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Meet Sarah & Erin Wilson-Clark, Author & Illustrator of 'I Don't Want to Share'


What inspired you to start writing?


We bounced the idea off of each other from a conversation we had in late 2019. I have always wanted a career in art, but it’s a very difficult and competitive field of work to get hired in, often requiring years of experience and ridiculous expectations - even just at entry level work! So I wanted to create the book to try and get my work out to a wide audience. I’ve always been keen on Julia Donaldson’s works, so she inspired me to go through with the idea. - Erin


As I have been in education for a long time and I am moving towards retirement, developing the book was a way of creating a bit of a legacy for me. I bounced lots of ideas off Erin to encourage and support her to get her work out to a wider audience and the book was what we both agreed on. - Sarah



What is the key theme and/or message in your debut title: I Don't Want To Share?

The key theme - as the title mentions - is sharing.


We wanted to get the message across in a fun way that didn’t come across as lecturing or preachy. I made Emily and Ned with the intention to be relatable. Young kids are stroppy and struggle to get along sometimes, and Emily definitely seems stroppy! But as the story progresses and she deals with her problem of sharing- rationalises it, she becomes happy and friendly with Ned. So I guess another message is that facing and rationalising your problems will definitely help you be happy. - Erin


I would add to what Erin says in that hopefully other messages that come through the book are that sharing is about trust and also that adults need to support children by being supportive, consistent and praising success. - Sarah


What was your highlight in writing this book?

Completing it for me!

It took so long to do it. I think because we didn’t have a deadline set so I wasn’t all too enthusiastic or rushing to finish it. On some days I would go back to an illustration, try and draw a hand - couldn’t do it correctly, then give up for a month! I promise I’m not lazy, having a deadline helps me focus! But yes, completing the book definitely felt like a weight off my shoulders, especially in the editorial phase when the illustrations were finally perfect on print. - Erin


I had shared the idea of the book with colleagues in education and all of them loved the idea of it. This spurred us on to get the book completed.

It was amazing to finally see it in print! - Sarah


How did you find bringing your story to life with our illustration process?

I have a style that’s quite unique to me- inspired by Japanese anime and manga, but also western cartoons like Disney’s animations. I really enjoy bold lines and colours - and especially drawing expressions. I brought Emily to life with her very clear and often exaggerated expressions. Visually, I wanted to clearly show what emotions Emily was expressing that would be easy for young children to see too.


The backgrounds are a simple watercolour to help make the illustrations really stand out with the colours often representing the mood of the page. I wanted to add character into the illustrations like Emily and Ned in the speech bubbles as the teacher was talking - just to try and make the text in the book and the illustrations  feel as one and not separate from each other. - Erin



Describe how you have worked on the story and illustrations together?

We started with the story itself, with the text and the rhyming - which was a pain at times. We decided on the title, we agreed it was going to be a book about sharing, aimed for a young audience - so wanted to keep the title simple. I designed and illustrated the title page first, creating Emily in the process. After that, I got started breaking up the verses into pages and planning the illustrations to put on each page. I had a lot of creative freedom as it’s our own project, my Mum kind of left me to do my own thing when it came to the illustrations and how the book looked, but I could definitely mind read her if she wasn’t keen on any pages! -  Erin

 

We wanted the text to rhyme as it encourages children to join in with the story. Most young children love rhyme and it helps them to recall information too. We needed to make sure that the language we used was understandable and appealing to fit the audience so we spent time deciding this carefully. I created a simple, visual poster at the back of the book which can also be printed from scanning the QR code in the book. The idea came from the visual posters I create in my job - we wanted it to become our own, so Erin illustrated the visual part to be simplistic and memorable. Visuals act as a reminder and the poster was designed to help adults teach children how to share. - Sarah


If you could invite three people to a dinner party, who would they be and why?

For me, I’d invite Julia Donaldson, Miriam Margolyes, and Hayao Miyazaki. Julia Donaldson seems like a lovely person- she has also created some of the most well known children books worldwide! When I was a child, she was the reason I had book writing as an option for a future career- she’s a big inspiration, and her books were my favourite! Especially The Snail and The Whale.


Miriam Margolyes is very unapologetically herself. She speaks how she wants, acts how she wants, and is very very funny! She makes it clear if she dislikes or likes something - that being said I hope I’d be on her good side!


And finally Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Studio Ghibli’s films like My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and more! He’s so imaginative and boundless in creativity, creating beautiful works with a traditional 2D animation style. In a time where AI art is becoming so normalized and threatening artistic careers, he has a very strong opinion against it - we need people like him as a rock in the creative world, expressing human-made imagination and artistry. - Erin


I agree with Erin for the first two people I’d invite. For me personally, I would love to invite my mum who sadly passed away when I was just 21. She never knew that I became a teacher and she never got to meet Erin either. I think she would be very proud of us! - Sarah




What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

We hope our readers want to read it over and over again and that it becomes a favourite story. We also hope that adults feel confident and supported to teach children to share and reap the benefits from their efforts. - Sarah



Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you both…


I know a few of my readers would know but to a wider audience - I play a lot of video games! Thousands of hours collectively playing adventure games and RPGs (role playing games). Funnily enough, I don't read any traditional books! All the fancy words I know usually come from online media, comics, animations, and especially games. I shocked my English teacher with that fact because I often got high grades in English! - Erin


I am artistic but in different ways to Erin. I used to paint and draw but now I prefer crafting & making things including birthday cakes. Erin likes to challenge me with her birthday cakes every year! - Sarah


Have you always wanted to collaborate and work on a book together?


No, not in a negative tone I should add - in a surprised tone! We never planned on working on anything together before the book. As mentioned previously, the idea just sparked from a conversation we had together in 2019 about me wanting to get my artwork out to a wide audience and my Mum wanting a legacy for her educational career. - Erin

 

Like Erin said, we never planned on it, but it has been a great experience and milestone for the both of us. Many people I have spoken to have said how they would struggle to work with their kids on anything- let alone create a book together! - Sarah



Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?


We are on Facebook, Instagram, and X/Twitter. We also have our own website doodlebugpublications.com which is where you’ll find all the useful information you want to know about us and the free printable resources that you can download and print off.

I am on social media too, sometimes posting artwork, you can find a link to my website on the Doodlebug Publications website where you can find out more about me, commission me, see my portfolio and find my social media links. - Erin



Sarah & Erin's debut title: 'I Don't Want to Share' is AVAILABLE NOW!


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