be massively appreciated.
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