Angela Porter interview with David Alan Binder

posted Sep 18, 2016, 10:30 AM by David Alan Binder

Angela Porter interview with David Alan Binder

This adds Wales to the list of countries making the total 9 countries with authors / illustrators interviews.  A note:  I have used her spelling since it is her style and speaks with her authentic voice.

 Angela is an illustrator so this will be a different perspective.

 Her bio that I’ve put together from her website and the interview and other places on the internet (she is far too understated I believe and has a exciting list of accomplishments):

A 6 Book series: Color me…, Color me calm – NYT bestseller! Color Me To Sleep, etc.

In my previous career as a science teacher, I wrote six packs of worksheets and activity sheets aimed at students with special educational needs.  I also wrote two books to do with Neolithic and Bronze age archaelogy for a government department in Northern Ireland.  One of them was where I drew my first illustration – fruit and cereals available in the Neolithic.

As for adult colouring books, there’s a fair few now.  There are six in the Color Me series, I’ve done three for the Creative Haven range from Dover and one for a new ‘Signature’ series they’re doing.  I’ve also done four for Skyhorse.  My work has appeared in a number of books published by Michael O’Mara books too.  I also designed the artwork for a teachers’ planner printed by Scholastic.

 

PLEASE GO LOOK!  Seeing is truly believing. See some of my art at artwyrd.deviantart.com

My Wyrdsmithing blog can be found at artwyrd.wordpress.com

My facebook page can be found at facebook.com/AngelaPorterArtwyrd

Tweet me @Wyrdsmithing

 

1.     Where are you currently living?

I live in a small home in Pontypridd, South Wales, UK.  It’s about 10 miles from the capital city of Wales – Cardiff.  There’s amazing scenery, coasts, mountains, lakes and architecture within a short drive of my home.

 

2.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

To be myself and to be true to myself.

 

3.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

Me!  People who know me consider me to be a quirky and a tad eccentric.  However, other than that it’s the way I sneak in patterns from Romanesque and Gothic architecture and prehistoric pottery/carvings into my work.

 

4.     Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

I currently work for three publishers, all in the US and all based in New York, I believe.  They are Quartos/Race Point, Dover and Skyhorse.  I also have been doing work for Hampton Arts creating stamps and planner ephemera for them.

 

5.     I don’t have an agent, though one was trying to get me on to their books at the start of the adult colouring book craze.  It may be something I consider in the future as I develop more areas of illustration and maybe even writing once again.  However, as I was lucky enough to be discovered by editors looking for artists to created templates for colouring books, I do have access to editors who are interested in any ideas I have for expanding my publishing work into other areas.        

 

6.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new artists/illustrators (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Try to be true to yourself – don’t try to work like someone else.  Admire their work for sure, pick up hints and tips from them, ways of putting images together, but make it your own.  You need to stand out from the crowd somewhat.

Make sure your work is visible online and easily found.  I was found via deviantART and it seems that a fair few editors look there for artists to work with.

If you submit work and you get a gentle rejection letter, don’t give up.  Keep working on your art, keep developing it, keep showing it online.

As far as adult colouring books go, I know a fair few who self-publish via Amazon as well as making colouring sheets/templates available via Etsy and similar such places.  They do spend a lot of time promoting their books and products, blogging, youtubing, and all the other social media too, and that is a possible route to get your work out there too.

7.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

That’s it’s ok to take a break when the muse leaves you, to nap if you must, and not to force things if they’re not flowing.  It’s important to do other things.  Also, learning to accept that it’s ok for my illustrations to be ‘good enough’, that perfection would result in things never getting finished.

As I look back on my early adult colouring books, I can see how my style has developed and how much more flowing the art is there, and in my personal art too.

I’ve also worked out it’s OK to use a light pad when drawing things that I’m not confident with, such as people; it’s not ‘cheating’ or ‘copying’ as it helps to give the outlines and to get proportions correct, it’s what you then do with what you have outlined that makes it unique and different.

I also ask for my editors to build wiggle time into my contract deadlines, but not tell me what it is just in case the unexpected crops up – they’re pretty good about doing that for me!

8.     How many books have you written? 

In my previous career as a science teacher, I wrote six packs of worksheets and activity sheets aimed at students with special educational needs.  I also wrote two books to do with Neolithic and Bronze age archaelogy for a government department in Northern Ireland.  One of them was where I drew my first illustration – fruit and cereals available in the Neolithic.

As for adult colouring books, there’s a fair few now.  There are six in the Color Me series, I’ve done three for the Creative Haven range from Dover and one for a new ‘Signature’ series they’re doing.  I’ve also done four for Skyhorse.  My work has appeared in a number of books published by Michael O’Mara books too.  I also designed the artwork for a teachers’ planner printed by Scholastic.

 

9.     Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better artist/illustrator (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)? 

Take breaks from art for work and do art for pleasure and to explore new sources of inspiration.  Look at the work of other artists/illustrators out there to gain ideas of things to try, but work out how to do them in your own way and style.  Most of all, do what you enjoy, what brings you pleasure and joy as that will make sure you produce the best art you can.  If you find yourself doing illustration with subjects you don’t enjoy (for me it’s people), find ways to help you do it and enjoy doing it.  As I’ve said, I eventually worked out it’s ok to use a lightbox/light pad to aid me in my work when it comes to drawing people, as well as working out it’s ok to draw them in a whimsical fashion too.  I prefer to express my experience of a person in abstract patterns and the use of colour and shape, however that won’t quite work for colouring books.  Putting aside the preconceptions of what you think art should be for how you best express yourself artistically is important.

 

10.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

I’m told that it’s my individual, quirky, whimsical and intricate artistic style and my use of bold colour too.

 

11.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

Most of the promotion is done by my publishers, but I do my best to keep a facebook page and Instagram account up to date with sneak peeks and updates on what I’m doing; they feed directly to twitter.  I have a much neglected blog due to the amount of illustration work I’ve had in the past couple of years and while I have a bit of a break from that I hope to get some posts done.

 

12.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

Learn to manage my time better in terms of contract deadlines!  Also, not to forget to do things other than art and to visit places and view books that are different to my usual to find inspiration.

 

13.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

At the moment one of my favourites is ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys!’  I also like to tell myself that the work completed is ‘good enough’.

 

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