Award winning author and illustrator Steve Antony has written a brand new picture book and we are thrilled to be part of the blog tour celebrating its release – Amazing, published by Hodder Childrens Books.
This fantastically heartwarming book features a boy and his best friend, who happens to be a dragon. These two have a special bond and love to have fun they laugh, dance, draw and they are both amazing.
Inspired by Steve’s work as a special needs support worker, the main character in this book just happens to be a wheelchair user and this book is the perfect platform to start conversations about diversity. Books that include diverse characters are so important, for children to be able to relate to picture books and see characters like them is incredibly powerful, not to mention the importance of promoting inclusivity to all.
On to the blog tour – if you’ve ever wondered just what it’s like to be a picture book maker then this stop is for you as Steve shares a day in the life of an author and illustrator.
A Day in the Life of Steve Antony
Every now and then I like to convince myself that I’m a morning person. I do this by setting my alarm for 7AM so that I can head to the gym for an early workout. Nine times out of ten what I will actually do is hit the snooze button until rolling out of bed at 9. I’m more of a night owl and often work late.
Side note: you’ll see from this photo that we’ve yet to take down our Christmas decorations.
A not so great photo of our cat, Coco. The very first thing I do each morning is feed her.
The second thing I do is make coffee and then check my emails. My office is quite tiny. The fact that I’ve published 16 picture books just proves that you don’t need a big fancy studio to make picture books, although I would like a big fancy studio. Checking emails can sometimes take hours. It’s not unusual for me to spend an entire day sending and replying to emails.
The fan is a permanent fixture even though I only ever use it 8 or 9 times a year, and the clock was a gift from Scholastic USA. I’ve just noticed that it needs new batteries.
I’m still sat at my desk and haven’t had breakfast yet (unless you count a banana as breakfast). Every night I write a things to do list for the next day. Today I’m going to London but there are a few things I need to do first. In case you’re wondering.
One of the things I need to do is illustrate ‘How to Draw Zibbo’ for Library Mice, which will be part of my ‘Amazing Blog Tour’. This is just a rough drawing of the 6 steps. I’ll have to finish this tomorrow.
After whipping on some clothes and brushing my teeth, I swing by the dry cleaners to pick up our wedding suits (my hubby and I got married a couple of weeks ago).
I go to the gym every morning to work out (or relax) and freshen up. This is my ‘me time’, although my hubby, Joseph, sometimes accompanies me (he took this photo). I don’t always use the gym, sometimes I just sit in the spa. Either way, I need this space to gather my thoughts. This is a quick visit because I need to head to London soon.
I dash into Office Outlet, which is right next to the gym, for A3 paper and clear tape. It’s a shame this store is closing down because it’s my go-to for printer ink. I need this A3 paper to print out rough drafts of Amazing. At the book’s launch in Waterstone’s Piccadilly I’m going to display a portfolio of work showing the story’s development.
I feel like I need a change of clothes for London. What I’m wearing now is covered in cat hair and I wore this top yesterday. I microwave baked beans and veggie sausages for lunch (not pictured) because it’s easy and I’m in a rush.
London, here I come. I live in Swindon, by the way (obvs). Joseph drops me off. My rucksack contains a sketchbook, a 2B pencil, a pen, a plastic bottle of water, some gum, roll-on deodorant, a disposable razor, a phone charger and plug. I forgot mints. I’ll buy some in the station.
So, the reason I’m in London is to attend my first CWIG meeting at The Society of Authors in Drayton Gardens. CWIG stands for Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group. The CWIG coordinate events and campaigns as well as support and advise the wider aims of the Society of Authors. In a nut shell, we exist to advise and support our fellow children’s authors and illustrators as well as help bolster nationwide campaigns (i.e. supporting independent bookstores, fighting library cuts, promoting reading for pleasure, Pictures Mean Business, to name a few).
Today, Alison Tarrant, CEO of School Library Association, is here to talk about the ‘Great School Libraries’ campaign. The campaign aims to bring school libraries and librarians back to every school in the UK; and gather data on the quality and quantity of school libraries that already exist. I’ll write more about this important campaign later, but for now please check out the hashtag #GreatSchoolLibraries and the website greatschoollibraries.edublogs.org for more info.
The meeting was very productive and informative! Robin Stevens, Shoo Rayner and I enjoy a drink and natter in a pub nearby.
A quick snap of Paddington Bear before hopping onboard a train back home.
Joseph picks me up and I grab a spinach-based pizza from Sainsbury’s on the way home. When we get in, I discover that my Amazing badges have arrived in the post! I will be taking these to next week’s launch of Amazing.
Time to kick off my shoes, eat my spinach- based pizza (which is much tastier than it sounds) and watch whatever’s on (Celebs Go Dating will do). Also, I discover that Joseph has cleared away all the Christmassy things, including the tree, and the floor is covered in plastic pine needles.
For the rest of evening I research potential honeymoon destinations (because we’ve postponed our honeymoon to later in the year) and finish writing another blog post.
As you can see, I probably spent about 5 mins of my day drawing, and I didn’t do any work on my own picture books. I love my job and all that it entails, but I do have to stick to a very strict schedule in order to produce picture books. In an ordinary week I probably spend about 50% of my time illustrating and/or writing, if that. Much of my time is spent doing everything else. Also, when you work from home you have to be self-disciplined (it’s easy to get distracted by friends, partners, or cats) and you also have to know when to switch off from work. Because of this, I do set aside, ‘desk days’, ‘event days’, ‘tax days’ etc. But then there are the days that don’t fit into any of those boxes. Today was one such day.
Thank you so much Steve for sharing your busy and very varied day with us and many congratulations to you and Joseph on your recent nuptials.
You can see more of Steve’s work on his website steveantony.com and be sure to check out more exclusive content during the Amazing blog tour courtesy of these brilliant fellow bloggers.
Buy Amazing from Wordery with free delivery.
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