The Loneliness of the Long Distance Illustrator: Sarah McIntyre on How to Beat It

Sarah McIntyre

Sarah McIntyre

How on earth did I miss the news that illustrator and writer Sarah McIntyre is now Writer in Residence at BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity? My belated and heartiest congratulations on this new role, which she took up in February.

Sarah now has a new blog for BookTrust, which, as well as fun stuff like “How to Draw Hands” includes posts like this really inspirational one, talking about ways to find other people to draw with and avoiding the isolation being a freelancer sometimes brings.

Sarah McIntyre - Isolated Illustrator Face“People say illustrating is a solitary profession. But I don’t do well being alone for too long,” she says. “I worked from home for the first five years of my job and I almost went doolally; things on the internet seemed way more important than they really were, my daily interaction with the local coffee barista meant too much to me.”

Sarah broke out of her slump included getting involved with SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (“I met lots of other like-minded people who loved to draw and were trying to help each other wiggle our way forward in the same profession,” she notes), starting a blog and setting up a studio.

It’s a blog well worth bookmarking.

As if you needed reminding, Sarah’s books include the comic Vern and Lettuce, four books with Philip Reeve, including Pugs of the Frozen North and Jinks & O’Hare Funfair Repair, and her picture books include There’s a Shark in the Bath and Dinosaur Police. She loves creating books and comics with friends and getting inspired by batting around ideas and drawings with them.

24 By 7 Cover and SpineAnd, of course, she was one of the team involved in the brilliant Eisner Award-nominated 24 by 7 anthology which, if you still haven’t bought, you really, really should.

Easy to spot at conventions and Festivals in her big hats and pointy shoes, she’s immensely proud of Britain’s amazing illustrators and how well their pictures tell stories, and in 2015, set up the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign calling for people to credit illustrators for their work, in reviews, when sharing artwork on social media, on book covers, and in bookselling data.

Each year BookTrust reaches 2.5 million children across the UK with books, resources and support to help develop a love of reading, in the knowledge that reading can transform lives.

• Visit Sarah’s website and blog: and follow her on Twitter: @jabberworks

Find out more about Sarah’s work as Writer in Residence for BookTrust here

(With thanks to Norman Boyd)

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: British Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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