By Thomas Ingham- Children’s author and illustrator.
My name is Thomas Ingham and I am a children’s author and illustrator from a city called Manchester, UK!
When I was asked to write this post I did have to sit down and think about how I would tell you all about the ‘colourful life’ I have lived. I wasn’t born an author and illustrator. It most certainly didn’t come naturally!
First I had to try every job in the world before I knew which one was the right one for me. When I say every job I really mean every job!
I went from knocking on peoples doors trying to sell a hoover, to making coffee in a coffee shop, even dressing up as a Mutant Ninja Turtle at Nickelodeon Land! That last one sounds glamorous but on a hot midsummer's day it wasn’t a pretty sight!
Then after finishing my actor studies at drama school I ventured on to a children’s theatre tour of the country as an actor. I performed to over 200,000 children in every corner of the country doing the most ridiculous things. First I played a troll in our own version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and I then moved on to playing the lead in ‘Dick Whittington’! Those were some of the most amazing but exhausting days of my life. Eventually the energy sapping life of touring the country became too much and I decided to move back home. (I think I then slept for about 4 months!!)
When I got back to Manchester I carried on being an actor, being in adverts for Playstation, in films and doing a bit of telly. But eventually I fell out of love with it. I didn’t want to be an actor anymore!
So I stopped and I didn’t do anything creative for quite some time.
It wasn’t until a friend sent me a book he had written for a charity event that I realised that this looked like something I could do!
So then I wrote and wrote and wrote. It was terrible. Absolutely tragic. But I wrote.
Then I wrote some more.
Eventually I finished my first ever book ‘Theo Turner: Where Adults are Built’. I loved the story, but that isn’t enough to make it in the publishing world. Agents and publishers weren’t interested in the story and I really didn’t have the patience to wait. So I decided to do it myself!
I asked illustrators to help draw the pictures but they charged far too much for my poor self. So I decided to do it myself! No one was going to stop me getting to my goals. I drew some stick men and practised as much as I could, then I created something that looked half decent! Then I produced the book myself and self published on the internet! It is fair to say the rest was history.
Since then I have released another three books which has helped me build a great following online, I have other authors commissioning me to illustrate their books! It turns out that trying to wing it can turn into something amazing!
This year I have been taking part in a Masters of Creative Writing at Manchester Met University to learn how to be the fab writer that I know I can be and I have learnt an endless amount of valuable information. So much so I am now writing some of the best things I have ever written!
My fifth book has now been finished and is currently out to agents and publishers which is a long process and full of rejections!
So if you take anything away from this blog is that life isn’t one straight path. You end up going backwards about a million times. You try things out and sometimes they don’t work out. Sometimes you try something and you fall in love with it and after 5 years of trying to make it work you are only scratching the surface.
I’m at the start of a very big journey and you are more than welcome to join me along the way!