Monthly Archives: February 2018

“A Loud Winter’s Nap”

As I sit here writing this post I swig my tea quickly and chomp on some sugary biscuits to stay focused. My baby girl was 7 months old yesterday and after sleeping for a blissful 12 hour straight each night for the last week or so… she relapsed.

At 5am this morning I was resting my forehead on the edge of her crib begging her to sleep, she’d been awake since 11pm. Apparently the early hours are perfect timing for practicing crawling in our cot as well as sampling some new sounds we’ve learnt that can only be likened to a dinosaur reciting the alphabet in latin. Suffice to stay my daughter’s new nickname is Mabeasauros (her actual name is Mabel) and my sleepy self has new found empathy for the main character in my new picture book, “A Loud Winter’s Nap.”

Having said all this, it’s pretty clear my new story isn’t really about being sleepy.  True, Tortoises hibernate and so my main man, Tortoise should be trying to get to sleep but the premise of my book is more about his reluctance to try new things. I think the older we get the worse we get for assuming we won’t like something and so never partake or engage in that particular thing. I think it’s an important trait to learn to explore new things, open our minds to the less obvious, the less safe the more unknown.  For children it can be as small as a new vegetable they’ve yet to try or new game they haven’t played. There’s a tendency to assume, “I won’t like it” and so, “I don’t like it” and why is that? “I just don’t.” Hence the repetitive retort of Tortoise throughout “A Loud winter’s Nap.”

I had so much fun creating this book, we have all the same characters from “Too Many Carrots,” apart from “Bird” (who has migrated for winter) instead we have winter bird “Robin.” I loved being able to explore their personalities more and also to show some more of their world and this time in winter too.

Work in progress of construction worker Beaver.

There was lots of snow photography reference required as we didn’t have much snow at the time.

Tortoise was going to need lots of different ‘beds’ to try get to sleep in throughout the story. I had a lot of fun exploring different options for these, from make shift tree houses to tents as well as Robin’s house and the rebuilt Beaver “River Cottage.”

Tortoise’s first bed was the most like the treehouse I wish I’d had as a child. Unfortunately my back garden was very lacking in trees!

Beaver’s River Cottage on the drawing board and it being used in the final spread after being scanned and dropped into photoshop.

In “Too Many Carrots”, Bird had a cosy nest with lots of fluffy blankets as his home however I felt given Robin would be enduring the colder months, his house should be more substantial…


As always figuring out the copyright page illustration was one of my favourite bits of this project. In “Too Many Carrots” we had a peek into Rabbit’s burrow (minus the many carrots) to see his collection of carrot memorabilia. For “A Loud Winter’s Nap”, I decided to illustrate the contents of Tortoise’s overnight bag, which is the red and white spotty bundle he carries through out the story. I loved the chance to include extra items in there that I didn’t manage to put in the main story illustrations such as his ‘Torteas” chamomile herbal tea. 

“A Loud Winter’s Nap” is out now and available to buy here.



Runaway Baby Brother

My new picture book “Runaway Baby Brother” came out this week and I’m so excited for you to see it! After making “Runaway Egg” with Random House I was so thrilled that they wanted to do a second title with me. I still felt there was more story for Chick and his younger brother “Egg.”

At the end of “Runaway Egg“, Chick’s little brother had hatched so it was fun to figure out how to differentiate between the two chicks, an obvious move was to pop Little Brother in a half shell diaper/nappy!

This time round we focused more on the two main characters and their interactions together.


As always, one of my favourite bits of the process was figuring out Chicks many different facial expressions to show his growing annoyance at Little Brother’s presence.

Above are some character paintings from my drawing board, I tend to work much bigger than the final version and shrink down after scanning.

The cover for the book went through many options and the final version was quite far away from where we started. I originally wanted to show more of the farmyard environment however we decided to focus more on the two characters.

Early thumbnails for cover optionsOnce the focus on the two chicks was decided it was finding somewhere on the farm to show them…There was a strong feeling that we needed the cover to look different from it’s prequel “Runaway Egg” so we introduced a night sky. This is a rough pencil coloured up in photoshop so the team could see my plans for the colour palette…
Artwork stage…

Final version!

Runaway Baby Brother is available to buy now, here.

#picturebook#giveaway #competition #eastergift#newbabygift #kidlit #childrenspublishing#easterchicks #easter #siblings#siblinglove #runawaybabybrother