Alison Miles

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Am I an artist?

 

Hmmmm…I loved drawing, painting and creating things as a child, but at secondary school, homework (and violin practice) took up more and more time. I didn’t draw after the age of thirteen when art lessons stopped. I studied music and maths at university and there wasn’t much drawing there, apart from the odd rhombus now and again! I attended some local drawing lessons a few years ago but I don't have any formal training in art. However, in the last couple of years, I have created more than 150 pictures so I think I am getting there. It would be hard to pick a favourite, but this one combines music – a piece I love to play – with Snippy and his rock pool friends, so there’s a lot for me to like here.

Alison Miles

Alison Miles

Have I trained as an illustrator?

 

No, I haven’t. But I have looked at many illustrations in many books, both when I was young and when my children were small. When I am illustrating Snippy books I always have to consider first how my readers will get the best view of Snippy in action. I wouldn’t necessarily choose to draw people from above but Snippy is the star of the show and he needs to be prominent, even when he is much smaller than the other creatures in the same image.

If I don’t have any training what made me decide to do the illustrations myself?

 

My Snippy stories don’t fall into any of the standard industry forms of picture book: they have too many words and too many pages and – worst of all – they are in rhyme! We all know how difficult rhyming books are to publish, so I decided I had better try my hand at a bit of drawing and colouring-in myself. Here is the first image I created on Procreate. I was quite pleased with it and decided to attempt some more. I soon began to feel I was getting the hang of it and knew that, unthinkable as it had first seemed, I would create all the illustrations myself.

Alison Miles

How do I create the pictures?

 

I draw on my iPad using the Procreate App and an Apple Pencil. It’s AMAZING! I love it because it doesn’t matter how many mistakes I make, I can just keep changing and altering. I build up the colours in layers and draw objects on separate layers, which I can move around the canvas and try out in different places. If I have drawn something I like, I can duplicate it ... (eg for a shoal of fish) and if I have drawn something I don’t like, I remove the layer and the rest of the picture is unchanged. It’s a wonderful way to be creative. The App does all sorts of fancy things which I haven’t discovered yet, so I am still learning every day.

alison miles
What is the hardest thing you have had to draw?

I'm not very good at drawing people, so that takes me a long time. I was quite proud of this picture when I drew it. I even entered it into the 2021 Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrators’ Competition. The title for that year’s competition was: ‘Children Spectators’. I had already started my 6th story and this image fitted the bill. I didn’t make it to the final, but I was listed on their website as one of the 2021 ‘Accepted Artists.’ I was thrilled because I had only been drawing for a year. I like the image because of the humour in it.

 

How did Snippy the Crab get stuck down the bell of a tuba? Who knows? (Well, Snippy and I do…!). 

Alison Miles