Illustrator: mentor in 2021
Debi Gliori is well known for both her picture books and her novels for children and has been shortlisted for all the major prizes, including the Kate Greenaway Award (twice) and the Scottish Arts Council Award. Debi was the Shetland Islands’ first Children’s Writer-in-Residence. She has written and illustrated books like The Trouble With Dragons, The Scariest Thing of All, What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?, Alfie in the Bath and, most recently, Night Shift.
Surprisingly, working with Arthur via Zoom has been an ideal mentoring approach. We “met” every other week for nine months, and I am utterly delighted with what we’ve achieved. Initially, Arthur came to Picture Hooks with a highly refined style that didn’t “fit” the stories he wanted to tell. It requires tact and patience when a young illustrator has become wedded to a particular style that a fellow creative believes is hampering their progress as an artist. However, working with Arthur’s sketchbooks and encouraging him to “play”, to ditch the laptop and sketch from life (or during Lockdown II, Zoomlife) convinced me that there was a very fine illustrator in there, just requiring encouragement and a bit of a nudge. We set out, together, to develop his more playful and fluent sketches into finished art. Moving Houses is the result. I hope you love it as much as I do.