As you know, here at Worthing Mums, we love local business and talent. We have recently discovered Mark Blackburn, a Worthing-based self-employed Graphic Designer and Illustrator. He talked to us about launching his first book, which he wrote and illustrated himself. Over to Mark…
My company Wildandpeaceful has been going for around 14 years, but Today I Am.. is my first self-generated/written and illustrated book. As I am currently an unpublished author I intend to self-publish and market this book, in the hope of producing a larger print run. So far, I have crowdfunded an initial print run of 300 hardback copies with a hope of attracting the attention of publishers and to gain some momentum. Everyone who donated £20 or more to the fund will receive one of the 300 signed copies of the first edition. The book itself is being printed and finished locally; by a firm in Lancing which is fantastic as the carbon footprint for it is low, and local business usage high.
About Today I Am
The book is a fun illustrated children’s book of 38 short verses with an accompanying illustration. The Title Today I Am… refers to the layout of each page containing one illustration of a child playing in a onesie style costume depicting a different animal. The text/poem relates somewhat to the type of animal and it’s nature, but also the changeable nature of a child’s mood and their love of exploring, playing and using their imagination. Almost as if the costume/onesie becomes their spirit/mood animal for the day, if you like. The general tone is irreverent, positive, and hopefully amusing, but I’ve attempted to underpin the whole idea with the belief that it’s great to be yourself/different, and occasionally it’s normal to have off-days too.
The idea for this book was inspired by my own two young children (9 and 6 yrs old) and their friends who seem to spend so much of their time wearing onesies when playing at our house having sleepovers etc. And being very into natural history I’ve picked a few animal species that I hope will be surprising and allow a little learning as they’re not all cute archetypes, but a few unusual things in there too.
For the adults and older readers, I’ve also dropped in a few subtle cultural references in some of the text and drawings to keep things current and relevant. Here are a few images from the book, and a snap of me with the first proof copy.
The 300 copies will be delivered to me within the next couple of weeks, then I’ll organise a small launch/handover to all the local-ish folks who backed the fund, plus anyone who’d like to buy a copy. This will also hopefully be hosted in Worthing.