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Top tips for your Big Issue Christmas Kids Cover Competition entry from Sarah McIntyre

Acclaimed children’s writer and illustrator Sarah McIntyre shares tips on how to create “bold and exciting” designs for The Big Issue’s Christmas Cover Competition.

It’s not too late for you to enter The Big Issue’s Christmas Kids Cover Competition 2021, in association with WHSmith, as the deadline has been extended to November 29 for budding Boticellis across the country to get their masterpieces in.

We’ve tasked Britain’s best artists (that’s children up to the age of 13) to design an eye-catching, festive feelgood cover for one of our Christmas editions.

Kids author Sarah McIntyre, whose books include Grumpycorn and Dinosaur Firefighters, is one of our judges. She knows a thing or two about creating eye-catching designs, so we asked her to share her top tips…

The Big Issue: What is the secret of making an eye-catching cover?

Sarah McIntyre: Bold colours and strong shapes really help! Light pencil and soft washy paints won’t stand out as much as solid ink and vivid hues. Stand across the room from your picture and see if the image seems to jump out at you.

What materials do you need?

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Use whatever you think can make a picture that’s bold and exciting! Paint, ink, cut-paper collage, oil pastels – you have lots of options. You might experiment with working on a background paper colour that isn’t necessarily white. Lighter cut-out shapes on darker paper might look great!

The theme is Christmas Wish – what’s the best way to plan what you want to draw?

It’s brainstorming time! Write a list of all the things you wish for at Christmas, both big wishes and small wishes. Then decide which one you think might make the most interesting picture to draw!

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How important is it to think about the reader (or vendor) that you’re creating it for?

Very! Your image might be just the thing to grab people’s attention, call them across the street and make them want to buy The Big Issue. It’s an exciting challenge, and you could feel proud of making a real difference to their sales.

Finally, what is your Christmas wish?

I wish friends and families would find real joy in drawing together – not only this cover, but also lots more drawings. There’s something wonderful about drawing with people you love: stories, comics, funny pictures, things you worry about, your favourite things… even a portrait of your nan wearing reindeer antlers. This year’s been rather hard, we all need something to cheer us up!

How to enter

Anyone aged 13 or under can enter.

Post your entries to: Christmas Kids Cover Competition, The Big Issue, 43 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 1HW or email high-resolution pictures to: editorial@bigissue.com – make sure you include a name, age, address and telephone or email contact on all entries! Closing date is Monday November 29.

We can’t return artwork but will print as many pictures as we can squeeze onto the page. All entries will also feature in a spectacular online gallery!

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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