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UCA student’s illustrated book goes on sale at Waterstones

The first illustrated book created by one of our graduating students, Ben Simons, has gone on sale at Waterstones.

Securing a work experience placement at Bristol publishers Arkbound, BA (Hons) Illustration student Ben, who is 20 and from Bristol, impressed the publishers with an early stage version of his book Tilly the Terrior, which he originally created for his end of first-year project.

Ben says: “While doing work experience at Arkbound, I had the opportunity to show some of my work and they really liked the book. The publisher at Arkbound offered to sponsor me to get it published and I worked on the book as well as other things during my placement. He recommended changing a few things around, so we both started developing it until he was happy with the finished product.”

The story is aimed at children between the ages of three and six and is about Tilly the terrior. Ben says he drew inspiration from his own dog.

“The initial idea was generated through a creative writing workshop where I decided to base the story on my dog,” Ben explains. “It’s very surreal to see the story now available for people to buy from a massive retailer such as Waterstones.”

Now looking forward to graduation, Ben adds: “Once I’ve graduated, I’d love to Illustrate picture books for established publishers, so this is a dream start to my career. The last three years of my degree have meant that I’m graduating with a much better knowledge of how the industry works especially in children's publications, and my style has really improved too.”

Ben’s latest illustrated children’s book, Stranded, is about a young boy and his father who become stranded on a desert island and have to figure out how to make their way home. The book will be on display at this year’s graduation show.