Exploring fear and bravery: Tomekah George’s experience as an emerging illustrator

To illustrate her children’s book, Becoming Brave, it was super important for Jennie to work with a publisher who shared her passion for mentoring emerging talent. As such she was extremely thankful that Little Tiger invested the time and resources that are so necessary to develop emerging talent, and that she had the opportunity to share the incredible journey of creating Becoming Brave together with illustrator Tomekah George.

Tomekah’s beautiful artwork was an intrinsic part of the creative process, making Jennie and Abram’s story truly come to life.  

Little Tiger’s Art Director Emma Jennings, who brought Tomekah on board, said:

We knew we needed to find a very special illustrator to bring this true story of love, loss and hope to life. As soon as we saw Tomekah’s portfolio we fell in love with her striking, dynamic artwork and knew that she would be able to visually explore the nature of fear and bravery. Her emotive illustrations perfectly captured the different energies of Abram and Jennie’s characters and evoked the spirit of jazz music that infuses the story. She was a joy to work with!”

On publication week, we caught up with Tomekah to ask about her career so far as an emerging illustrator and how she found the experience collaborating on her first book.

Q: Tell us about your path into a career as an illustrator so far?

I’ve always loved art as it gave me a lot of confidence as growing up, it was something I felt I was good at. I went on to study Illustration in Bristol which helped me find a creative voice and start putting my work out into the world. 

Q: Becoming Brave was your first book illustration – what have you learned from the experience? 

Becoming Brave was one of my larger projects, allowing me to spend more time experimenting and building a narrative which you don’t always get to do on fast paced editorial projects. I learned ways of adapting my visual language for my first picture book, made possible by an amazing team of editors and designers who believed in my work. 

Q: Can you share anything about your creative process of developing the illustrations for the book?

I like to keep my creative process quite experimental, using lots of found objects and texture as part of my work. It was fantastic to transfer this to children’s illustration and see the book develop throughout that process.

Q: The Abram Wilson charity is all about inspiring young people to recognise and fulfil their creative potential. What advice would you give teenagers who would like to be an illustrator? 

I would say keep going, it takes a while to see results from your efforts in illustration. The best thing I’ve done is to find a community to uplift you on the days it feels hard to continue. 

Q: Where can readers find out more about your work?

You can follow my work @tameks_g on most social media or check out my website tomekahgeorge.com

Becoming Brave is out now from all good bookstores as well as online sellers such as Bookshops UK, Waterstones, WHSmith or Amazon.