Nobrow Blog

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A Statement From Nobrow

We have been upset to see a number of inaccurate and damaging exchanges appear on social media over the weekend, making allegations about Nobrow, its employees and its shareholders.  These now risk harming the careers of our loyal illustrators and authors, upsetting our dedicated staff and causing entirely unfair damage to our company. We now have no alternative but to respond to these, to correct the record.

  • History of Nobrow, what we are about
    • Nobrow started in 2008 and has always strived to bring exciting, new artists and their works to the fore of the trade publishing world.
    • In the 12 years since its inception Nobrow has grown and developed beyond its early inauspicious beginnings and has launched many artists and writers beyond its original goal of re-invigorating the English language market for graphic narrative books.  Many of the Nobrow contributors now enjoy global success in many languages.
    • The allegations raised against Nobrow regarding bad contracts and poor pay are unfair, inaccurate and unfounded.
    • All current Nobrow contracts which have been in place since 2014 are in line with industry standards. We continue to update them on an annual basis and keep them in line with the marketplace. Our contracts are negotiable and we do not coerce anyone.
    • Specifically, our intention is always to pay a fair and on market advance and royalty. In light of the recent allegations as to the level of our payments, which have rather taken us aback, we have decided immediately to carry out a research project as to equivalent advance and royalty levels to check that we remain on market for a publisher of our size. If we find that we have been inadvertently paying below market rates, we will of course review them.
    • We are speaking to our illustrators and authors. If we come across any concerns they have, we will, of course, address them.
    • We do not prevent authors or artists from working with other publishers on different projects, nor could we, and in fact many of our artists and authors work with many other publishers.
    • The 2013 email that was leaked onto twitter without permission and out of context was the beginning of a conversation that was taken no further, and does not represent the views of the company then or now.
    • Alex has invested his own money into Nobrow since founding the company with Sam. That was a significant investment in comics and illustrated publishing and associated events that were at first loss-leading (like ELCAF & Nobrow magazine) and he has not worked in the company since 2015, although he remains a shareholder. Neither he nor any other shareholder has drawn a dividend from the company to this day.
  • Current circumstances
    • All businesses, and particularly publishing businesses such as ours that are reliant on retail, have been severely affected by the SARS COV-2 virus.
    • We have therefore been forced to furlough five members of staff in our London office during the government furlough scheme period.
    • None of these valued staff members would be in this position if not for the crisis and it is through no fault of their own.
    • We sincerely hope there will be no further job losses, but everything depends on the evolution of the global pandemic, the lifting of lockdown and its impacts on retail and other developments. We don’t comment on individual staff employment issues as it would not be fair to those people involved.
  • ELCAF:
    • ELCAF is run as a break-even annual community event with grant funding, sponsorship and exhibitor and visitor revenue. If profit is achieved after an edition the revenue is rolled into the following year’s event. This means all funding raised for ELCAF and all revenue generated by ELCAF is spent on the event and related community events.
    • ELCAF exhibitors are curated by the organisers. There is limited table space in the venue and the event has been oversubscribed since the second edition. Additional days were introduced to give more people the opportunity to take part.
    • ELCAF uses donated office facilities from Nobrow.
    • Whilst associated with Nobrow, ELCAF is run by three freelance Events Organisers.
    • To ensure the continuation of the event and for the benefit of the community, Nobrow underwrites any financial loss experienced by the organisation of the ELCAF event.
    • The purpose of ELCAF has always been to provide a platform for small press artists and others to exhibit their works to a wider audience, as well as to share ideas and learn from the works of international artists that might have not been so accessible.
    • It is with regret that we have to cancel ELCAF 2020 as a digital or physical event, but the team will continue to promote the work of the illustrators and community involved and we will review the organisation of the event next year according to the evolution of SARS COV-2. We hope this in no way damages the well-being of all those participating artists and contributors.

We have been as frank and open as we have been able in a short period of time, in order to put this episode to rest. In these really difficult times, our industry has to pull together to survive and continue to support talented authors and artists to share their creations with the world.

Thank you.

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My Very Own Space Activity Sheet

Trying to find your very own space during isolation might be difficult! But we’re here to help with activity sheets from the book My Very Own Space by Pippa Goodhart and Rebecca Crane. These activity sheets focus on the importance of boundaries and how personal space can be found in your own head, as well as physically!

Take a moment for yourself and think about what makes you happy, then draw the pictures in the circles :)

What’s your favourite book? If you cant pick or don’t have one yet, why not try to create your very own story!

Activity sheets available for free download here 🌼

And if you’re like the little rabbit who wants to read a book in peace, we recommend My Very Own Space by Pippa Goodhart and Rebecca Crane, available on our website. With minimal text accompanying sweet illustrations, this charming picture book explores ideas of personal space and sharing in a way that even very young children can enjoy 🐰

So remember to take some time off and find yourself the perfect space you need ✨

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.

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Me and My Fear Family Art Project

By Jessica Traylen (Infant Art Club) who is based in Central London, as tested by her two kids! Check out Jessica’s workshops at her web shop here

Welcome to the first in our #FlyingEyeArtClub series, where this week we’re styrofoam printmaking with @infant_art_club, with designs inspired by Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna.

This is a simple, quick and effective way to make prints, using just paint and styrofoam. Sheets of styrofoam (polystyrene) can be bought from online arts and crafts suppliers, or better still – recycle! You can use the kind of foam you might find in the packaging of supermarket pizza. It’s an achievable art activity for all ages – little ones will enjoy mark making and adults can help with the printing while older children might even have a go at incorporating mirror writing into their designs.

1. You will need: styrofoam, a pencil, paint and paper.

2. Draw out your design with a pencil on the styrofoam, taking care not to press all the way through the foam.

3. Next, using either a roller or a paintbrush, spread a thin, even layer of paint onto your foam printing plate.

(Block printing ink or acrylic work best but poster paints can work too, just let the paint dry out a bit before printing!)

4. Now place your styrofoam design-side down onto your paper – apply even pressure across the back, being careful not to let the foam sheeting slip.

5. Then lift to reveal your printed picture!

 6. Ink up your foam printing plate and repeat as much as you like. You can also carefully wash your styrofoam plate to store away and reuse again another day.

Keep checking our blog for more of our #FlyingEyeArtClub series, and to see what wonderful creations you can get to working on with your little ones!

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The Fun Bundle – Leaf and The Secret of Black Rock Activity Sheets

Get creative and design your own Leaf crown and swim along with unique ocean creatures with this week’s FUN BUNDLE featuring activity sheets from Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann and The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton!

Leaf Crown Activity Sheet

by Sandra Dieckmann

Our friend Leaf, the polar bear has stumbled into this beautiful vibrant forest full of big leaves and small leaves, round leaves and colourful ones! Come join Leaf and let your inner creativity loose by gathering all your materials and spending your afternoon with this fun crafting activity making your own Leaf crown 🍃👑

Leaf activity sheet available for download here. We recommend printing this in A3 so the crown fits!

The Secret of Black Rock Activity Sheet

by Joe Todd-Stanton

The Black Rock is as big as a mountain and sharp as a swordfish, but have you ever wondered what kind of creatures inhabits the deepest waters that surround it? Help Erin uncover the mysteries of the legend of the Black Rock by showing her the types of creatures that live there 🐳

The Secret of Black Rock activity sheet is available for download here

We’d love to see what you’ve been making and creating with us on social media so don’t forget to tag us in at @flyingeyebooks! If you’ve enjoyed these activity sheets, and are looking for reading materials, these books are perfect for storytime to keep the little ones engaged with a new adventure! Available in our online shop…

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.

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A Guide to Flying Eye Submissions with Senior Editor Emily Ball

Emily is our Senior Editor, and she works almost exclusively on our Flying Eye titles. She works with authors and illustrators from the commissioning stage to the moment the book is sent to print. She has a Masters in Children’s Literature from the University of Reading, and previously worked at Scholastic’s London branch. 

Take a read below to see Emily’s advice on our submissions policies, and how best to present your work when contacting a publisher.

We’re always on the hunt for new and unique stories, which is why we run our open submissions email. This allows all kinds of people, from all over the world, to reach us directly with their work. Despite spending most of my time working on current projects, I love delving into the submissions email and seeing if there are any gems hiding in there.

Although we aim to read and reply to each submission, we are a small team and do not always have time to reply to everyone! We get around 100 new submissions for children’s illustrated books every week – so sometimes I barely make a dent. However, we still want to see them coming in, as I’ve commissioned some of my favourite projects through this process. One of our upcoming titles, the beautiful Child of Galaxies, is just one of those books.  

Child of Galaxies was submitted by Blake Nuto, a primary school teacher from Tasmania who writes in his spare time. I absolutely loved his poetic and touching text, and after bringing it to our monthly acquisitions meeting we swiftly made an offer and started the hunt for the perfect illustrator. When we saw Charlotte’s art we knew her powerful yet heartfelt style was the right fit for such a moving story, and after showing her the text it seemed she thought the same – so we signed her up!

Child of Galaxies is out this May and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s a beautiful picture book about what it means to be alive and is excellent for teaching children about their place in the universe in a positive and life-affirming way. In our current situation, we feel proud to publish books like this and we sincerely hope you fall in love with it as much as we all did here. It’s a stunner. 

That’s just one of many stories from our open submissions email, which shows it is possible to get published this way! Other books we’ve received through our submissions email include the award-winning book The Journey by Francesca Sanna.

However, here’s a few top tips that might help your picture book stand out if you’re eager to send something in: 

  • Keep your submission short and sweet. If you can’t describe your book in 1-2 sentences, then it’s either too complicated for a picture book or you haven’t summed it up well enough. We flick through these emails quickly, so we want the gist of the story quickly, too.
  • Aim to attach whatever you’re submitting to the email you send. We can’t look at external links for security reasons. It also takes more time, which we often don’t have a lot of. We’re ok looking at low-res PDFs and Word documents, as we can always get in touch with you for more if we like what we see.
  • Do your research. Does your book fit our list? Every publisher is different, and we often get submissions that are great but not right for us. Research us and other publishers before submitting. You can do this by looking on ours and other publishers’ websites, browsing online at books and seeing who published them and – when this is all over – heading into bookshops to look at other children’s books that are already out there.
  • Think outside the box. As well as researching us as publishers, do some market research on your book, too. Think about whether a book like yours already exists and whether there would be room in the market for another one. What is your unique selling point? We love books that feel different and unusual, with a real story to their creation. If you think that’s you – send it over.
  • Is your artwork right for us? If you are providing text and illustration, make sure your illustration is at the high standard we expect from our illustrators. A lot of people submit thinking they NEED to provide artwork alongside their text. You don’t need to do this, as if we think the book is good, we will find the right illustrator ourselves. If you’re not someone who has studied illustration, or has a background in illustration, it’s unlikely we will go for your artwork, but we might still be open to your text.
  • Send in samples of the book, not just your artwork. Of course, if you think your art is good enough, we’d love to see it. A lot of our books are written and illustrated by the same person, so we know a lot of great illustrators are great storytellers too. Just please try to send in one or two spreads showing how you envision the book working, rather than an isolated drawing. We’re also happy to see a link to your portfolio if it backs up a submission.
  • Avoid rhyming if you can … but there are exceptions. We tend not to go for rhyming books unless the rhyme is a huge part of the story/appeal. A lot of the time we get really interesting and fun stories into the inbox, but because the rhyme feels forced, we disregard them. If you can tell your story without rhyme, do it. If it feels like it needs to rhyme, make sure it’s to a high standard.
  • Make every word count. Picture books are a collaboration of brilliant text with excellent illustration, and both do different things in a book. Try to make sure the words you’re using are really intentional and won’t just be repeated again in the illustration. We get a lot of submissions where the basic story is great, but it’s way too wordy and over-explained. Try to cut back text if you think this is you and think about what’s important to explain. In the words of the brilliant illustrator and author Judith Kerr:

“Children shouldn’t be made to read anything unnecessary. I would never put anything in the text that was in the pictures. If you say, ‘He was wearing red trousers,’ and you see a boy wearing red trousers, it’s a waste of their energy. I try to use as few words as possible, as well as possible.”

And we completely agree.

  • Be open and willing to make changes. Publishing your book with us is a collaborative process. Sometimes we will find a text we like that needs work before we can take it to our acquisitions meeting. Or if we do take it to acquisitions, we may ask you to develop it more based on feedback from that before acquiring it. Then, if we acquire the book, it’s likely we will edit it/ask you to change parts of it, to get it to be the best it can be. Therefore, we expect our artists/authors to be open to change, to listen to our feedback and to be willing to work hard to make the perfect book.
  • Keep trying and be patient. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back from us, or if we reject your submission. We are a small team, with a small list, and we can’t take on every book we like or reply to every submission we get. If you don’t hear from us within 6 months, it’s likely we’ve passed on your book and haven’t been able to get back to you. If we do reply with bad news, that doesn’t mean you should give up hope. Keep trying, researching, reading and thinking – one idea might not work, but there’s plenty more where that came from and our emails are always open.

If you’d like to submit a children’s book proposal to us here at Flying Eye please find the details here.

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The Wild Fun Book!

Are you missing the outdoors? Bursting to go outside? Then come join the creator of the book Wild, Emily Hughes and the little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth.

Dive into the deepest depths of the wilderness to create your very own Wild Fun Book with the girl who has been taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears, and play by foxes. These drawing and colouring activity sheets will help you unleash your unashamedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly wild side!

These drawing sheets look like they’re missing some wildlife – let’s get imaginative and quirky to fill in what your wilderness would look like! Have you come across any strange animals in your garden/outdoors? What did they look like? And how did they talk, eat, and play?

Learn how to draw some of Emily Hughes cutest wild animals with her step by step activity sheets! Work your way up from a crow and then you’ll be going pro with the fox in no time✨

If you’ve enjoyed looking through these activity sheets, the printable download is available here!

Activity sheets brought to you from the book Wild by Emily Hughes is available to order from our website here

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.

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Free Activities Galore: From Space to the South Pole

Write some secret messages via Morse Code, put together the ideal team of explorers for your expedition to the South Pole, and discover some new and beautiful exotic birds, all from our new set of free worksheets!

Perfect for either hours of fun, a bit of distraction or the focus of a homeschool lesson, we’ve collected together some amazing activities from our books for your little learners. However of course all of our activity and colouring in sheets are suitable for all ages, getting stuck in is highly encouraged ✨

Shackleton’s Journey Activity Book

by William Grill

Take a journey across the Antarctic with the infamous explorer Ernest Shackleton, with these activity sheets from William Grill – all based on the award-winning book Shackleton’s Journey. Design your own epic adventure and recruit volunteers, whilst testing your knowledge of the South Pole as you vanquish sea monsters!

These worksheets come direct from the pages of Shackleton’s Journey Activity Book, a companion title to Shackleton’s Journey

Download the above activity sheets here.

Professor Astro Cat’s Intergalactic Activity Book

by Ben Newman & Zelda Turner

Looking at the stars, do you dream of new worlds beyond our own? Would you like to explore distant planets, fly a rocket or try some chocolate quantum physics? Good news, Professor Astro Cat is here to help!

Packed with amazing experiments, thrilling facts and create-your-own adventures, this Intergalactic Activity Book offers a universe of excitement, and is bursting with ideas for a future at the frontiers of space!

Download the above activity sheets via the link here.

Beautiful Birds Colouring In Sheets

by Emmanuelle Walker & Jean Roussen

Lose yourself in a riot of colouring in as you bring these exotic birds to life! Immerse yourself with Emmanuelle Walker’s wonderfully detailed bird illustrations. From Warblers to Blue-tits and Kakapos to Owls, colour in an alphabet of birds in their feathery fancies – perfect for all ages.

These colouring in sheets are an ideal quiet activity for a calm evening or afternoon. And if you enjoy these you can always grab a copy of either the full colouring book, or the original beautiful book its based on, from our site.

Download your own Beautiful Birds Colouring In sheets here.