I've been designing children's books for the last 15 years with a number of UK publishers and its a job I've loved! Nurturing, moulding and creating a book from scrappy thumbnails sketches to a beautiful, surprising and captivating book is a process I never tire of :-)
I have experience of designing many genres of children's books from complex novelty pop-up books where I commission paper engineers and work closely with the printer and production teams, to first word board books or to illustrated non-fiction. I love all sorts of books but I would say my passion is for picture books. Discovering the perfect, perhaps unusual, illustrator and working closely with an editor as team, creating a book that will move and engage the reader so much that they want to re-read over and over.
The best example I have of this collaborative working process would be the Waterstones Award Winning book 'The Bear and Piano' by David Litchfield (see below) This was Davids first author /illustrated picture book and it was a huge pleasure to art direct him. Since then we have published one more book, 'Grandads Secret Giant' and the sequel to The Bear and Piano - 'The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle' will be publishing Autumn 2018.
I like to push the limits of illustration and the book as a product. Nowadays it's not enough to have just a great story. The jacket needs to be immediately eye catching and stand out on a bookshop shelf or equally as an Amazon thumbnail. A book jacket and hard cover is surprisingly versatile, the possibilities are endless and with some clever typography a talented illustrator, a creative editor and an adventurous publisher, we can create award winning books that children will cherish for years.
Now I'm a freelance book designer, still specialising in children's book design...but living in Spain :-)
Since becoming freelance I have worked with publishers such as Parragon, Hachette, Quarto, Otter-Barry Books.
I have also set up a surface design company AWDesigns, specialising in illustrated prints, greetings cards and homeware products.
Responsible for the design and art direction of the children's books department. There were two imprints: Frances Lincoln Children's Books and Wide Eyed Editions. This role was fantastically challenging as Frances Lincoln was rebranding and Wide Eyed Editions was being created. I was creating a fresh, modern, beautifully illustrated picture book list whilst also reviving some classics on the back list such as Edward Ardizzone's 'Little Tim' series , some Quentin Blake books and re jacketing the hugely popular 'Amazing Grace' for its 20th Anniversary.
Another key part of my job was discovering talented illustrators. Recent graduates or even textile designers or fine artists whose work could be re imagined as a picture book or non fiction. Counting Lions (see cover below) is a good example.
My highlights here included the relaunch of Frances Lincoln Children's books and art directing the award winning illustrated picture book for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2016 (The Bear and the Piano by David litchfield) . Also having another book 'The Crows Tale' by Naomi Howarth shortlisted the same year. both debut illustrators/authors. Last Year I worked with Jackie Morris on her Carneigie Shortlisted book 'Something About A Bear'
Managing a busy children's books list. Working with clients such as Disney, Ardman and Fox. Creating and commissioning in-house novelty, non-fiction and picture books. Also designed a range of Virtual Reality books.
Designing novelty books, picture books and young fiction covers, commissioning paper engineers, illustrators.
One day, a young bear stumbles upon something he has never seen before in the forest. As time passes, he teaches himself how to play the strange instrument, and eventually the beautiful sounds are heard by a father and son who are picnicking in the woods. The bear goes with them on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star. He has fame, fortune and all th... read more
One Thousand Things
Set your spirit of adventure free with this lavishly illustrated trip around the world. Whether you're visiting the penguins of Antarctica, joining the Carnival in Brazil or a canoe safari down the Zambezi River, this book brings together more than 100 activities and challenges to inspire armchair adventurers of any age. Find hundreds of things to spot and learn new facts about every destinati... read more
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