I am sure that we all have a “Comic Strip History of Space” or the “Comic Strip Big Fat Book of Knowledge” at home that we read to the kids, or we’ve drawn with our kids in her brilliant “Draw It” series of books, published by Bloomsbury. The wonderfully funny and informative illustrations in these books are drawn by the well-known children’s book illustrator and author, Sally Kindberg. Have a look at your children’s books – at least one of those will have been illustrated by Sally. With an uncanny ability to create comical characters and interlace them with interesting and educational subjects, Sally’s is a talent to be admired.
Sally trained as a graphic designer, specialised in illustration, and got her first editorial commission as a student. Her career developed from there – she’s the author/illustrator of more than thirty children’s books.
During her career as an illustrator, Sally took a sideways step and wrote travel pieces for broadsheets and magazines – a chance meeting that led to exciting adventures. I asked where her most obscure travels took her and her reply was:“Elf School in Reykjavik”! It really does exist and yes, Sally really went there to write a feature about this bonkers destination for the London Evening Standard.
Being a travel writer gave Sally many unique experiences. A week aboard a fully rigged Tall Ship sailing from Falmouth to Lisbon with other freelance journalists, accompanied by a Cornish radio host who recorded dolphin sounds using a microphone dangled over the side of the ship, was just one of the inspirations for a newspaper feature.
Sally has always worked as a freelancer, although occasionally teaching at art college and once working as an artists’ model. One of her most lucrative jobs was handwriting straplines for a TV cider ad– getting paid hundreds of pounds per word. As wonderful as this sounds, the reality is that earning a living from being freelance can be tricky.
When I asked Sally how she actually does it she replied with her characteristic humour. “ With a lot of luck and determination – and erm, a lot of talent too of course! As much as working for yourself is fantastic – you have the freedom to choose the hours you work, you get to be involved on a wide range of different projects and meet fascinating people – there can be lean times financially. I think you really have to be open to ideas and willing to adapt to different situations. It’s a fantastically rewarding way to work!”
Sally believes strongly in using writing and drawing to help communicate with the world around us. A trip to different destinations in China running comic strip workshops for children was particularly enjoyable for Sally who loves encouraging others to be creative. We can’t learn all the languages of the world but we can all share imagery.
A long-term resident of Primrose Hill, Sally holds creative workshops for children and adults locally as well venues as far apart as China and the Outer Hebrides. They’re mostly aimed at 5-11 year olds, but she has had over sixties joining in! Workshop and contact information can be found here
Sally’s latest book is Draw It! Pirates. She recently ran some pirate themed workshops for children at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, in the Lake District.