Fiona Woodcock: From Art Licensing to Children's Books and Beyond
last updated 03 August 2016
At Bright we work with all genres of illustration, and our Art Licensing division is a huge part of the company. The wonderful thing about working with illustrators is how versatile they can be in terms of design, allowing their work to cross between our two main genres — those being the greetings card industry and children’s picture book publishing.
Fiona Woodcock recently published and launched her debut author/illustrated picture book, Hiding Heidi, published by Simon and Schuster — a book which actually came from a painting of a little girl blending into a very fetching sofa — and the character of Heidi also appears on a greetings card.
Fiona always knew there was going to be a story for these pieces which had been artworks made specifically with a picture book in mind, and so came the story of a little girl, expert in the art of camouflage and a true whizz at the game of hide and seek…
The original Heidi, hiding in the sunflowers, and a greetings card taken from the original, made by Papyrus.
Three beautiful paintings with that lovely retro feel — and Heidi hiding in the middle.
Card designs based on Fiona Woodcock’s original illustrations and produced by Papyrus.
There has been a fantastic blog tour surrounding the launch of Hiding Heidi beginning with Picture Books Blogger, who spoke to Fiona about how the idea first came about:
“I’d been working on a series of colourful pattern based paintings and I thought it would be interesting to try and create a children’s book with that same visual approach, but placing a character in a world of colour and pattern…” Continue reading
Children’s book blogger Library Mice interviewed Fiona about her work space. We sometimes under estimate how impacting our place of work can be — the environment, the atmosphere, it all counts for a lot. Fiona’s home studio is an absolute treasure trove, full of beautiful books and art:
“I have a studio set up in my flat in South London. In the middle of the room there’s a big fully extended 1950’s formica topped kitchen table that I’ve had for years. I sit there for most of the day drawing, painting and printing on an angled light-box. From there I can look out at the sky and reach all my art materials. Then when I’m done there I turn around and scan everything into my computer which is all set up on a long table…” Continue reading
Play by the Book has written another great blog, this time focusing on Fiona’s background, her creative thought process, artistic technique and the planning that goes into a picture book like Hiding Heidi:
“There are a couple of very subtle things to spot on the boating lake scene on the last page, which are different to the other earlier illustration of the boating lake. An indication that even though Heidi is still camouflaged, something has changed. But I’m not going to say, it’s just there for the most observant of readers!…” Continue reading
Magpie That talks to Fiona about her background in animation (Fiona was the Lead Assistant Animator on ‘The Snowman and the Snowdog’ at Lupus Films) along with her contemporaries, Maki, Jason and George, who worked together to make the beautifully animated book trailer and music for Hiding Heidi:
“Before writing Hiding Heidi I’d been working freelance in the animation industry in London for over fifteen years. Working on a mix of animated films and commercials. I ended up working in quite a niche area of predominantly hand drawn painterly work. Sometimes art directing, but often being one of the team translating an illustration style into moving image. Projects include working as Lead Assistant Animator on ‘The Snowman and the Snowdog’ at Lupus Films and doing animation artwork for a short film illustrated by Quentin Blake for the West End Stage production of ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’…” Continue reading
Read It Daddy writes about the moral behind Hiding Heidi, and the wonderful way his little girl, Charlotte, reacts to the story:
“Heidi, of course, is an expert at hide and seek and when she’s with her friends she always wants to play that game rather than any of their choices. Heidi is supremely confident that she’s the world champion hide-and-seeker but when her friends start to want to play other things, Heidi shies away. You see, her confidence dwindles as soon as she tries something new. But you can’t win all the time – and Heidi soon realises that the way to cement her friendship with those dearest to her, is to sometimes play their choice of game even if it means not winning.
Right there is Fiona’s gloriously well observed theme for this story, so when Charlotte and I read this together, she loudly exclaimed that this is what HER friends do (but also later quietly admitted that she too likes to be like Heidi at times, only playing the games that she chooses)…” Continue reading
Fiona launched Hiding Heidi at The Bright Emporium, the Bright Group’s gallery and event space, a perfect venue for a children’s picture book launch. Read the full blog here. And more fantastic coverage from The Bookseller here.
Fiona has taken part in many story time and workshop events including Storytime Sunday at The Bright Emporium in Battersea. Story time is a wonderful family and community event, and a great way to spend a Sunday morning with the kids. Not only does your family ticket entitle you to a signed copy of the book, but your children can join in a creative workshop with the author/illustrator — a memory to treasure.
If you’d like to know more about children’s workshops and events, you can read more on the Emporium website here.
With much thanks to Fiona Woodcock, Simon and Schuster and all the bloggers featured in this article.