Pictures

People often ask if writers illustrate their own books. Usually, they don’t – a writer who’s a professional artist is a rare jewel, though of course they do exist – Anthony Browne or Polly Dunbar, for instance: or Jill Murphy, who wrote probably my favourite picture book ever, Peace At Last.

Books for 9-12 year olds are not often illustrated (sadly!), but books for younger readers are. I haven’t written any picture books, but I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing my books for 7-10 year olds brought to life by two brilliant artists, Lynne Chapman and James de la Rue. Lynne illustrated my Spook School books, and rose magnificently to the challenge of creating some very haunting effects (sorry!). James illustrated Emily’s Surprising Voyage. I was quite anxious as to whether he would be able to capture the main characters, Emily and Tom, as I’d imagined them – but I needn’t have worried: they were perfect. And he also did absolute justice to Brunel’s great ship, the ss Great Britain, which is really another character in the story. Here are a few examples of their work.

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From ‘Spooks Away’
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Emily, Tom and Captain Grey – from ‘Emily’s Surprising Voyage’.
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Emily’s first sight of the ss Great Britain.

I do a bit of drawing, but only in fits and starts. And I don’t have the versatility of a proper artist – what I can do is very limited. But I do enjoy it. Here are a few examples – the baby (one of my sons) and the boy are from years ago, but the pebbles and the allium flower head are much more recent.