When I’ve totally invested in a book via my illustrations, I want that book to do well. Not only for myself, because of course I’ll be earning a modest royalty on each sale and that is a part of how I earn a living, but because I want any author I’ve worked with to be rewarded for what will often be years of hard, dedicated work — and years, quite probably, of building up to starting it, planning, thinking, dreaming (these are the people who didn’t just dream about it — they did it!)

A transcript (ish) of my interview for Speakers4Schools this week, covering copyright, life as an illustrator, the myth of creativity…and AI.

This is a long read. Get the kettle on, and maybe some biscuits!

— — — — — — — — — // — — — — — — — — —

This week I gave a talk via the Speakers For Schools programme to a large, digitally-assembled audience of schoolchildren from schools around the UK.

Live from my studio I was invited to answer questions posed by host Charlotte, followed by questions sent in by the students as…

At 354bhp and 303 ft/lb of torque, the Pink Pao is easily the world’s fastest, most powerful Pao* — maybe even the most powerful K10 chassis’d Nissan/Pike Factory car.

Why are we writing about our car again, and not pens or ink or book covers? Well, you may remember, good readers, that when we imported our little pink car from Japan in 2017, we knew we’d adopted something a bit ornery and special which would require us to maintain a certain lifestyle for it.

The blog that recorded the first few months of the car’s life in the UK can…

~ New York Society of Illustrators Awards, 2008 (two prizes) ~

I’m at the tail end — seeing the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ — of making a brand new website, starting totally from scratch and focussing on all the things that are currently missing from the current one.

I’ve been meaning to do it for a couple of years, and much as I adore social media for sharing and enjoying each other’s work, there’s nothing like an online Mothership for telling the world who you are and what you like to make; a central place where I can put everything that’s ‘me’.

In the course of doing this…

~ Illustrations are mostly shown in this blog in their original pen-and-ink form ~

SPACEY! Published this week is this energetic new book by Abby Harrison aka @astronautabbyofficial, co-founder of The Mars Generation, called DREAM BIG!

Illustrating this book occupied eight months or so of my 2020, begun and ended in different lockdowns, with over 30 black and white pen-and-ink illustrations to help guide its young readers through the process of not just envisioning a goal, but making it a reality. Not through wishing and hoping and throwing cosmic orders out there, but via the only method that works: planning, small steps, staying focussed and good old fashioned hard work.

It’s definitely not too early to post this Christmassy book by Kristin Hannah — after the weekend we’ve had and the weeks we’re about to have, I thought we needed an unashamedly seasonal bit of work!

I started this book cover in February this year, before the ‘first’ lockdown when Christmas seemed a lovely recent memory rather than an imminent but uncertain event. …

I was extremely happy to see this campaign by Papyrus UK finally make its way into the world after Covid-related delays. September was National Suicide Prevention Month, so the release was timed to coincide.

Released across the UK press, online and in social media, the campaign used the idea of bedtime stories to highlight the dangers of children using social media alone. …

Published this week is ‘Ink & Sigil’ by New York Times best-selling author Kevin Hearne, which has its US release on 25th August and its UK release on 27th.

In a ‘career first’, I’ve illustrated both the North American and UK editions of this murky Glasgow-set novel involving enchanted ink (obviously), mysterious symbols known as ‘sigils’ (look them up!), craft cocktails and the cursed Al MacBharrais, whose apprentices keep…dying.

In ever-bizarre and unexpected ways.

It’s published by Orbit Books US and is the most recent of Kevin’s myriad fantasy and adventure novels. I have been most pleased to make his…

For a large part of my career I’ve received emails asking me to do work for free, usually for some scheme, a project someone is very excited about that will make big money one day; a charity, a collection of postcards that will head into a gallery, a children’s book that’s been written by someone who hasn’t got the budget, but when the book sells they’ll have some…

Most of these people mean well, and don’t mean to offend. They often, however, simply don’t think about their email from the point of view of the recipient. Even now the notion…

Published in August 2020 is this book by Christine Heppermann, for which I made this cover using just ink on paper for Greenwillow Books, USA.

It’s a YA story told in prose, an unusual format which lends the book a slightly magical, wistful atmosphere, despite dealing with some heavy topics — secrets, regret, mistakes, break-ups.

Unusually, although I suggested seven or eight different roughs, this cover went to press almost completely unaltered from the rough that was chosen. Always a lovely thing to happen!

Sarah J Coleman

Artist + illustrator of over 800 books and owner of the same amount of pens. Enough to write you a picture AND paint you a story. inkymole.com / inkstagram.ink

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store