Part Time Artist, Full Time Mum, All The Time Tea Drinker!

During term time I work full time hours illustrating and creating but during the school holidays my Webblings, Lilly and Harrison, come first. They are at an age where in all honesty they would be happy to stay in front of the screen for the whole entire holiday and not get bored but since we can finally go out, I didn’t want them to spend all week ruining their eyesight. I also struggle with sensory overload and two many screens on at once drives me slightly batty (and no they won’t be happy to watch the same thing, it is not worth the fight!)

Webb Family.

However all of that is easier said than done, I still have work to do and cannot afford to take every school holiday off of work and if I go more than a day without drawing I get almost as cranky as if I try to go a day without tea. So there has to be some balance.

Last week was half term and we are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the beautiful Devon and Cornwall coast and countryside. Now that we are allowed out we wanted to make the most of it and to hopefully create some memories for our Webblings. This blog post is a bit like a diary of what we got up to and how I managed to sprinkle a little creativity into it too.

Lilly is a figure skater and despite the worldwide issues that have meant our local rink is still closed, Lilly has continued to train and improve and is very eager to get back onto the ice as soon as possible. While she trains with her amazing coach, Debbie Marsh, the rest of us wonder around the woods and have a play on the skate park (Minus the skates or skateboard). Harry always takes some form of screen in case we need to stay in the car rather than get soggy in the rain but we do try to get out and walk around if it isn’t too muddy! Jamie was very confident getting to the top of the skate ramp but then not is much when it came to getting down. Luckily we managed to have no accidents on this journey.

I didn’t do any work on this day but days like this in the fresh air, watching my family have fun are days that make me feel more inspired. Walking around the woods is one of the main inspirations for my book Sass Feels Lonely. I think that the fresh air blows off the cobwebs and you start to generate new ideas. I always have my phone on me (a blessing and a curse) and I have filled my notes app with so many ideas or fragments of ideas whilst we have been on trips like this where it is too wet to sit and draw or paint.

On bank holiday Monday we were amazed to get an actual sunny bank holiday and we didn’t waste it. We got in the car (we have a red and white mini called Sally!) and headed to World Of Country Life in Exmouth. It was really amazing. We got to see a lot of the animals up close and they looked really well cared for, they had a lot of wide open spaces and the staff seemed to genuinely care for them. Harry has discovered one of my old point and shoot cameras and he spent a lot of the day snapping away at everything from vintage cars to baby goats. He even managed to get a few pictures of me too! We had a brilliant day and I highly recommend it if you are in the area.

As you can imagine it was a full on day and there was time for a game of ping pong with the husband but sadly no art. However on the way back we decided it would be rude to go all that way and not have chips on the beach so that is exactly what we did, followed by ice cream of course. Exmouth beach is very sandy and with the sun shining you could easily believe you were somewhere more tropical. I sat on the beach watching the Webblings play, Harry burying himself and Lilly making a TikTok and I managed to do a few doodles in my scrappy little sketchbook that I take everywhere. These are life drawings and gesture practice not intended as final images but the process of creating them has improved my art and I urge everyone artist or not to take a sketchbook with them and doodle every chance you get!

We also managed to visit family over the holiday and as I am from a big family we managed to have some very fun water fights and barbecues during the days. Lilly and Harrison managed to spend a lot of time in Nanny’s garden with their cousins, they painted rocks and canvases, drew on the path with chalk and bounced a lot on the trampoline. The nice weather was a real bonus. My five year old nephew Toby dared me to paint Nanny’s house and of course being his crazy aunty (he has plenty of sensible ones don’t worry) I got out my paints and a watercolour book that I carry with me and painted a stylised version of my mums house. Toby declared that I am “like an artist” which was one of the best compliments that I have ever had!

We spent the evenings watching Taskmaster mostly which the Webblings find hilarious. Some of the challenges are completely absurd and I love to hear what the Webblings would do to complete them if they were on the show. If you haven’t seen it then it isn for young children because some of the language isn’t great but for slightly bigger kids and adults it is great fun. During these TV sessions I managed to squeeze in a few hours of commission work, mostly for the amazing Nurture Programme and I am very lucky that they are incredibly patient working parents themselves who understand that things take a little longer during school holidays.

Sample of Connie for The Nurture Programme.

We were invited to meet up with one of my very best friends and her beautiful son to journey over the Tamar Bridge into Cornwall and visit Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary and although it is a very small park it is very special because all of the animals have been rescued from the pet trade or other zoos. They have no breeding programme and are a real sanctuary for the animals in their care. It rained but we didn’t let that stop us. Harry was armed with his camera once more and we managed to see some adorable meerkats and amazing racoon dogs. It was a great morning out. We obviously needed hot chocolate to warm us up on the way home though!

To end the holiday it wouldn’t be a Webb holiday if we didn’t get up to the moors so on Sunday evening we took a spontaneous trip to Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor, my favourite place in the world! The sun was shining and there were a lot of people around but we managed to find some secluded spots for a nice cup of tea and the perfect end to a wonderful week. It is Tuesday now and I am still exhausted. I am not a fan of the 6am alarm at all but I am glad that we made time to make memories with our Webblings before they are too old to want to do day trips with us. I will catch up with work I didn’t manage to complete this week but I won’t ever have the chance to catch up with the Webblings at this stage ever again. It is really important to me that they know that even though I work, and I am so blessed because I absolutely love my job, I will always down the paintbrushes for just a chance to spend time with them!

I did manage to get my Kuretaki paints out on Sunday night and do a little paint doodle to end my week, inspired by the fairies and elves that we were pretending lived among the bluebells as bluebell farmers playing in the blossom.

Little Pixies playing in blossom by Samantha Webb.

Thank you so much for reading about my week and about how I fit in my career around parenting or rather how I don’t really do much work when my children are not at school. I am still trying to find the balance and I will keep trying. If you have any suggestions for how to better manage my time or for days out that you think we will enjoy then please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Samantha x

Glub, Now Under New Management!

I am so delighted to be writing this blog post. Glub, my curious purple creation has had a rough start of it and has been on a real adventure but I feel like he has finally found his true home.

Glub

I wrote the story of Glub around 12 years ago, after a trip to Paignton where we always go in to the arcades and have some wholesome family fun. My husband was adamant that he wanted to win a particularly unflattering teddy of Micheal Jackson because in his words “it is so bad, it is brilliant?’. Our then one year old daughter Lilly was horrified and was grabbing for the cute teddies and really no one would blame her. Sadly that day we walked away without any prizes but an idea was beginning to form in my mind.

Concept art by Jamie Webb.

On reading the first draft my husband drew many pictures of Glub, I absolutely loved his concept art and you can find one of those images today as the end papers in the finished book. The book then sat dormant for a while, I was getting the Cornlings all finished and ready to publish and I wasn’t sure if Glub would be watercolour or felt. He really had to be fluffy didn’t he!

Many, many months went into felting the illustrations, wet felt and needle felt followed by embroidery and some bead work. Jamie photographed it beautifully so that every image still looked fluffy. But I still didn’t do anything for a while.

Glub waits for a new home.

So Glub waited and waited, he was patient. I was really nervous to show him to people because by this point I was really quite attached and if he was rejected I would be heartbroken. However, with a little encouragement in 2018 I entered him into a contest to win publication and cried with happiness when he won. Glub was going to be published! Happy ending, right?

Definitely not, I told you it has been a journey! When the publishers (who I won’t name and are no longer in business) were preparing Glub everything felt amazing. Publication day came and I hadn’t received copies, however the presages had gone out and my goddaughters had received theirs. We raced over to see it and honestly I cried and I cried, no longer happy tears. My book that I had poured years of love into had been released in a format that was cheap, nasty and really overpriced. I called the publisher who had a truck load of excuses but refused to make changes. I was truly upset to have my name on work that was so poorly created. I went through the next few months of stress trying to claw back ownership of my own work and I got it! Glub was all mine again, sadly Amazon refuses to take my name off of the awful listing so please if you want Glub, Amazon is not the place to buy him.

I left him for another year and decided that he was to good to just be left. I decided to self publish Glub to a high standard like I had previously with my Cornlings books. I put him on Amazon but sadly he does not show in the search listings because Amazon algorithms prefer price to quality. (Again do not buy Glub on Amazon). I thought this would be the end of Glub’s story, forced into obscurity because I had made some bad decisions with an unscrupulous publisher.

Despite this Glub has always been a favourite on school visits, children really do love him and at the end of the day that is all it is really about.

Glub gets a makeover on a school visit!

Don’t worry, I am slowly getting to Glub’s happy ending.

Whilst working with Stour Valley Publishing on The Soggy Little Bee by Simon Henderson, they purchased a copy of Glub from me, my self-published version. I was delighted with the sale and did the obligatory happy dance as all authors do when you purchase their books. Then I received a message to say that they would like to take on Glub as one of their titles. I immediately explained all that happened above and assumed it would be a deal breaker.

But on March 1st 2021 Glub was published, bigger and better and in more detail than ever before. The print quality is far superior and Glub looks like he always should of done. I can’t thank Carl and the Stour Valley Publishing team enough. The entire experience could not of been more different to my first publishing encounter.

Glub is a story about not giving up on finding a home and a family and I can honestly say that I am glad that I didn’t give up on Glub!

We celebrated the signing of the contracts!

You can purchase him now and make me do a happy dance, from independent and amazing bookshop, Shookbop!

The Whole Family celebrated on release day!

FUNDED!!! Albie Ted Goes To Bed is coming soon …

When new author Becky Robertson contacted me about her project I had no idea what to expect. I agreed to read her manuscript and I am so glad that I did. As soon as I read Albie Ted Goes To bed for the first time I felt passionately that I really wanted to illustrate the project.

Albie Ted Goes To Bed is a story about the bond between a mother and a baby that continues to grow and get stronger even through gentle weaning, it is a positive breast feeding story aimed at young children. It really resonated with me; I breastfed both of my children and it was easier with Lilly because I could give her my full attention. Harrison arrived when Lilly was three years old, she couldn’t remember breastfeeding herself and hadn’t seen anyone else do it since so my little inquisitive three year old had lots of questions which I was happy to answer.

Lilly and Harrison Webbling x

Lilly was never upset seeing me breastfeed although she could be a little impatient like most three year olds and so she took to ‘feeding’ her baby dollies while I was feeding Harrison, we thought it was one of the most adorable things ever! However one day in nursery I was called in and told that Lilly had been told off, I was shocked, she was a good girl and never got told off (that changed as she got older but that is a story for another day!), they told me that she was told off for putting a baby doll up her top and ‘feeding’ the baby! Well, that was the first and only time I have had to really ‘tell off’ an educator! I took Lilly home and explained to her that she was not in the wrong, that her nursery teacher was the one who didn’t understand. Lilly doesn’t remember this incident but it stuck with me.

I wish that I had a book like this to read to her so that breast feeding was more normal for her, not just me telling her and showing her that it is. I looked online for cartoons, books etc to show her how normal it was and to reassure her that she wasn’t in trouble. This is a book I definitely would of bought for her. After viewing my portfolio and having lots of conversations I was absolutely blessed that Becky Robertson chose me as her illustrator.

Concept art for Albie Ted and Mummy.

This book is raising money for The Breastfeeding Network which was just even more incentive to get on board with the project. It is a charity that supports parents and families throughout the breastfeeding process. £1.00 from every book sale will go to the charity.

Becky Robertson, author of Albie Ted Goes To Bed set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project, I helped by adding a few pictures of the concept art and on 26.02.19 with 7 days to go, the campaign was successfully funded and the project will definitely be going ahead. I am so excited to illustrate this heartwarming story and to share it with children who might just see breast feeding as a little more mainstream and normal than they did before. I will begin illustrations for Albie Ted late March and I will keep everyone updated with the publication dates.

A huge massive thank you to all of the people who have backed the project, to the people and businesses that have shared the project far and wide. I cannot wait to get started! Big congratulations to Becky Robertson for her successful Kickstarter project, now the work begins!!!

If you have a project that you think I might be a fit for, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks for reading, Samantha x

Albie Ted is going to be SUPER!

5 min Tea Break – 2019 Art Project

tryagain
Happy New Year to you and your family. 2018 was a great year for me in many ways. My children’s story, Glub was published by Little Goblins’ Books and I had the pleasure of reading my Cornling’s stories at 3 Wishes Fairy Fest. 

2019 is going to be great, I hope to continue to work on my forthcoming titles and have many more ideas that are just taking shape. 

But I want to talk to you about a little project that I will be working on alongside my work and I have titled it the ‘5 Min Tea Break’, the idea being that every day of 2019 I will take just 5 mins of my day to draw my tea!

I absolutely love tea and drink it everyday, this is a great little warm up drawing to get me started with the added bonus that I will have a cup of tea to drink when I have finished. Some of them, like my first one of the year (shown above) will be drawing from observation and some of them will be more like my new logo (below) which will be more whimsical. 

My hope is that at the end of the year I will have improved drawing from observation and turning my observational drawings into better planned out whimsical drawings. I hope that it will reduce the amount of procrastinating that I do when I sit with my sketchbook, the hardest thing to draw is usually the first thing because its hard to decide what to draw first. Once the first doodle of the day is finished the rest usually flow much easier, like stretching before you do any exercise helps you perform better.

You can follow my progress on my instagram feed where I will post to my story, unedited phone snaps each day. They won’t be perfect and sometimes they wont even be pretty but I hope you enjoy seeing them regardless. 

Have a wonderful 2019 

Samantha x

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Glub is on the way

This June I felt very low, I had lost my Grandpa the month before, he was my role model and my hero,  I was going through a deep mourning process. A friend sent me a link to a competition, the winner would have their children’s book published. I deleted that message, I wasn’t sure I wanted to ever create anything again. Then my Nanny called me, she was doing so well, she was missing her soul mate, her husband of 60 years and her only love but she was being so brave. She inspired me and helped me to keep moving forward. This was a key moment because I knew that I  had to do something big to get out of the dark place that I had gotten in to.

I searched for the Summer Sizzler competition and sent my application. I truly didn’t think I had much of a chance, I believe in Glub but despite having self published three books, I had never been brave enough to send any of my stories to a publisher before.

It was the step I needed to get out of the dark and since that day I have put more and more work into my writing future and I had put the competition to the back of my mind.

On the 5th September I received the message that I had won the competition and that Little Goblin’s Books  would like to publish my story, Glub. I cried, I cried a lot of happy tears. I told my Jamie and the Webblings who were over the moon for me, we did a happy dance all four of us together. I truly am so happy that I found the strength to press send that day. I am having a lot of fun working with Little Goblin’s Books and I am overwhelmingly excited to see Glub in print and hopeful that this is the start of a brighter writing and illustrating career.

I will keep you updated on the journey, for now I am still dancing and haven’t stopped smiling since I received that email.

Samantha Webb

 

Children's Book Coming Soon
Glub is being published.

Creative Chicks Exhibition

I am very honoured to have been asked to exhibit my Stargazersaurus prints at Ingeenium’s Creative Chicks festival on Saturday 10th March.

Ingeenium is a participatory arts charity based in London, with the aim to build immunity through creativity in libraries. The Creative Chicks exhibition is a celebration of women across the world who are participating in the arts.

My Stargazersaurus paintings have been selected to be displayed next to a whole host of other creative women’s artwork and will be part of the day long festival of workshops and fun. If you are in the area it really is not a day to be missed!

Creative Chicks Ingeenium Stargazersaurus watercolour dinosaur by Samantha Webb