The first in a series of blogs from authors and illustrators published by Child’s Play – our featured publisher this month
Trudi Esberger gives insights into the creative process and her first published picture book
Having graduated with a degree in Fine Art in 2003, I moved to London with an ambition to work in the creative industries. I achieved that ambition, and worked my way up from delivering post, to working as a Senior Account Manager in a design agency. But by 2009, the pull to draw was too great, and I made the decision to go part time at work and to apply for a Masters to pursue my latent creative ambitions.
I enrolled on the the Masters in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art and can’t speak highly enough of my experiences on the course. It allowed me to explore my own creative preoccupations and in particular, cemented my love of collecting places or drawing on location. Drawing on location developed in my own practice during the Masters, as a way of recording a place and its idiosyncrasies. I have a great love of collecting, and use drawing as a way of building up a library of things I can draw on at any time as well as a way of remembering. The most seemingly insignificant thing can provide inspiration; ideas which can be built on and formulated into a story or illustration at a later stage.
My first published picture book, The Boy Who Lost His Bumble was conceived at the very end of my Masters. At the time, I was lodging in a house with a beautiful Victorian garden which was bursting with flowers and bees. I spent many evenings sat in the garden drawing, but at some point during the Summer, it started to rain. It rained for what seemed like weeks and it didn’t want to stop! The bees went away, and that formed the starting point of the story. As I worked on the book, portraying the idea of loss in a very subtle way to young readers became increasingly important. Picture books can be appreciated on a purely visual, entertaining level; however they are also capable of dealing with complex issues and can help children to understand difficult concepts. We’ve all lost our bumble at some point.
People have asked me if there will be a second book in the series, but I think for now, there will be just the one bumble boy. But I do have ideas for other books in the pipeline!
I now teach part time on a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and write and illustrate for the rest of it. I’m not entirely sure I have a healthier work life balance, and my bank balance is certainly not as healthy as it used to be, but I do get to do two jobs I love. Both of which I find inspiring and rewarding every day.