Bat Week!

Happy Halloween and Bat Week! Say hello to the Brown Long-Eared Bat

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They have extra big ears with amazing hearing that can hear a ladybird shifting on a leaf! When they sleep they curl their ears back or tuck them under their wings.

They live in the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and most of Europe. They eat a diet of insects, moths, beetles, flies, earwigs and spiders.
In the summer they roost in old buildings, barns, churches and trees. In the winter they roost in caves, tunnels and sometimes trees and buildings.

For more bat info and bat love visit -

Bat Conservation Trust - British charity dedicated to the conservation of bats and their habitats in the UK. Supports over 100 local bat groups and 6,000 members and works with volunteers, scientists, industry and government both locally and nationally on a range of projects so bats and humans can thrive together.

Bat Conservation International - Conserving the world’s bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet. Dedicated to the enduring protection of the world’s 1,300+ species of bats and their habitats and creating a world in which bats and humans successfully coexist.

Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation - Mission is to inspire bat conservation worldwide, and takes many beautiful photographs of bats. No group of mammals has been more misunderstood, needlessly feared or intensely persecuted.  Relying on a powerful combination of science, field knowledge and photography, MTBC is helping save millions of bats, protecting public health, economies and worldwide ecosystems by teaching people to live harmoniously with bats.

Bat Week - Bat Week is an annual, international celebration of the role of bats in nature. Bat Week is organised by a team of representatives from across the United States and Canada from conservation organisations and government departments.

If you live in the UK you can find your Local Bat Group here :)

A Comic About Anxiety

Here is a comic I drew about anxiety and some coping mechanisms that I use to help me through it.

I was nervous about sharing something like this, but my twitter friends encouraged me to share. I’ve read blogs from other illustrators who have opened up about their mental health, and they’ve really helped me. And so, I thought I had something to share, and hopefully this will help some other people too.

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I’ve recently gone from having very limited free time, to finally having more time by myself to just think for the first time in ages.
Anxiety can strike at any time, but I have found that when I suddenly have time to think after not having had -enough- time, anxious and intrusive thoughts can surface which can be very distressing.

So, I put together some of my own coping mechanisms here that might help other people, whatever form your anxiety may take. I also drew this to remind myself to put these in place daily to keep things in check now I’m freelance again. These particular coping mechanisms are especially aimed at people like me who might work from home and have to manage their own time as a freelancer, which can be tough. These are what I’ve found helps me personally, but everyone is different so absolutely do what feels right for you.

I’m adjusting all the time, and I find getting up and leaving the house and still ‘going to work’ is absolutely key! Whether that is in a shared studio, or working in a cafe or a library.
If you are suffering, reach out to your family and friends support network, and see your GP. You can also phone Mind, the mental health charity on 0300 123 3393 Text: 86463 for advice and support. Remember that you’re not alone, and that there is help out there :)


Here is the above comic transcript.
Page 1 -

Having time to draw for myself again is amazing, and I am so grateful my hard work has led to this. I’m so looking forward to being freelance again! So much time to just think…

But sometimes…. Anxiety and intrusive thoughts can rear its ugly head.

Page 2 -

Here are some of the coping mechanisms that work for me (everyone is different)
Mind Helpline if you need it - 0300 123 3393 or send them an email - info@mind.org.uk

- Spending time with friends and loved ones
- Talking to my wonderful friends
- Getting up, even if it feels like the hardest thing in the world
- Making the choice to start the day is the first step to re-claiming my head space
- Have a shower, feel the hot water
- Strike. A. Power. Pose! Get dressed in an outfit you love
- Yes! Progress! Eat, and leave the house.

Page 3 -

- Make a plan for the day - So you’re not tempted to stay in bed all day.
- Sweat. Lift. Stretch. - Any physical activity that you enjoy that tires out your body, clears your head and releases magic endorphins. (Running massively reduces my anxiety and makes me happier too.)
- Yoga - even though I’m not very bendy and I can barely sit cross-legged. It’s super to just have 45 minutes to only focus on my body and breathing.
- Going to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and doing the homework I was set. My favourite was writing 3 positives on a list of topics every day. For example - 3 things I achieved today (even if small things like I made a nice breakfast!). -3 Things you feel quietly confident about your appearance today. - 3 Positive pieces of feedback you got at work today.
- Breath. In for 4 seconds, hold for 4, out for 8 seconds. ‘Calm Breathing’.
- Being in nature or near trees.

At the bus stop

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I remember a particular moment from when I was a kid; Me and my Mum were at a bus stop and my Mum was talking with a stranger.

I can’t remember what they looked like, or if it was an old man or an old woman. But it was that she was talking so friendly and so normally with a stranger that I remember.
‘What would they have to talk about?’ I wondered, and ‘Why would you talk to someone you don’t know? How does she do it so easily, without knowing them or being their friend?’
I’ve thought about this moment a lot over the years. Every now and again it will just pop into my head. And each time, I’ll have a different view on what the answer to these questions could be.

When I was a kid, I thought that she was just being friendly - the way some adults can just chat to other adults because they’re adults, I suppose.

When I was a teenager I remember having a profound realisation when I thought of this memory, that perhaps she was being kind. Because sometimes you can just sense that people need someone to talk to, even for a few minutes, to have some interaction. I remember admiring my Mum for that, among many other things I already admired her for.

Recently I had a sudden thought - was it for safety? Sometimes it’s easier to make small talk and smile politely rather than risk someone flying off the handle. I don’t think that was a concern in this situation, but I’ve definitely seen it in my interactions with some strangers in my life since this moment.

Now I am an adult, and I regularly talk to strangers, both for small talk and in longer conversations in certain places, especially on trains and planes.
It doesn’t seem odd to me anymore.

And today I thought of this moment at the bus stop again, and I thought - Maybe it is that adults just like to talk to other adults. My Mum would have been about my age I am now, maybe my Mum was the one who needed to talk. On a day looking like it’s about to rain, waiting for a bus; sometimes it’s a relief to just briefly talk about the weather, or have a small moan about the bus being late, and sharing a knowing look.

But whatever the reason (and maybe there doesn’t need to be a reason at all)
I think being friendly and kind is always a quality to look up to.

Book Deal Announcement!

I got a book deal! Arghh!

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Huuuge news!
I'm so happy I can finally share this! A week after singing with my agent she got a very exciting email from Simon and Schuster - and I am so thrilled to announce I have a book deal!! I will be illustrating Rescuing Ms. Birdley by Aaron Reynolds, coming out summer 2020 with Simon and Schuster! It’s a very funny book about a little girl called Miranda who loves nature - I couldn’t have asked for a book more up my street, and I am loving working on it.

Simon and Schuster are a dream publisher, and I was over the moon when Justin got in touch with my agent Thao to ask if I'd like to illustrate a book for them. I've spent the last two years working on my picture book dummy and children's portfolio in my spare time alongside my character design job and teaching - so this is the best feeling. All of this happened so quickly and I was in shock for a few days!
I am beyond thrilled, and I am so, so excited to illustrate my first book, a dream since I was very small!

Thank you so much to everyone for all of the support - I've been working really hard and it's been tough and exciting! Every kind message of enthusiasm for what I do has helped encourage me and get to this!

I have an agent!

Exciting news!

I am absolutely delighted to announce that I now have an agent! I am represented by the brilliant Thao Le of Sandra Dijkstra literary agents! Thao DM'd me on Twitter almost exactly two years ago about my characters, and we got in touch again about my picture book 'Amara and the Bats' I've written and illustrated. I started working on Amara two years ago in my spare time around commissioned work, and have been ramping things up with it in the last 6 months. I'm so excited to be a step closer to fulfilling my dream of having my own book published.

Let's make some books! I am so happy :D

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A little about me

Welcome to my blog! 

Here I will chart my latest illustration adventures, talking about my latest projects, events and what I've been up to. I'll also be sharing my thoughts on the industry and writing blog posts to help others, whether you're a beginner, recent graduate, or a seasoned pro looking for a change.

So, a little about me to begin with -

My name is Emma, and I'm a freelance illustrator and author working mainly in children's books. I am also a character designer and have worked in animation for 6 years on many award winning productions and children's television series.

I am inspired by nature, history, animals, exploration, encouraging STEM, and seeing the magic in the everyday.

I think I am secretly a grandma because I love watching murder mysteries on television with a blanket and sipping Chambord. My favourite food is pizza. And I love bears, bats and cats, walking in the wild, and travelling the world.

 

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