Andy, tell us a little bit about the work that Bear With Us Productions does. What services do you offer?
Bear With Us Productions is a one stop shop providing authors who are looking to self publish with everything they need to take their story and turn it into a fully developed children’s book.
We specialise in illustrations, cover designs, editing, formatting and marketing. We even help new authors upload their book onto Amazon.
What’s your process for matching an author and illustrator?
We really get to know our illustrator’s styles and comfort zones. When we discuss the project with the author, we get a feel for what they are looking for and then we offer a choice of illustrators by providing samples of their work. There are a few elements we need to consider such as age group of the reader, the genre of the story, timescale and budget. We’re pleased to say that so far we’ve been on the nail and have matched the right illustrator with the project. Sometimes the author will request a certain illustrator from our social media posts and that makes our job just a little bit easier.
How does the author, illustrator and Bear With Us Productions work together to bring a book to life?
Well regular communication is key. I project manage everything myself and work very closely with both illustrator and author to ensure that expectations are met. Recently, we developed a new online project management set up where we invite authors into the system and they can discuss things with the BWUP team and approve illustrations in real time all under one roof.
Bear With Us Productions offers typesetting, formatting and book design. How do you go about the process of choosing the right fonts and layout for a book?
Richie is a designer and teacher. His knowledge of fonts and creative styles is incredible. We both discuss how we want the book to look and we seem to have a sixth sense in that so far everything we’ve put together up until now has been received so well. Author approval at the first final draft is something that we aim for and our batting average on that is quite high.
Andy, what’s your favourite type of book to work on? Do you have a preference personally?
I love monsters and scary stories. Halloween is my favourite holiday and I enjoy both writing and developing stories and books in this genre.
Eduardo, where do you draw your inspiration from? Do you have any particular influences?
Since I was a boy, I have been a huge fan of Disney animation. The complexity of the movements, backgrounds, and the beauty of the characters have been a huge inspiration for my work.
How and when did you decide that being an illustrator was what you wanted to do as a career?
Since I can remember I have been into drawing and painting. My mother used to paint as well so I am sure seeing her work had an influence on me. My parents were working as writers for a mayor editorial company and when I turned 14 I had a chance to work for this company, as well. I saw that I could do something that I really loved and make a living doing that. I guess this is how it all began.
What kinds of mediums do you use for your illustrations generally and what did you use specifically for My Llama Drama?
I use a variety of software and I always work with Wacom Cintiq. However, one of the things I enjoy the most is to draw by hand, using white paper and a pencil. For My Llama Drama I started sketching by hand to get the feeling of the characters and to develop the personality of each one. I also did a lot of research on llamas and I spent some time creating textures and hairdos for each character. I think that was important because I can see that each one of them has its own fun and interesting personality.
What’s your favourite part of the illustration process?
Definitely it is the character development. I feel it is the moment when you bring to life the most important aspect of a story. Seeing your character’s first smile, movement of the eyes, or style is really inspiring for an illustrator.
What’s the funniest, strangest or most memorable thing you’ve been asked to draw?
I think all the projects have these three aspects. They are funny and challenging in their own particular way, and every one of them is a different experience and they become fun to work on.
For My Llama Drama I had a blast creating the characters. I will definitely remember all the llamas.
Can each of you tell me what your all-time favourite children’s book is and why?
Andy - Enid Blyton ‘The Far-away Tree’
Just incredibly lovely memories of being read to by my Grandmother and the story has just stayed with me. I also love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Richie - A Flight of Dragons - Peter Dickinson
Loved the illustrations and the book introduced me to the world of Tolkien (hobbit) to games workshop warhammer 40k that feed my creative juices.
Ed - I like all the classic stories with the morals.
Somehow they help you shape your personality and become a better person. Now, I read them to my kids and I can enjoy the stories again. If I had to choose one, my favourite would be The Little Prince because it has a lot of quotes that I have been cherishing for my whole life.
Andy, how can people find you, Eduardo and the rest of your illustration team at Bear With Us Productions if they are keen to turn their picture book manuscript into a beautiful, physical book?
Just reach out to us via our Facebook page or via our website.
We will have a brand new website going live in early Oct at www.justbearwithus.com
where we will be promoting new packages and also all our author’s books will be listed for sale.