Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Opportunity Knocks for Illustrators (of all ages and abilities)

Being a children's author, I, Eric Pullin, am always on the lookout for special illustrations for my works.

Special doesn't mean technically perfect or stunningly beautiful, it means innovative, different, eye-catching, exciting. It doesn't matter whether you are a professional illustrator, an up-and-coming artist, a student, a kid, if you can draw - read on.

About 8 years ago I met a young art student who was taking part in a competition to become the illustrator for my, now popular, "Why Series" bedtime stories. One day he showed me a portfolio of his work. His speciality was drawing human hands - which, I am told, are very difficult to draw well. The pictures that he showed me took my breath away.

I was so impressed with his work that I offered to write a special piece for him to illustrate - a story about "hands". I wanted to give him a platform to show off his amazing talent.

It took me a while to come up with an idea for my story, by which time, the competition to become my "Why Series" illustrator had finished. He had not been the winner.

I finally found the inspiration for my story about hands and I began writing a poem for children about a fantasy world called "The Land of the Hand". Once I had completed the first few verses I took them to him to read. He seemed thrilled at the prospect of illustrating the poem and I left him to work on his side of the project.

Several weeks later, having not heard from him, I went to his college to find out how he was getting on with the illustrations. There I found that he had given up his college course and that no one knew where he had gone. His tutors told me of personal problems that he was wrestling with but that his leaving had been a complete shock to them.

My poem had lost its illustrator and so it was decided that a class of students at the college should illustrate "The Land of the Hand" as part of their course work. I finished writing the story and they set to work.

Though that group of students produced some beautiful work for me, there was nothing that compared with the pictures that I know would have come from the intended illustrator.

"The Land of the Hand" was put onto a shelf to collect dust.

Since that time, I have used the story in many of the schools that I visit each year. Children seem to love the story and I am constantly asked when or if it will be published.

See what you think - this is "The Land Of The Hand" ...

The Land of the Hand

There’s a far off land
The land of the hand,
Where bodies and heads
And arms and legs
Have ceased to be,
Quite naturally,
In this far off land,
The land of the hand.

In the land of the hand,
You understand,
Socks and shoes
Have all been banned.
The people there are well equipped
To walk around on finger tips.
For socks and shoes there’s no demand
In the far off land,
The land of the hand.

In the land of the hand
The hands are wise 
And they watch and learn
Through searching eyes. 
Each has a mouth, a nose and ears. 
Each hand can talk and smell and hear.
And everything they do is planned
In this far off land,
The land of the hand.

In the land of the hand
You’ll see such things
There are flying hands
With giant wings,
And hands that swim,
And hands that crawl,
Then, hidden in amongst them all
Are those who simply sit or stand
In the far off land,
The land of the hand.

In the land of the hand
Is a mountain high,
And if you’re ever passing by
Your eyes will be drawn to its very peak, 
Where rocks and clouds play hide and seek,
And there you will see
A palace grand,
Where lives the King
Of the land of the hand.

The King of the land
Wears a jewelled crown,
And he sits on his throne
In a velvet gown.
Each of his fingers
Is ringed with gold,
And he spends his days,
Or so I’m told,
Teaching the children to understand
The ways of the land,  
The land of the hand.

In the land of the hand
There are plants, you know,
Where lollipops
And ice creams grow.
And the early morning dew is made
From tiny drops of lemonade.
There are giant chocolate trees that stand
In the fields of the land,
The land of the hand.

In the land of the hand
For a thousand years
There’s never been
The need for tears,
For every single hand is blessed
With endless days of happiness.
It seems quite hard to understand
Why we all can’t live
In the land of the hand.

But the land of the hand
Is just a dream,
Where no one’s ever really been.
Yet, if you snuggle down at night
And close your eyelids really tight
And think of that King
In his palace, grand,
Perhaps you’ll find
The land of the hand.

And if you do,
Make no mistake,
You’ll only stay
Until you wake.
But all of the wondrous sights you see
Will seem as real as reality.
Into just one night
A lifetime’s crammed
When you visit the land,
The land of the hand.
© Eric Pullin 2012.
(Please do not use without the poet's permission.)

I would love to turn this story into a picture book. I believe that an illustrator can find a wealth of interesting images within these words.

So here's the challenge -

If you can draw and would like to have a go at illustrating my story I'd love to hear from you. If you would like to take any of the verses of "The Land of the Hand" and come up with your illustration for that verse, I would love to see it. There are no guarantees attached. but there is an opportunity.

If you are 8 years old or 80 years old it doesn't matter. Maybe it would be good to have this story illustrated by a very young artist - maybe a professional illustrator could turn these words into a beautiful picture book. I have no set idea as to what I am looking for. Style, size, medium, - it's up to you. Take my breath away again with something special.

You can contact me at

I hope you'll have a go - I'm waiting for your pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! I illustrate my own blog but hands defeat me - ha ha. I have a wooden hand on my desk upstairs and one on the desk in my study and they haunt me. Yes, they are devilishly difficult. Loved the poem and I hope you find someone to illustrate for you. If you get a moment have a look at my blog too. I am a poet and writer by trade.

    Good luck in your quest and please wish me luck in mine!

    Very best wishes and I look forward to seeing the results some time......