Meet Our Sellers

By June Ramli

Dear readers, an audio version of this article is available below.

Sydney, August 28: It has been some months since we started our marketplace and the good news is that there has been some progress.
We have set up a website and have even three sellers currently trading with us including yours truly.
So, in this article, we would like to introduce our sellers to our readers, and in fact, we aim to do little write-ups like this for every one of our sellers that trade with us in due course.
We will get the ball rolling with Kuala Lumpur based Fazleena Aziz, the other news editor for this website.
Fazleena had recently published her own picture book titled ‘Aidan takes on the Pandemic.’

This is her story:

1) What inspired you to write this book?

I have always wanted to write a book for children. After my son was born, I researched on books that would be good for babies. I was amazed how my son reacted to the book at such an early stage, so I wanted to write a book for him.

2) How long did it take you to write it?

It took about a year because I had several ideas and drafts. It is also not easy as you have to tone down the language and think visually. I used a lot of the conversations I had with my son, keeping that in my written notes. The pandemic created a new environment for children and I wanted them to have a better understanding of the whole scenario.

3) What are some of the processes that an author should take if they want to write a picture book?

Write all of your ideas down. You may have a bad one or a really good one but it is important to have ideas flowing. A writer needs tenacity because you can get easily distracted and lose interest. You have to keep at it. You have to plan and visualise the outcome. Tapping your creative juice can be hard but you cannot give up. You must think about your audience and anticipate how they may react.

4) Do you plan to write another book?

I want to make my book into a series. I have another two planned but it will depend on the response I get for my book. I want to base it on my son growing into this world but also something all other children can relate to.

5) Do authors need to know how to draw before they can write a picture book?

I think having some sketching done will do the writer good. There are many illustrators who can help visualise your ideas but some may need you to be able to relay to him/her how you want it to be. I am really bad at drawing but I was able to write the details of the picture, which is always helpful.

The very elusive author and illustrator Eliass Al. Supplied.

Our next seller is Eliass Al is a web developer and graphic designer and a picture book author based in Morocco. To date, he has authored and illustrated more than 10 picture books and sells them on Kindle Amazon. Besides writing his own books, he also helps other picture book authors illustrate their ideas in a fine body of work.

This is his story:

1) What made you want to write children’s books?

Ever since I was a child, I used to read children’s books all the time, I always loved the work authors put into their books and it inspired me to learn how to draw and create my own art. And when I grew up, I decided to implement what I learnt into making my own children’s book and helping other authors to illustrate theirs and it’s going pretty well so far.

2) How long do you take to complete one book?

To complete one book, it usually takes four to five days.

3) What are some of the processes that an author should take if they want to write a picture book?

Story is everything! To have a successful children’s book, the author needs a story that is short, captivating and sweet that can touch a kid’s heart and make him learn something new and on top of that, it needs to include some colourful hand drawn illustrations that will make the kid want to read your entire story.

4) How many picture books have you written to date?

I’ve written almost 10 books now, but I illustrated dozens of them for authors.

5) Do authors need to know how to draw before they can write a picture book?

Yes! Drawing is everything when it comes to a picture book, it can either make the book really successful or fail horribly. If the author can’t draw, then he can simply hire someone who can, and that’s when we- the illustrators come in, we help make their stories come to life.

6) Where do you get the inspiration to write all those books?

I used to watch a lot of cartoons so that plays a big part in my inspiration, I also learn and get inspired from other illustrators and artists and over the years I developed my own style.

7) Other than making children’s books, what else can you do?

Besides children’s books, I’m also an inspiring web developer and a graphic designer in general. So, I pretty much design everything and anything from websites, phone applications, packaging, logos, flyers. And I still want to learn more and I’m always striving to be a better designer.

Next, I’d like to introduce you to Bazilah Ainstone. Bazilah is a Malaysian fashion designer based in Munich, Germany. In her spare time, this doting mum of two loves to cook and run after her kids.

Designer Bazilah Ainstone. Supplied.

This is her story:

1) Tell us about yourself?

I graduated from University of Teknologi Mara with a Diploma of Art & Design, majoring in Fashion Design in 2009. I went to work straight after at a local tailoring boutique in Kuala Lumpur as a seamstress for six months and was made an assistant pattern maker for two years. In between my full-time job, I was freelancing as a graphic designer such as prints for textile, T-shirts, Business cards, logo and bridal wear.
I basically work on whatever opportunity thrown at me just so I can comfortably pay bills on time and have a little extra for family and to travel.
In 2012, I started to become a full time freelancer and worked on almost everything that was related to designing, tailoring and started to find my way into film production such as costume making and styling.

2) How long have you been designing?

Since 2010, on and off for almost 10 years.

3) Some of your accomplishments, as in shows you have worked for in the past?

I was the costume maker for the Malaysian film Vikingdom (directed by KRU, a Malaysian legendary boy-band). I assisted in costume design and styling for Malaysia’s WEF performance in Davos, Switzerland in 2014 and as a costume maker and seamstress for children’s show High 5 in 2015.

4) What sort of designs do you have?

My major is in fashion designs, I illustrate fashion figures digitally or free hand drawings and my pattern design is mostly leaning towards modern abstract.

5) Are you open for commissions?

Only for small and short projects, as I’m still working on managing my time with all the chores I have as a full-time mum.

6) What are some of your price ranges, if you are open for commission?

It depends on the work, of how much research I have to do, how much idea I need to develop, how or in what platform the designs will be used.

7) What inspires you?

Nature, the colours and their individual textures and personality.

8) What was some of the inspiration behind this collection?

I was looking at the art of tenun (Malaysian art of weaving.)

Finally, some shameless plug for me, the writer of this article – Sydney based June Ramli. I have been an on and off designer for 12 years now although I have never made an actual living from it, it was always the journalism work that paid my bills.

One of this writer’s swimsuit designers. Supplied.

But I’ve created a few notable projects such as infusing Batik with lingerie under the brand name known as ‘June Saira Lingerie’, two picture books, ‘Yaya, Ezzy and Tante June’s trip to the Shops,’ and ‘My Secret Alien Friend‘ and my latest offering is my debut novel titled ‘Daily Straits.’

I have also created a range of merchandise based on my picture books characters, ‘Yaya and Ezzy,’ under this label Yayaezzy. I’ve got other products that I plan to release as the year progresses and will reveal them in due course.

One of this writer’s designs under her bespoke brand Yayaezzy. Supplied.

Well, that is it, most of us are here creative solopreneurs and as such we hope that you can really support us in any way that you can.

Thank you.

Listen to the article here.

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