Category Archives: Illustration

illustration, illustrators

Angie Stevens ‘Doodle Mum’


My mum told me that she had seen a section in The Sun Newspaper about a mother who makes daily illustrations of her children. Knowing that I would be interested in this, she kept the paper for me to look at, and it seems that my mum knows me better than I thought as I was really excited about the Doodle Mum’s work.

Image scanned from The Sun Newspaper

The first thing I tend to do when I find myself excited by some found work is research, or as my fellow tutorPauline Amphlett would say ‘spy’, which is amusing as I do actually feel like I am a spy when researching.

As well as creating her own blog, here at WordPress, Doodle Mum has made it to the news on the BBC. In an earlier post of mine, I have mentioned how interesting I find illustrating my own son’s funny characteristics and so it invigorating for me to see that it is a worthwhile subject.

Overall, I wish to congratulate Angie Stevens on her work as a mother and creative of her beautiful, inventive illustrations.


Alf Prøysen


Mrs Pepperpot to the Rescue

Image from

Title: Mrs Pepperpot to the Rescue and Other Stories Author: Alf Prøysen, Marianne Helweg Illustrator: Björn Berg Year: 1979 Publisher: Puffin Books (Penguin Books Ltd.) Binding: Paperback Condition: Good Jacket Condition: N/A
Description: “Mrs Pepperpot woke one morning to find herself no bigger than her kitchen pepperpot. After that, she never knew when it would happen again. All of a sudden she would shrink, and some time later – snap! – she was her right size again. This was often a nuisance for her, but it also meant she had some marvellous adventures, as you will see from these stories.”

Illustrated throughout with amusing b&w line drawings.

Covers negligibly creased. Light scuffing along extremities. Spine creased and lightly worn along edges. Pages tanned and sporadically foxed, but are otherwise unmarked and tightly bound. First few pages lightly creased from handling.

Measures 19.5 cm × 13 cm (7.8″ × 5.2″). Small 8vo. 122 pp.

This book was a favourite of mine when I was a child. My mum gave it to me, a book that she had kept from when she was younger. simultaneously, to that of Matilda, I was mostly fascinated with the illustration although I did thoroughly enjoy the story itself. As I write this post, I am starting to see a style pattern form within my own style interests. Alf Prøysen’s illustrations in this book share a similar sketchy style to posts ive made describing Quentin Blake and Tony Ross.  The book I have of ‘Mrs Pepperpot to the Rescue’ has had a tough’s been torn and between my mum and I it has endured lots of scribble and writing inside the covers.

Poor Book

The pages are not as worn as the cover apart from the discolouration. I find the shaded illustration on the left very interesting as it shows me here that illustrations do not always have to show features. On the right one of my favourite illustrations from the book. The tiny Mrs Pepperpot peeking into the tea-cup I think is fun and creative imagination and I also like the comprehensive layout.

Mary Doodles


My good friend and neighbour Rob, recommended an artist to look at on YouTube, Mary Doodles. After taking a look, I was amazed at her work, and love watching her videos of her work taking shape!! Below is one of my favourites.

I love the sepia colour combined with the ink and also the way she has used a cup for the process.

Tony Ross/ Horrid Henry


As a personal project I have been taking note of some of the antics my son delivers throughout his life, his childhood. I feel fascinated by his many ways, his imagination and the way he thinks not only from a child’s perspective but also from his very own unique personality, he never fails to amaze me. For some time now I have jotted down and sketched things that I have found amusing from my son and in time i hope to bring these notions to life, particularly within books. While brainstorming my idea’s I realised there was some kind of connection with this general idea to that of Horrid Henry, and so my next step is to take a closer look at Henry and his creators.

Illustrator:  Tony Ross

Tony Ross is one of the most popular and  successful of all children’s illustrators. Born in London in 1938, he never  thought he’d be an artist, but he says he ‘fell in to it’ when his dreams of  being a cowboy fell through after John Wayne failed to answer his letter of  application!  Tony trained at the  Liverpool School of Art, and worked as a graphic designer, as the Art Director  of an advertising agency, and as Senior Lecturer in Art at Manchester  Polytechnic. During this time he  drew cartoons for magazines such as Punch.

His first book was published in 1976. Tony  has illustrated more than 800 books, and as well as drawing all of the  fantastic pictures for the Horrid Henry story books, he has illustrated books  for many other authors, including Roald Dahl, Michael Palin and Paula Danziger.  He also finds time to write and illustrate his own books.!

Author:  Francesca Simon

Francesca Simon was born in St Louis,  Missouri, grew up in California, and attended both Yale and Oxford  Universities, where she specialised in Medieval Studies. How this prepared her  to write children’s books she cannot imagine, but it did give her a thorough  grounding in alliteration.

She then threw away a lucrative career as a  medievalist and worked as a freelance journalist, writing for the Sunday Times,  Guardian, Mail on Sunday, Telegraph, and Vogue (US). After her son Joshua was  born in 1989, she started writing children’s books full time. One of the UK’s  bestselling children’s writers, Francesca has published over 50 books,  including the immensely popular Horrid Henry series, which has now sold over  fourteen million copies.

Francesca won the Children’s Book of the  Year Award at the British Book Awards in 2008 for HORRID HENRY AND THE  ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. The Horrid Henry books are published in 24 countries and  have been made into an animated CiTV series. She lives in London with her  husband, son, and Tibetan spaniel, Shanti.

I was browsing through Rhyl’s B&M’s store last week when I came across a Horrid Henry book for just £1.

 On this cover I love the contrasting media combining water-colour with digital. The water-colour here reminds me of work bu Quentin Blake as does the following illustration from inside this book.

 In fact, in this illustration, if I didn’t already know that it was by Tony Ross I’m sure I would mistake it for work by Quentin Blake. The features of the characters have simularites but still very unique to the illustrators.

Quentin Blake


While studying illustrators for blogging, I came across Quentin Blake. I decided to blog Quentin as not only am I fascinated by his beautiful illustrations, but the stories hold memories from my childhood books.

Quentin Blake was born in the suburbs of London in 1932 and has drawn ever since he can remember. He went to Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School before studying English at Downing College, Cambridge. After National Service he did a postgraduate teaching diploma at the University of London, followed by life-classes at Chelsea Art School.
He has always made his living as an illustrator, as well as teaching for over twenty years at the Royal College of Art, where he was head of the Illustration department from 1978 to 1986. His first drawings were published in Punch while he was 16 and still at school. He continued to draw for Punch, The Spectator and other magazines over many years, while at the same time entering the world of children’s books with A Drink of Water by John Yeoman in 1960.
He is known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, John Yeoman and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic children’s books, and created much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.
Since the 1990s Quentin Blake has had an additional career as exhibition curator, curating shows in, among other places, the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris.  In the last few years he has begun to make larger-scale work for hospitals and healthcare settings in the UK and France where his work can be seen in wards and public spaces. Most recently he has completed a scheme for the whole of a new maternity hospital in Angers.
His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children’s books. In 2004 Quentin Blake was awarded the ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French Government for services to literature and in 2007 he was made Officier in the same order.  In 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children’s Laureate, a post designed to raise the profile of children’s literature. His book Laureate’s Progress (2002) recorded many of his activities and the illustrations he produced during his two-year tenure. Quentin Blake was created CBE in 2005, is an RDI and has numerous honorary degrees from universities throughout the UK.

‘Blake is beyond brilliant. He’s anarchic, moral, infinitely subversive, sometimes vicious, socially acute, sparse when he has to be, exuberantly lavish in the detail when he feels like it. He can tell wonderful stories without a single word, but his partnership with Roald Dahl was made in heaven. Or somewhere. The diabolic ingenuity of Dahl came into its own only when he wrote for children. In conjunction with Blake, there was a kind of alchemy. I’ve never met a child who didn’t love Quentin Blake.’  (Melanie McDonagh, Daily Telegraph)

So Quentin Blake illustrated books for Roald Dahl, books such as….

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I’ve chosen to show my childhood favourites here, especially Matilda as I remember spending a lot of time drawing that very illustration so many times. In fact as mothers like to collect theyre childs drawings im sure my mum still has mine of Matilda!! I was intrigued by the hair for some reason, of Matilda, and I have to laugh now looking back as the hair is simply basic lines but also the pile of books and boxes I found myself happy drawing too.

This book I have managed to sneak out of my son’s bedroom so we can take a look inside.

I think these two illustrations are the most interesting. Using no colour here I think adds character to the illustrations as well as the story and I also love the unusual imagination and how Quentin Blake has cleverly drawn basic images yet they look so detailed and instead of the use of colour he has painted areas in different shades.

While looking for more information about Blake, I realised that he was sat there, on my own book shelf the whole time on a book and a magazine I had bought off Ebay, ‘Meet the Authors &Illustrators’ by Stephanie Nettell and a ‘Artists & Illustrators’ Magazine the special 300th edition.

Stephanie Nettell quotes “Most picture book artists, in their hearts, prefer to illustrate their own stories. Rightly or Wrongly, the world sees it as a greater achievement; the artist need not worry about how to interpret someone else’s ideas; and it doubles the money. But Quentin Blake actually likes illustrating other people’s stories.” She also describes that “He works with the best because he too is the best.” From these quotes I understand that his work is very valuable and reputable.

Looking at the Artists & Illustrators magazine, they have dedicated their 300th issue to Quentin Blake. Steve Pill, the Editor of the magazine explains in the introduction; “To celebrate our anniversary, we are taking a look back at the last 25 years in the wonderful world of art” aswell as ‘Talking Techniques he also types “And finally, of course, we have the colourful cover, created especially for our 300th issue by the legendary illustrator, Quentin Blake. It is a privilege to have a origional of his on the front of the magazine, but it has also been fascinating getting an insight into how he approaches a project.”. On page 7 of the magazine, a section describes that a signed proof of the cover illustration would be held for auction with the money going to the ‘house of illustration’, and then further in, on pages 20-23 there is more information about Blake and the house of illustration.

“Don’t worry about being a great artist … just draw until you find your style”

Says illustrator Quentin Blake at The Sun, and he also quotes “Drawing is important because it is a way of expressing yourself. I think a lot  of the world’s problems are to do with people not being able to express  themselves properly. You shouldn’t worry about doing it right — just draw  until you find your style. I taught myself by just doing it all the time.”

According to The Daily Record there will be a ‘As Large As Life’ exhibition at Paisley Museum from April 27 to June 24. on Apr 29 2012, Maggie Barry  discusses children’s favourite illustrator Quentin Blake on classic partnership with writer Roald Dahl; Quentin Blake has a marvellous tale – on Roald Dahl Day, he got impressionist Alistair McGowan to read an excerpt from the best-selling author’s The Twits at the National Theatre.

“Work of Willy Wonka artist brings smiles to Sick Kids” The Evenning Times describes how some of Blake’s work, who created some of the most famous characters in children’s fiction, from Willy Wonka to the BFG – have gone on display in the hospital at Yorkhill, through a link-up with Renfrewshire Arts and Museums. “THE collection was created for patients across Europe and now youngsters at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children are getting a first glimpse of images by top children’s illustrator Quentin Blake.” Click the following link to see the full article

Lisa Fox- Illustrator


Lisa Fox grew up in a small rural village on the border between England and Wales. She had an idyllic childhood with ponies, dogs and plenty of wide open spaces to explore and fuel the imagination, always writing and illustrating her own stories from a young age. She spent time travelling around Canada and th USA and studied at Brighton Polytechnic and Glyndwr University (2003).

Lisa received her first book commission during her first year at Glyndwr and has been illustration books ever since.She has completed two books so far this year and has some bigger projects coming up in the very near future.

She studied for a BA Hons, Illustration for Children’s Publishing at Glyndwr University and has worked as Director at Storymakers (Publishing) Limited.

This the is the ‘Old Rabbit’. I found this image on Flickr and so far it is my favourite illustration from Lisa Fox. Although all of her illustrations are equally as beautiful I prefer the colourless style. Lisa is a very talented illustrator and I am keen to follow her work.

Up to date, Lisa has created a variety of children’s books, all beautifully illustrated, both in English and Welsh. These books were found on her website and her work can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Sara Fanelli

Sara Fanelli was born in 1969 in Florence, where she studied for a Diploma di Maturita at the Liceo Classico Michelangelo before coming to England, where she studied at the City and Guilds of London Art School, Camberwell School of Art, and the Royal College of Art, London.

As an artist

Sara Fanelli is one of the world’s most distinctive and idiosyncratic picture book creators.

Her acclaimed title Dear Diary received an Honourable Mention from the 2001 Bologna Ragazzi Award Jury. Sara’s interpretation of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio won the best overall prize in the V&A Illustration Awards and the First Prize in the Book Cover and Jacket Illustration Prize category in 2004. Pinocchio also won the British Book Design and Production Award in the children’s category. Sara was also awarded an RDI Honorary Fellowship in 2006, the very first woman illustrator to have ever received the honour.

Sara Fanelli’s originality has brought a breath of fresh air to the world of British picture books. With an off-beat sense of humour and an inventive approach to everything from page design and typography to choice of materials, she has the kind of vision you might associate with illustrators such as the Czech Kveta Pacovska or Wolf Erlbruch in Germany, or the American Lane Smith (of Stinky Cheese Man fame)

I have always found Sara Fanelli very inspiring, and after seeing her work for the first time, many years ago, I felt new doors opening within my own ideas and concepts of art and illustration. I decided at that point that my work did not have to be ‘perfect’ or what people imagine art should be like, but that it should just be ‘my’ work and how I would like it to be. I also love the way she scans anything and everything into her work creating her very own unique style.