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Graduate stories – publishing a picture book

29 October 2015

Deborah Malcolm recently returned to Abertay to talk about her experiences publishing Meh, her wordless picture book about depression.

Deborah created the first version of the book while studying BA (Hons) Computer Arts at Abertay, securing a publishing deal with ThunderStone Books after graduating.

We caught up with Deborah recently to find out more – and to ask her advice for current students.

How much fun was it coming back to Abertay?

“It was wonderful to come back to Abertay! Some of my former lecturers came to say hello and ask how life was as a graduate.

“You would think returning to your former university would fill you with dread and memories of stressful times, but I was really excited to see and talk to my lecturers again. They played a large part in shaping who I am today, after all!”

Deborah Malcolm 1

What did you discuss during the talk to students?

“My presentation was a journey from idea to the finished product. I discussed a few different concepts I had developed that helped me create the final version of Meh, along with examples of style exploration and what inspired and influenced my work.

“I then spoke of the ‘second chapter’ of Meh, where I spoke of my experience working with a publisher for the first time, and the various press releases and events that happened prior to and after Meh was officially launched for sale to the public.”

Neil Gaiman inspired you to create Meh. Do you hope to inspire students to fulfil their ambitions?

“I'd feel very honoured if I inspired someone to fulfil their ambition! I hope that from sharing my experiences as an Abertay student they realise they have an opportunity to create something amazing during their time here, and that can lead to greater things.”

Deborah Malcolm 2

What are your plans for the future?

“ThunderStone Books have invited me back to create more picture books with them, and I would be very happy to work with them again. Perhaps something will develop in the new year, but right now my main focus is finding full-time work as an illustrator.

“I miss working creatively as a team, and I am really keen to pursue my career as an artist.”

And do you have a message for students preparing to graduate?

“Try to remember that you're not forgotten once you graduate from Abertay. They haven't shut the door on you. Certainly in my experience, I feel like if I ever need advice or support, they are still there to assist you however they can.”

For more information about Deborah’s degree, please visit the BA (Hons) Computer Arts page.

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