Producing Picturebooks at Conceal & Reveal

In advance of Conceal and Reveal: Truth and Lies in Children’s Books, the CBI conference on 12th and 13th September we are profiling some of our speakers, click on the links for blogposts about Mac Barnett, the Young Adult panel, New Voices, publishers Barrington Stoke, William Grill and Breaking through with Poetry.  Tickets for one day or for the full weekend are available on the CBI website, at a reduced rate for CBI members.

How is a picturebook really made? What kind of decisions and sacrifices must be made to produce a beautiful, honest book that appeals to parents and young readers? Walker Books Picturebook Publisher and Associate Director Deirdre McDermott and picturebook creator Yasmeen Ismail discuss the creative process from their different perspectives.

Deirdre McDermott is the Picture Book Publisher at Walker Books, the largest independent children’s publisher in the U.K. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, she has been designing picture books for Walker for over 20 years. After completing a Visual Communication degree at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Deirdre traveled and lived in Toronto for a year before coming to London, where she joined Walker Books as a junior designer. Deirdre was appointed Picturebook Publisher and Associate Director in 2002. Within the small, dedicated picture book team of designers and editors at Walker, Deirdre has worked closely with scores of brilliant bookmakers including Anita JeramCarll Cneut, Bob Graham, Allan Ahlberg past CBI conference speakers Helen OxenburyThacher Hurd,  Michael RosenJohn Burningham and many others.

Irish-born, Bristol-based Yasmeen Ismail is an award-winning author, illustrator and animator. Yasmeen studied at art school in her hometown, Dublin and graduated in 2002. After Yasmeen moved to London she lent her talents to many different projects ranging from advertising to children’s publishing. While running a successful animation production company and having worked in varying capacities within it (Director, Designer, Creative, Animator, Producer, Script-writer) Yasmeen found herself writing and illustrating picture books. From her experience with scripts and storyboards she is familiar with writing narratives and working with story lines, and is especially acquainted with editing her work and writing creatively within boundaries. In turn, and as a result of her animating background, her illustrations are bright, fluid and full of energy and movement. She has a love of watercolours, inks and paints and is moving to all sorts of other mediums. Yasmeen has a propensity to experiment and expand in all areas of her work and is constantly trying new ways to improve her writing and drawing. Currently Yasmeen is illustrating her fourth book for Bloomsbury UK, and her first (and second) for Walker Books, and is writing her second for Nosy Crow. She has just completed a book for Pan Macmillan. She has more exciting projects lining up for 2016. She has written and illustrated several more picture books and activity books, which will be released in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

We look forward to hearing more from Deirdre and Yasmeen at Conceal and Reveal!