Mark Chambers: Onwards and upwards

Congrats Mark Chambers for winning the Sheffield Children’s Book Award along with Elizabeth Baguley for their book Pigeon Poo, published by Little Tiger Press.

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Illustrator Mark Chambers’ first book, Spike’s Crime Time (Letts Educational) is fun and wacky, setting the scene for Mark’s future work and providing a fantastic platform for his entrance into the world of children’s publishing.

“I was SO happy when Vicki rang me up saying I’d just got my first job,” Mark says. “That was a truly great day – April 2004 – I remember like it was yesterday!”

Since that first book, Mark has had a constant stream of work. One of his favourite projects, the Stinky & Jinks series with Templar is already on book five! Mark has always understood the importance of building great relationships and has been working on a brand new title for Hinkler‘s picture book list, Bonny Press. Chomp was not only lots of fun but represented a brand new challenge for Mark. Working into his style he came up with a brand new way to animate his art whilst underwater bringing the wonderful seaworld characters of Chomp to life in Mark’s unique way.

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Mark attended Lincoln School of Art’s (now all combined at the University of Lincoln) Illustration course. Since graduating, the Illustration course has changed, growing in popularity and Mark often goes back to give lectures to the current students, offering them a glimpse into a professional illustrator’s life.

“It’s great fun passing on the knowledge that I’ve gained these past ten years as a professional Illustrator,” Mark says.

For Mark every new story is a new challenge. He loves to give it a good read, building up an idea of what the characters are like and how the story moves. Next he views the story like a puzzle, working out how to lay the pages out into double page spreads, single pages and vignettes, then starting with rough thumbnail drawings before moving on to tight pencils.

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When Mark was at University, he tried out many new styles or formats, thinking that he didn’t have just one kind of style. The portfolio he had by the end of his third year had all sorts of work in it, from 3D model work to gouache and acrylic work to computer work – a very eclectic mix! While the experimentation was great to grow, Mark has since found his natural style which has propelled him further into children’s books and helped to define his brand.

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One of Mark’s latest books, Noisy Bottoms (published by Usborne) has become a big hit – it’s up for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize!

“I think I’m in the same camp that many Illustrators are in,” Mark says, “and I have to say that the Roald Dahl stories are just fantastic. I grew up with them and they’re still great books.” 

While Mark is a busy man, he aims to keep children reading and laughing. His work within children’s publishing is fantastic and we are so excited to see the many more books that he works on!

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