ILLUSTRATION KNOW-HOW Funding a Change to your Illustration Practice


Martha Lightfoot offers some tips for illustrators considering applying for Arts Council grants. 

Have you thought about applying to the Arts Council England’s Developing Your Creative Practice Grant? (More information in the Special Feature here.)

If so, try asking yourself the following questions. They helped me to make a successful application two years ago, following an unsuccessful attempt previously!

  1. What do I really want to be doing (that I’m not doing now)? This funding is all about making a step change. Maybe you want to move from illustrating chapter books to picture books; from making digital artwork to painting on canvas; or from illustrating children’s books to writing them.
  2. Why can’t I do this anyway? What specifically do you need - time, money, knowledge, skills, experience…?
  3. Why do I want to do it now? Can you show that this is a good time for a step change?
  4. How much time do I need? How much would it cost? You’ll need to include paying yourself properly for your time.
  5. Who or what will help me make this change? Mentors, tutors, coaches, courses, travel, networking, collaborating, creating new work …
  6. Exactly where do I want to be at the end of it? How will my practice have changed? They want you to be ambitious (but realistic!)
  7. How will I measure whether I’ve got there? What will your milestones be?
  8. Can I summarise my activity in one line? This really helped me to clarify what it was that I wanted to do.

Keep asking how you can challenge yourself – they’ll ask about your creative risks! What would be the right mix of scary and exciting to take you out of your comfort zone?

The DYCP grant runs four times a year, though September applications are now closed, Round 12 will be announced in the near future. Good luck if you apply – let us know how you get on! 



Martha Lightfoot has been illustrating picture books since 2005 and is currently working on bringing her own stories to life. (photo: MLbwphoto)
Instagram: @martha__lightfoot
Twitter: @Flightiofoot


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