Graduate’s career still skyrocketing four years after Bloomsbury book deal

 Mark Chambers   Mark Chambers Illustration

When we last spoke to Illustration graduate Mark Chambers (Illustration, 2003) back in 2010, it was easy to see his career was flourishing as he had just landed a book deal with publishing giant Bloomsbury.

Four years later and Mark’s career is still on the up having been nominated for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and winning a Sheffield book award. The two books that landed Mark such high accolade were entitled the not so estimable ‘Pigeon Poo’ and ‘Noisy Bottoms’.

However the subject matter of these books is one that Mark has seen first-hand lighten the hearts of both children and adults alike.   “I've seen children reading these books a few times in major bookstores, especially Noisy Bottoms. Once when I was down in London all I could hear from across the room were trump sounds coming from that book over and over again, it was hilarious. It wasn't just the children pressing the buttons either!

"Having these two books shortlisted for book awards too was fantastic especially as Pigeon Poo won the picture book award at the Sheffield Book Awards and although Noisy Bottoms came up short at the Ronald Dahl Funny Prize, just to be shortlisted for that particular award is an achievement in itself!”

The Sheffield Children’s Book Award is one of the largest Local Authority award schemes in the country and has recognised the talent of many notable authors and illustrators, including J.K. Rowling who won the award back in 2008 for Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.

Despite being represented by London agency Bright Group, Mark decided to remain in Lincoln after graduating and set up his studio in the city. He gets asked to do a variety of jobs through the agency which has included designing soft toys, illustrating American picture books and even M&S marketing campaigns. 

“In my job there is no 'typical' day. One day I could be drawing pirates, the next I could be drawing sharks and then hamsters on a skateboard. It really is that varied!”

Mark has also recently seen his illustrations come to life on CITV’s Bookaboo, a show that uses both filmed narration and animation to teach children about the wonders of reading.

Mark says: “I saw the episode of Bookaboo the other day and it is hilarious! They did such a great job at animating the pages and Des Hegarty, the teacher who read it, was fantastic! I can see how he won the competition to be a Bookaboo reader.”

Mark is also set to have one of his books read aloud on CBeebies in coming weeks too, but despite being overjoyed with the recognition he is receiving, Mark is determined his career isn’t going plateau.

“The plan is definitely to carry on with everything and try and do bigger and better projects. I'm constantly revisiting my style and how my characters work so fingers crossed I can try and get another self-authored book deal with an original character. I have a lot of ideas, it's just turning them into a winning story now!”

When asked if he has any words of wisdom for recent graduates Mark says: “Basically my advice is short and sweet – Keep at it and keep day you'll make that vital breakthrough!”


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March 2014

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