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Gillian McClure – Children’s Author & Illustrator

Author and illustrator Gillian McClure is a creator of picture books, including Dog on Wheels, Mouse in the House and We’re Going to Build a Dam.

Gillian’s book Selkie won the US Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Books.

See, Make & Do is all about getting families to experience the arts and explore their creativity. What inspired you to follow a career in the arts?
As a Reception teacher, I was given a sum of money to spend on books for my class. I became so entranced by the picture books I discovered – the creative marrying of text, image and typography – that this set me on my way as an author and illustrator.

What’s the best piece of advice you received on your way up?
I was told by a fellow illustrator to try and do everything in ‘bite-size bits.’ That way you have the satisfaction of having achieved something in your day and are not overwhelmed by the enormity of a new project.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out on a creative journey?
Never lose sight of the delight in what you are creating, even when the going gets hard. Also, be prepared to be flexible and open minded when you are working with an editor.
You might not like the advice given but after a few days have lapsed, you start to see the sense of it.

When you get stuck on a creative problem, how do you find a solution?
I make myself stop struggling to solve the problem and just let everything settle. It’s amazing how the brain then carries on working out what to do while you are relaxed and not consciously thinking about it. Have a note pad handy for when the solution does pop into your head; you might be away from your desk doing something quite different!

If you had the time, what new creative project would you like to pursue?
I’ve always wanted to try print making.

Gillian will be hosting two children’s workshop at the National Centre for Writing on Wednesday 19 February.