Don't miss Vern and Lettuce, episode 2, in this Saturday's Guardian!! (Look in the Family section!)
Other notes: the Association of Illustrators is taking bookings for its one-day conference, Looking at Children’s Books: All you need to know about the children’s book industry. The lineup includes John Birmingham and Michael Foreman and a bunch of people in the industry who really know what they're talking about. I went to this event a couple years ago. I think the conferences by the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators are slightly better, because they're much more interactive and you get much better chances to talk with the speakers and other attendees. The AOI event had some stellar speakers but we sat in a darkened lecture hall facing forward for six hours, so it felt more formal and passive. But I'd definitely recommend booking your place for it if you're in London as it's fairly cheap as these things go and you'll get some great information. And the AOI are an excellent organisation, the closest thing we have to a union as illustrators and I'm very glad to support them with my dues.
On a related topic, I just visited the website of one of the speakers at the AOI's tremendously useful Business Start-up Classes. Her name's Alison Branagan and she has a new book out, Making Sense of Business and an upcoming book called The Illustrator's Guide to Success, cowritten with Simon Stern and Fig Taylor, all three of whom have given me excellent advice on business issues. If you're trying to make a go at this profession in the UK, you'll inevitably come across these three names in your research. (Fig Taylor is one of the speakers at the AOI conference and has probably seen more portfolios than anyone in Britain.)