Hollie and Figgs: the inspiration and the journey

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Hollie is based on the author’s daughter Holly. Figgs is based on their cat Tiggs. When Annette’s daughter wasn’t well, she had an idea that that could boost her daughter’s confidence and help her feel better.

Annette had always been interested in children’s literature and would often read to her children and make up bedtime stories.

One day, Annette asked her daughter if she would like to draw some illustrations for a story she planned to write. Holly agreed and Annette proceeded to take an online course in writing stories for children.

This is when the idea of Hollie and Figgs was born.The main character Hollie had the same characteristics as Annette’s daughter Holly; loving, sensitive, with a vivid imagination and long fair hair. Figgs her cat represented Holly’s own cat Tiggs, grey with green eyes, very cute and ultra intelligent.

For Holly, drawing the illustrations was very therapeutic and extremely helpful at a difficult time. You can see some of Holly’s original drawings in our video below!

Hollie and Figgs: From pen to print

 
 
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It was a fun project to do at a worrying and stressful time. Thankfully, Holly is now well, but she got value from drawing the Hollie and Figgs illustrations and working with her mum on the project.

When the story and illustrations were finished Annette decided to self-publish the book so that Holly could see her achievement and name on a completed version in the hope that it would help boost Holly’s confidence even more.

A friend of the family Andy Wintrip, a professional concept artist offered to take Holly’s drawings and develop them in preparation for printing. The plan was to stay as close to Holly’s initial drawings as possible.

Taking the idea, developing it and getting it self-published was something new to Annette. But she embraced the challenge as she wanted her daughter to get the most out of the experience.

Annette researched all about the self-publishing industry and approached a local independent publisher. To fund the publication Annette set up a funding page on Kickstarter - an online funding platform. She managed to reach the goal she set and went ahead with the publication.

Annette enjoyed writing and creating the first book so much that she decided to write a sequel.

By this time Holly, her daughter was a lot better and had developed her own business so didn’t have the time to dedicate to the project.

Andy the concept artist couldn’t work on the second book either. Annette had the idea to approach a local university to see if any art students wanted to gain work experience and earn some money at the same time.

Beth Hilliard a student illustrator showed interest. Beth was the best person for  the project as she kept to Holly’s original ideas and Andy’s illustrations. You can’t tell that another illustrator had taken over! So Hollie and Figgs: The Missing Rainbow was completed!

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 Annette enjoyed working with Beth and wanted to extend the work experience to other young people as to assist them in their profession, just like she’d helped her daughter Holly in the beginning.

She approached a student musician and a student animator as she had a vision to bring Hollie and Figgs to life. The Hollie and Figgs animation is truly amazing and children love to sing along to the song and watch Hollie and Figgs dancing on the screen.

Seeing potential in her characters Hollie and Figgs, Annette decided that they are to become ‘Eco-warriors.’ As we all know plastic pollution along with other environmental issues are a major concern and threat to the planet. Through Hollie and Figgs, Annette wants to convey an important message to young children and give them ideas about what they can do to look after the planet.

Annette is also working on the third book in the Hollie and Figgs series. IT has a Christmas theme and IS DUE TO be released IN 2020!