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Otley Street Nursery, Skipton.

I enjoyed a day at Otley Street Nursery last month and the children here are listening quietly to a story. Later they sang some nursery rhymes very loudly!

Rackham, Dulac and Robinson

Looking forward to seeing this exhibition at the V&A this month! (Illustration by Charles Robinson)

From idea to illustration

Where does a book start?
It starts with an idea.

Where does the idea come from?
Anywhere! Sometimes you just have to look around you and the ordinary bits of your life can suddenly seem interesting or funny or surprising when you turn them into a story.

What comes first, the words or the pictures?
It can be either. Often they seem to come at the same time.

Here are the first sketches I made for my Pickle and the Blanket board book. The first drawing is little more than a scribble. The next one is a bit more detailed. Both these drawings are called pencil roughs… because they are quite rough and in pencil! At the third stage you can see that the final shape of the picture has been decided, and I have drawn over the pencil marks with a fine pen. When that is finished, the pencil can be rubbed out leaving only the pen drawing.

Once the pencil has been rubbed out, you can see on the drawing below that I have tried out a thicker pen line. Finally, the painting begins. I use a mixture of liquid watercolours and gouache.

The finished artwork! Apart from the background colours, which in this case were done separately, you can see here the finished cover artwork.

When the artwork for all the pages is complete, I pack it all carefully, send it off to the publisher and breathe a sigh of relief! The publisher then puts all my words and pictures together in a book, which then goes on sale in a shop. You can see the completed book below.

If you’d like to have a go at colouring in my illustration yourself, you can download a colouring-in sheet here.