New Client Alert – Charli Vince

  • By: Tracy Marchini | Date: Apr 11 2022

Name: Charli Vince (she/her)

What you Draw/Write: Picture books and graphic novels, illustrator + author

Agent: Tracy Marchini

 

Why BookEnds?:

I’ve spent a long time checking out agents, like, a LONG time. When I noticed a couple of fabulous illustrators that I followed were represented by the same person I started to look into Tracy Marchini and, subsequently, BookEnds. From there I went down the rabbit hole of the BookEnds YouTube channel, seeing who represents who, and checking out the published titles. I was after representation who would support and encourage inclusivity, diversity, boldness, and a splash of weirdness, so I decided that I wanted to send my own stuff to Tracy!

 

Tell us a bit about your writing/drawing process. Where do you write/draw, and how often?

Drawing: Doodling, sketching, drawing, any form of image creating is my default state and has been for as long as I can remember. I have to be doodling whilst watching a film or TV, I bring a tiny sketchbook with me almost everywhere, I used to get in trouble at school constantly for drawing all over my textbooks and the desks… oops… so the process varies a lot! Sometimes it’ll be pleasantly spontaneous and I’ll leap straight into something on my iPad or sketchbook. Other times can be a bit slower and I’ll need to charge up a bit. I often use my forever-expanding Pinterest boards for inspiration or reach for a recent book purchase. When I do have an idea, I’ll work very rough and very bold, with a big chunky brush if I’m on my iPad or a soft pencil in my sketchbook, then slowly work away until the shape of the character/scene/creature is just right.

Most of my “proper” drawing is done in my studio. I’m fortunate enough to have a fantastic studio space in the heart of my city, Norwich, which I share with two other amazing illustrator friends of mine. We’ve created a space which feels equal parts comforting and professional, allowing us to get into the right mindset for creative work whilst avoiding the stress that can come from an office environment. The rest of the time I can draw almost anywhere! I draw from my big comfy sofa a lot of the time, or at my desk in my study, and during the summer I have a small garden with a table perfect for doodling and a patio perfect for the pup to snooze.

Writing: Most of the time the ideas for writing and the process of it come off the back of a drawing. Almost every story I’ve written through to the proposal stage has been based on a quick character drawing or a sketch which I’ve thought “oh… this would make a pretty cool story actually”. My writing process is pretty chaotic, normally starting with a series of barely sensical bullet points listing all the things I thought would be good for the story, then I gradually hone it down into something that works narratively. Writing for a graphic novel is even more chaotic! I’ll often write the script in tandem with the storyboard, allowing one to influence the other as the story grows organically. I’m an illustrator first, then a writer.

 

Where can readers find you on the web and social media?

My portfolio: www.charlivince.com

My shop: www.charlivince.com/shop

Twitter: www.twitter.com/charlillustrate

Instagram: www.instagram.com/charliv_illustration

 

Do you have any writing/drawing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)

Get comfy. I can’t start work unless I’m comfortable, the lighting is right, and I have a big cup of tea next to me. As both someone who values creature comforts and as a neurodivergent person, I can find certain things distracting or overwhelming, like the wrong textures or sounds. So comfort is my first go-to! From there I like to warm up in one way or another (creativity-wise, not just putting the radiator on…).

Sometimes it’s doodling, which will normally be with a tool or material I don’t use often like playing with an engraving pen or a paint colour I don’t use often. After a few minutes of that I’m normally ready to get stuck into some work.

Of course, if I attempt this ritual and I still can’t bring myself to work, it’s normally a sign that burnout is on the horizon. So whenever possible, I’ll take a break when those sorts of warning signs arise.

 

What do you love about writing/drawing?

The subjectivity of it! Ever since I was a kid I can remember loving how open and freeform creative working was, whether it was writing or drawing. There’s so much space for every idea, every style, every person in creative work. I also love seeing how much value art brings to society, both in terms of the practical and the decorative. Being able to draw and having spent – pretty much – my entire life honing my creative skill has given me the ability to create work which adds to this value, hopefully impacting my audience in positive and meaningful ways, the same ways a lot of art has impacted me in my life.

 

What is the hardest part about writing/drawing?

The imposter syndrome that comes with it can be BRUTAL. As I mentioned, with the subjective nature of creativity and art you get the freedom but you also get the flipside which is having no/very few tangible ways to tell if you’re “doing it right.” This leaves folks vulnerable to imposter syndrome creeping in and telling us we’re “doing it wrong” or “not real artists”. Even having delivered talks on this subject I still fall victim to it! But it never stays too long, all of it comes in waves.

I also find motivation to be a tricky one sometimes, especially when imposter syndrome converges with things like burnout, life difficulties, or any other inconvenience. Remaining motivated and open to creative ideas (which often involve leaving your comfort zone) can be particularly hard during these times. But even when I’ve thought I’m in the deepest and darkest slumps, I’ve always caught the wave back up and back into feeling inspired and motivated again.

 

Do you get inspiration from any TV shows or movies? If so, which ones?

Animated movies and TV shows have always been my favourite. Everything that has come out of Studio Laika has been a massive inspiration to me, both in terms of the stunning character design and the amazing, unique, intriguing storytelling. I also remember the movie Mirrormask (directed by one of my favourite illustrators, Dave McKean) having a huge impact on me creatively when it first came out in 2005. It was this textured and wonderful form of weirdness which I hadn’t really seen before. Also, as somebody who has always been utterly in love with the animal kingdom, nature documentaries of all kinds have always been a wonderful source of inspiration for me.

 

If money were no object, what would be your dream writing/drawing location?

I’m a big fan of cold weather, snowy scenes, and alone time. So I think a cosy house covered in windows with a big warm fireplace in it would be ideal. If I could pick up that house and put it on the edge of a lake in Norway or Iceland I’d be in absolute bliss! (Just need to make sure the wifi is fast and there’s some way to have pizza delivered… not a big ask, right?)

 

Do you belong to any writing/illustration organizations?

I have been a member of the AOI (Association of Illustrators) since I started university in 2011. Since then my relationship with the AOI has grown and I now have the pleasure of running the meetup group for Norwich for them and delivering their business masterclasses to universities and institutions across the world.

 

What was the most important question you asked when interviewing agents?

I found it really valuable asking what projects Tracy was most proud of. It gave me a really helpful insight into what success looks like to her so I could see if our ideas of success aligned.

 

How did you know your book was ready to submit?

I would keep going back to the proposal, the dummy book, the front cover, and try my best to think about whether I would genuinely pick that book up if I saw it in a bookshop. Whenever I visited my favourite local bookshops I would picture my titles amongst the other fantastic books there; Does mine stand out? Does it blend in in all the right ways? Would I be proud to point it out to somebody? Consistently, with a couple of my titles including the one I first submitted, I started to say yes to these questions when previously, with other projects, I was unsure. This is when I knew I was ready to send the proposals out.

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