Making of “Too Many Carrots”

One of my favourite parts of illustrating “Too many Carrots” was the cover. I did it last and it involved so many carrots that I needed 3 pieces of paper! I tried to take some photos as I went…


All my work starts with HB pencil.


I use a mixture of watercolour and indian ink and build up in layers.














Once scanned it’s time for editing in photoshop and add in extra leafy details.


Working progress of cover on my screen.


Final product! (Image taken from @leah_Cook instagram)


Making of “Too Many Carrots”

Quite often I get asked about my process of painting, I thought it would be good to share some work in progress photographs I took whilst painting final artwork for “Too Many Carrots”. This first one was a lot of fun to draw, it shows Rabbit’s last stop in the story in which he overfills Beaver’s house with too many carrots…


Here’s the final version that got used in the book.19-20-AW

Here’s some other process pictures of another page in “Too Many Carrots.”


Here’s the final version that got used in the book.


So there has been quite the break since my previous post, apologies about that, quite a lot has happened since. My second picture book “Too Many Carrots” was published by Capstone US in February and was Barnes and Noble’s “Picture Book of the Month“! I got to do some fantastic book events in London and in my home town in Middlesbrough.

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I moved studios to an old converted London Warehouse. I got a new studio buddy, the very talented Jemima Hetherington (view her work here).

The lovely people at Curious Fox (Capstone) came to film me in my new studio too- if you’d like to hear me waffling on you can see the video here.

Last but not least, I also got married!   Danby-Castle-Wedding-Katy-Ross-51

[Photo credit Laura Babb Photography]

More updates coming soon!


First Bear and Duck Event!

So it’s been a long time since I wrote on here (for more recent updates it’s worth checking my Facebook page) however I felt yesterday’s event deserved a proper blog post!

The lovely staff at Carnegie Library Herne Hill, invited me to do a book reading in their children’s room followed by some Bear and Duck themed arts and crafts.


Here’s me doing some last minute preparations (calm before the storm).


I brought some early paintings in for the children to see how Bear and Duck came about then did my first official book read.

Safe to say one of the scarier things I’ve ever done!


(We had some keen audience members though which was great!)


Then on to the arts and crafts!






The bear ears were very popular!




But the duck feet seemed to encouraged some great quaking noises!









The best bit was at the end of the morning when we were packing up and we heard Bear and Duck being read all over again.


Big thanks to Carnegie Library for having me. An even bigger thank you to my amazing friend Ellen for helping me to cut out all those templates and for the brilliant photography!

If you’d like to buy your own copy of Bear and Duck you can do here.



Animal Teachers

51OItgSoBfL._SX342_Late last year my lovely Agent Kirsten, from Bright, contacted me to say Blue Apple had a brief for me. It was to Illustrate a new book by Janet Halfmann called Animal Teachers. So exciting!

The book was all about how different animals teach they’re young to do things, from swimming to cracking nuts. To illustrate the interaction between teacher and child was an interesting part of the brief, Elliott from Blue Apple was also eager to show the world each animal inhabited. A lot of research was spent looking at the types of places each animal was from, the types of flowers and trees they would sit in and the colour palette for each location.

My favourite thing to draw is animals, their textures and mannerisms are constant source of inspiration for me. Also because the book involved some animals I was unable to observe in real life it justified several hours research on youtube watching gems like this:

I gathered a lot of visual reference at the beginning of a brief. It was good for me to understand how the different animals moved, how they stood, how their hair fell, before I started sketching.



I’d do quick pencil sketches and more finished versions in ink to get an idea of how I’d demonstrate all this.

Early experimenting…


Once I was more familiar with the different animals I did rough pencil sketches of the animals and from that figured out the most interesting composition for the activity they were doing then built their environment around them.

Here’s some early sketches of an otter pup splashing around for the “Swimming Lessons” spread.



I ended up going with the top option so I could make more of Mama Otters shape in the final composition, I love the long smooth lines of otters. see final spread below.


Below I have done a quick step by step of the process I went through for most of the  spreads in the book. People are sometimes surprised when I say I use photoshop for my work, assuming all of the drawing is drawn together in a big scene. My normal method (because I like to draw and paint on a larger scale) is to draw the different elements on separate bits of paper, I use a mixture of watercolour, ink and white acrylic paint. Then I scan the drawings and arrange and overlay them all together in photoshop. Hopefully the sequence below explains this better.

A rough pencil sketch of layout for “Food Lessons” spread.


Very rough idea of colour palette blocking areas out in photoshop.Image

Here I’ve started dropping in early painted up versions of the elements. After seeing it on screen, Mama Hen is redrawn with more red and white to give better contrast and chicks are repainted brighter with more fuzz!




Chicks and Mama have been redrawn and now have a nice sandy floor to stand on.Image


We have sky! Some green as I was worried it was looking too much like a desert and an extra coloured up chick -we lost a chick from the initial sketch, sounds a bit brutal now I’m typing it!



Some countryside flowers to help give a sense of place and because I like to do this.




And here’s the final spread after the designer has dropped in the text.




If you’d like to buy a copy of Animal Teachers you can pre-order a copy here.

Thanks for reading



Always been a big fan of maps, my boyfriend and I have a wide assortment around the flat.

Here are two different styles I’m trying out for Paris and London.



So it’s been a very long time since I last updated the blog. I have moved into the modern world and started a facebook page which has regular updates you can check it out here.

I’ve been busy since my last post with my lovely agents at Bright, you can see some of my art licensing commissions below

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Large card range for Clare Maddicott

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Christmas range for Milkwood Publishing


A ploughman’s for dinner!