Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Egyptian Escape: The Next Adventure of Charlie and Bandit.

"Egyptian Escape", my latest collaboration with author, Kelly Gerrard, is finished and winging it's way to the printers. This time our fearless friends Charlie, and his dog Bandit, find themselves traveling back first to Egypt at the beginning of the 20C and then further back in time to the reign of Hatsepsut, the ancient Egyptian female Pharaoh.
Like the first book in the series,"A Roman Rescue", it has taken a mammoth effort from all involved to complete this book, but it has also been fantastic fun.
Thanks to Kelly and all at Templar Publishing.

Look out for "Egyptian Escape" in January 2012.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Sketchbook drawing in Cornwall

It's been far too long since I took my sketch book out for a walk and I am shockingly rusty. However, my elderly dog enjoyed a rest while I drew this and it was great to get ink on my hands again.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I Am Small

September 2011 sees the release by Scholastic's Cartwheel Books of "I Am Small"
This book is called "Me" in the UK and is published by Templar Publishing.
"Me" forms part of a series of 4 foil books for the very young. The other title are "Sometimes", "When" and "You".
Here is a lovely review from Publisher's Weekly for the American edition. 25/7/11.
http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-545-35370-0


I Am Small
In the manner of her previous small-format books for younger readers, Dodd (Meow Said the Cow) presents a child's-eye view of the world and the child's place in it. The speaker is an engagingly plump and downy young emperor penguin--"The world is fast... and I am small. The ocean is deep... and I am small"--who finishes by addressing the larger emperor penguin on whose feet it nestles: "I may be small, but I can see/ the biggest thing to you... is me!" While Dodd's artwork for older readers is often tongue-in-cheek, these spreads have a serious, almost stately quality. A striking underwater view shows the trails of bubbles left behind by diving penguins, the water's blue darkening to indicate chilly depths; a steep, foil-embossed slope is a mountain down which the penguin chick slides, snow flying off into a somber, slate-gray sky; and an adult penguin cuddles the chick, touching its beak as a crescent moon is reflected in an icy pool. It's a reminder that Dodd isn't all clever British cheek; she's a fine graphic artist as well. Up to age 3. (Sept.)

Monday, 11 July 2011

Some thoughts for new graduates.

Next year will be the twentieth since I left Central Saint Martin's.
I have been thinking about the differences between graduating in the early 1990's and now.

We have just been through a very tough recession as we had back in 1992. When I started at Central Saint Martin's in 1988 there were long lists of jobs for graduates on the head-of-department's door. By 1992 that list had dwindled to virtually nothing.

My first commission upon leaving came from "Guide Patrol Magazine" and paid the princely sum of £60. I was so pleased to get this work, as it represented the second piece of published work in my portfolio.
As soon as graduated I began the exhausting process of making appointments and taking my portfolio around to magazines, newspapers, advertising agencies and anybody else who would see me. I tried to make 10 appointments a week. I listened very carefully to and advice received from the people I saw, and tried to apply it intelligently. I even went to New York and visited companies over there.

When I look back at my 22 year old self, I admire her guts!

Gradually the commissions started building, but this didn't happen over night.  I took on a shared studio and finally had the great luck of finding my fabulous agent, Eunice McMullen. It was at that point that things really began to take off for me.

Today's graduates are so much more media savvy. They use blogs, websites and all that the internet has to offer. This is fantastic, but if I had advice for newly qualified illustrators, it would be do not expect the world to come to you; to keep knocking on the door; listen carefully to advice from people who you respect and finally, do not take no for an answer.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

A Roman Rescue

Well, it seems "A Roman Rescue" (Templar Publishing) is reprinting after only 4 months which is great news!
The first in this series of graphic novels for 7-10 year olds by Kelly Gerrard, has also been chosen for the Summer Reading Challenge.
I'm stuck in to book two "An Egyptian Escape" which is well on the way to completion. Kelly's writing is so good it is a real pleasure to illustrate these books, despite the enormous amount of work involved!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New York Times

How very exciting, a lovely review for "Meow Said The Cow" in The New York Times. They review very few children's books, so I gather this is a bit of a coup!
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/books/review/childrens-books-bookshelf-farm.html?scp=1&sq=meow%20said%20the%20cow&st=cse

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Drawing with my dad in Venice, 1989.

My father could draw like nobody else I know. He was an enormous source of inspiration to me.
This is a drawing of him that I did during a holiday in Venice in 1989.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

"I Love My Daddy" by Giles Andreae

"I Love My Daddy" by Giles Andreae (Orchard Books)
Whilst illustrating this delightful text by Giles Andreae, I came up against a challenge.
How would I illustrate Daddy being "kind" and "funny"?
After wrestling with this problem for some time, the answer came to me in the middle of the night.
Here is the result.

Something For Father's Day! The Guardian. Great review for "I Love My Daddy


Recent releases and an old favourite for young readers

I Love My Daddy, by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Emma Dodd (Orchard, £10.99). 2+
The title says it all in this ebullient, if unsurprising, sequel to I Love My Mummy. The predictability is easily compensated for by the remarkable emotional intensity of Emma Dodd's bold illustrations, as they capture shared moments of pleasure between a baby and father as they romp and tease and finally end the day with a cosy bedtime story and snuggle. Giles Andreae's rhyming text provides a pleasingly bouncy accompaniment.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Lovely review from "Bookworms" in the US

Easy does it ...

It's not easy. But it needs to look that way.
That’s one of the cardinal rules of creating picture books. The words are often simple, and the pictures frequently have a loose, casual flow. Like a teenager laboring for an hour in front of the bathroom to make his hair look just untidy enough, writers and illustrators hide a lot of effort under a picture book’s easygoing veneer.
Two masters of the deceptively simple picture book have new work out this spring: author-illustrators Emma Dodd and Patrick McDonnell (perhaps best known as the cartoonist who created “Mutts”).
From McDonnell comes “Me … Jane” one of the year’s best non-fiction picture books, an illustrated biography that depicts primatologist Jane Goodall’s childhood (ages 3-6, Little, Brown, $15.99). McDonnell’s spare style and expressive faces are paired with some of Goodall’s own drawings, as well as a subtly colored collection of vintage scientific drawings. The story is straightforward and humorous, an inspiring look at a girl who defied expectations about proper careers for young ladies. The book wraps up with a short biography and a note from Goodall herself, encouraging young readers to tackle the world with the same gusto she’s shown.
“Meow Said the Cow,” Dodd’s tale in verse about farm animals suffering a bit of an identity crisis, is just as effortless – but entirely different in focus (ages 3-6, Arthur A. Levine Books, $16.99).
With poetry that strolls along at an pleasant pace, it tells the story of a sleepy-head cat whose magic spell aims to quiet the rooster’s crowing. “He puffed out his chest and opened his beak/and out came the tiniest, ‘squeak, squeak, squeak!’ ”
Of course, if the rooster now has the mouse’s voice, there’s no telling what other sort of mayhem is in store, and Dodd uses sunrise-bright illustrations to highlight the silliness of the situation – and the predicament cat finds himself in. It’s easy to read, easy to laugh at – and easy to love.
http://hamptonroads.com/2011/05/easy-does-it

My first piece of published work.

In 1991, The Guardian Newspaper approached Central Saint Martin's illustration department with a competition. The brief was to illustrate an article to be published in the newspaper the next day. The winner would not know until they saw their illustration in the paper. So when I saw somebody reading the paper on the tube that morning and realised that the it was my illustration that had been printed, I can still remember the thrill!
I just resisted the urge to nudge the man next to me and say "I did that!"
I still get the same thrill today whenever I see one of my books in a bookshop, or better still, being read by a child.
As prize I received the sum of £250. Probably about the same as you would be payed today, twenty years later!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The latest Adventures of Charlie and Bandit.

This time our friends find themselves in ancient Egypt. I'm well on the well to finishing this, the second title in the Adventures of Charlie and Bandit series "An Egyptian Escape".
The first book, "A Roman Rescue" has been chosen for the 2011 Summer Reading Challenge which is very exciting!http://cloverhillbookreviews.blogspot.com/search/label/K%20A%20Gerrard
Fabulous author, Kelly Gerrard, is busy dreaming up their next action packed adventure, as well as working on other exciting projects.

Shhhhh! Keep it under your hat....

This cheeky chap will be making an appearance in 2012. Watch this space!

A little about me...

Well, here goes! I hope you find my blog of interest.
First, a little about me. I was born in Surrey in the United Kingdom, to a family of designers. My parents Robert Dodd and Fay Hillier met at the Royal College of Art in the late fifties, where they studied textile design. Their work as designer's is represented in the V and A permanent collection.
So the house I grew up in was full of drawing and discussion, and as a young child I used to help colour up designs, remove cow gum, etc.

I can never remember wanting to be anything other than an artist, as this piece of school work shows. (What a swot I was at age 10!)
So I achieved my ambition and completed a foundation course at Kingston Polytechnic and a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration at Central Saint Martins School of Art.
I started my degree in Graphic design, only switching to illustration fairly late in the course, and I think this has informed my illustration style ever since.
I have now been working as an illustrator since I left college and now focus mainly on children's book. In 2005 I started to write as well as illustrate books, which is wonderfully satisfying.