ARTIST FEATURE: Kate Rowbottom - Book Designer and Papercut Artist @PearlandPickle
A few years back Kate and I worked together at a children's book publisher in London. This year she has designed my logo and a few illustrations for me which I just love! Kate is a professional children's book designer with many years of experience in the publishing industry.
A few months ago she started out creating and selling gorgeous papercraft products and cuts under the brand name 'Pearl and Pickle'.
Read below more about Kate's work and where she gets her inspiration from.
You were designing gorgeous children’s books in the past. What do you think is the key to ‘great’ children’s books design? As a designer and mum of two I can say from my experience is that children are visual learners, and are captivated by both interesting colours and fun themes when it comes to books. I have always been drawn to bright bold colours and bold interesting quirky illustration styles. The key to great children's book design is to create something that is visually engaging, bright and interesting so you just have to pick it up off the shelf and look inside. The notion that you should never judge a book by its cover in my opinion is crazy because the cover of a book is what draws you to it and is its biggest selling tool. I believe also that the cover design should 100% reflect the style of the internals as nothing is more disappointing than a fantastic book with a fantastic cover but the internals are boring and dull.
How do you approach the design and illustration of a children’s book? When I receive a design brief I usually will sketch out a quick storyboard for the internals and then also sketch out a series of initial cover designs so I have something visual to refer back to when I actually start to properly design the covers and spreads.
I feel this is really helpful as I'm able to very quickly create each layout and see where text can be placed and how the illustrations and text will or will not work well together. Sketching out an initial cover idea quickly enables me to see if my initial design ideas will look ok and it gives me reference to look back on if I change my mind on the design, enabling me to go back and revisit some other design possibilities. Indie authors often ask how long it takes to design a children’s book. Can you give us a rough estimate for example for a 16pp board book? Ah ha the million dollar question ... to which the answer from me would be ... Each book takes varying amounts of time as there are so many factors to take into account, text, illustrations, content, special features (flaps / touch and feel elements, activity pages ... the list goes on). I like to work to a fixed deadline to enable me to plan my time so I know how long it will take that way and split each task I need to do across the days until the deadline date.
Where do you get your inspiration from and what are your favourite materials/tools to work with?
I get my inspiration from everywhere, nature for my papercut pieces, I love taking photographs of beautiful and interesting flowers and plants, and I love watching nature programmes and seeing all the beauty we have in our world as who cannot fail to be inspired by that. Pinterest is an incredible source for inspiration and a visual bible of beautiful imagery to inspire and look at other peoples approaches to their own artwork. I love working with all different textured and patterned papers and card stock to create my papercut illustrations, and watercolours are my absolute favourite to do all my painted illustrations with and my hand lettering.
You just launched an online shop on Etsy called Pearl and Pickle, would you like to tell us a bit more about it? Yes, I launched my new Etsy Shop Pearl and Pickle at the end of May this year 2020 and it's been so much fun creating new and exciting art and illustrations to sell on there. The name Pearl and Pickle comes from My Grandma who's name was Pearl (and it's also my middle name) and my absolute love of pickles :) I made a papercut illustration of a jar of pickles as a birthday card for a pregnant friend as they were her craving before and during her pregnancy and I loved the papercut so much that I have incorporated it into all of my branding and logo for my shop.
I'm currently selling:
Handmade Original paper cut art pieces (framed and unframed)
Personalised Pet portraits
Greetings Cards for all occasions
You can buy Kate's papercuts on Etsy here:
Kate is also on social media:
Here a small selection of Kate's papercuts and illustrations:
All images by Kate Rowbottom.