Which is your favourite book?
It’s really hard for me to choose a favourite book out of all the books I have made. I think if I had to choose one to show people, it would be What the Ladybird Heard, as that’s the one people seem to like the most, and has had the biggest response. I remember, when I first read the text, I got goose-pimples as I knew it was a bit special!
Which is your favourite character?
I really like working with Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len. They are funny, and I like making them look silly! Will they ever learn do you think?! I hope not!
What’s it like working with Julia Donaldson?
Julia and I don’t actually work together. I think lots of people imagine us sitting together, discussing ideas, but we both work completely separately.
When Julia has written a new story, it’s sent to me by my editor. I then send it rough drawings of how I think the book should look back to the publisher. Julia gets to see everything I draw, and sends her comments in to the publisher, who then pass them on to me. We never meet during the process.
Very occasionally, Julia asks me if there is anything in particular that I would like to illustrate, but usually I never know what story is coming next.
How long does a book take to make?
It can take a long time! If I’m just illustrating the book, I am usually given around four months, but often there are delays, so books can take longer. If I’m writing and illustrating, it can can take up to a year or more. Sometimes I am working on different projects at the same time.
You have started writing your own books?
The first picture book I ever had published what one I wrote myself in 1998. It was called, ‘I Wish I Were a Dog’. I have always written my own stories, but my books are not as well known as Julia Donaldson’s!
Where is the ladybird on the first and last pages of What the Ladybird Heard?
The first and last pages of a book are called the endpapers. In publishing, these pages aren’t thought of as pages of the book. They are just decorative pages, rather than part of the story. I wanted to show an overall view of the farm before and after the action started, so the ladybird had either not arrived, or had just left. She appears on every page of the actual story. In fact, on one page, there are two ladybirds! Can you spot them?
If I order something from your shop, when will it come?
I try to get to the Post Office by the end of every week, so hopefully it won’t be too long before the postman comes knocking. I’m not Amazon though, so please be patient!
Can I buy artwork from the books?
I don’t sell artwork from the books, but I do have some prints that you can buy. Occasionally I sell pieces of artwork that features characters from the books, but you just have to keep an eye out on social media for when artwork pops up to buy.
Can I buy signed books?
Yes, I can sign them and add a dedication. Just leave a message on the order in the message box.
Will you help me with a story I’ve written, or give me advice on how to get it published?
I’m really sorry, but I don’t offer an advice service. I can’t act as an editor for you, or give out contact details of people in publishing. There are plenty of places on the internet which offer advice on how to get published. There is no secret way, or short-cut unfortunately. Good luck!
Will you illustrate my story for me, or illustrate a story that my child has written?
If you have a story which you wish to submit to a publisher, they will not expect you to have had it illustrated. If they decide to publish it, they will find and pay for a suitable illustrator. It’s not the writer’s job to employ an illustrator.
I quite often get people asking me to illustrate a story which their child has written. I’m really sorry, but I won’t be able to do this for you.
Will you donate a book, or a piece of artwork for my charity?
You are welcome to write to my agent or publishers about charitable donations. As an author, I only receive six free copies of my books. I don’t get boxes and boxes of books like you might see in films, so I don’t have many to give away!
Will you visit my school?
I occasionally visit schools, but I do charge a fee. You can contact my agent or my publisher to ask about visits.
Will you pass on a message or letter to Julia Donaldson?
Julia gets lots of messages from people and classes, and you can contact her via her website. I don’t like to bother her, as I know how very busy she is. I’m sure she would love to hear from you though!