Friday, 23 December 2016


We just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at Plum Pudding! We've absolutely loved working with all of our amazing illustrators this year, and look forward to many more exciting projects next year! 

Thanks to Alison Brown for this gorgeous Snow Bear animation!

Friday, 16 December 2016

5 Minutes with... Paula Bowles

With her folio updated with lots of gorgeous new work, we thought this week would be the perfect opportunity to catch up with Paula Bowles! From her love of cycling and Lindy Hop, to her bustling studio space and extensive list of favourite illustrators, let's get to know a little more about Paula...

Where do you live/work?

I live in Bristol, UK, in a part of the city which is quite green and quiet, with a great view from a great bridge! And I work from a big shared studio in the middle of the city.

What do you like about working there?

My studio is quite lively with lots of other lovely illustrators and designers buzzing about,
so lots of company which is nice! Our studio is part of a huge 5 story building, called Hamilton House, which was derelict before a group of forward thinking people took it on as a project about 9 years ago. They turned it into, what is now, one of Bristol’s most popular community venues, with dance classes, theatre, wellbeing, yoga, music, art studios, and spaces for small businesses. So I can pop upstairs and get a massage, or join a yoga session now and then! There’s even a great bar/cafe/music venue here, so handy for coffee and lunch.

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

I get to think up characters and their worlds, and ‘play’ with them all day! It’s like a
continuation of childhood imaginative play, except I do it inside my head and on paper, rather than out loud - running around pretending to be a unicorn… I’d get some odd looks otherwise! And I get to draw and write whilst listening to podcasts and the radio with a nice cup of tea and biscuits.

How do you work – what are your techniques?

I do all my drawing by hand with actual real pencils. I have a light box to sketch images over and over to achieve the right level of… sketchiness. Then I scan my drawings, and I add all my colour with photoshop magic.

What is your favourite thing to draw and why?

I like drawing animals the most, I find them funny and enjoy exaggerating their characteristics.

What or who are you most inspired by?

I spend a lot of time observing the world around me, so inspiration comes from daily life, but also from nature and nature documentaries. I also pour over my favourite books in book shops and go to exhibitions and galleries.

Do you have a favourite illustrator?

Oh, so many to choose from!
Oliver Jeffers (Love his characters and story telling!)
Nicholas Frith (Gorgeous colours and characters!)
Kate Hindley (A friend of mine, she’s just fab!)
Lauren Tobia, Sarah Warburton, Louise Cunningham (Also friends of mine, and also

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?

I love my bike and enjoy going on long bike rides during the summer (I even cycled 450miles from Bristol to Paris!). I also enjoy swing dancing (lindy hop), it’s so playful and
energetic, and it’s good to jump around to music after a day’s drawing at my desk. I love
going to art events and theatre around Bristol, and I love travelling to different parts of the world when I can.

How did you get into illustration?

I studied my illustration degree at Falmouth College of Arts, down in Cornwall. Then after I graduated (about 11 years ago!) I pestered publishers and agents with my portfolio, visiting London and the Bologna Book fair, where I met Mark who then asked me to join this agency* he was setting up, so I said yeah, ok! Then I began to get some work coming in.

*Plum Pudding!

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?

1. Persevere. It’s not always easy, it can have it’s ups and downs financially (as any freelance work does). 

2. Be patient. Don’t expect things to happen immediately!

3. Keep drawing! And keep experimenting and trying things out, you will change and grow throughout your career. Don’t be afraid of this.

What were your favourite books when you were younger?

Shirley Hughes - Dogger

Roald Dahl - The Twits

Dr Seuss - The Sneetches and Other Stories

What was the last book you read? What did you think?

Diana Wynne Jones - Deep Secret

It was great! Diana Wynne jones weaves reality with fantasy with such ease, the story stuck with me during the day so I imagined magic around me in the real world, and not least because the story is partly set in Bristol!

What’s your ultimate dream?

Oooh, I would love to continue illustrating and writing children’s books, travel and see the world with my best buddy, live in a beautiful self-sufficient treehouse in the woods… or if I could talk to animals, or fly like a bird, that would be fantastic too!

We really hope you enjoyed catching up with Paula! Why not head over to the PP site to see all the fab new work on Paula's folio here! Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 9 December 2016

5 Minutes with.. Eglantine Ceulemans

This week we've been catching up with Eglantine Ceulemans from her home in Lyon. We've been discussing all things children's illustration, from her love of character creation, to what inspires her and her three top tips for aspiring illustrators. So why not take five minutes, grab a cuppa, and lets get to know a little more about Eglantine...

Where do you live/work?

I live in Lyon, France, and work from home. I usually work from a studio, but I have recently had an operation and I am now recovering at home. I shall be back at the studio soon!

What do you love about working there?

My co-workers. You can feel lonely when you work by yourself. It's always nice to have someone giving you advices, chatting with you and with whom you can have fun during lunchtime. Also, I have no children of my own, and love spending time with my co-workers’ tiny humans when they come in to the studio.

What are your dislikes?

I hate stepping into a puddle on the bathroom floor when I have my socks on. But maybe you are asking about what I don’t like about working in a studio? There are no dislikes for now. I'm really happy to work in such a creative environment.

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

I love creating universes and meeting new imaginary friends. Every new character I have the chance to illustrate has its own proper universe, even if it's not written in the story, 
I imagine its personality, its parents' names, what it likes, dislikes and even what its favourite book is.

On the topic of creating universes, it's always nice to illustrate what you can't have in real life: a wacky world where otters speak English and wear bow-ties, where we would walk on walls if we'd fancy it or where you can see 30ft tall ice-creams.

How do you work – what are your techniques?

It depends on the projects whether I work digitally or traditionally. 

Digitally, I work on a cintiq: a screen you can draw on with a stylus. I find it very intuitive and it gives me the impression of drawing on paper.

Traditionally, though I start my roughs digitally, I print them and trace them using Indian ink with a nib or a very sharp pen. Then I colour them with an ink called Colorex.

What is your favourite thing to draw?

Tough question! It really depends on the story I'm illustrating... However, I'm very keen on unusual things, this gives me the opportunity to hide elements that aren't written in the story and aren't supposed to happen in the real world: mice having a fancy dinner, a knitting spider, extravagant clothes etc.

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?

I shall say...administrative things and accountancy ! Ugh, I hate it so much.

What or who are you inspired by?

I am mostly inspired by little details: my friends' socks with a lemon pattern, that I might use for one of my characters vests, the crazy hat my great-aunt wore for my cousin's wedding (it had at least 7 different types of feathers on it!) or even atypical interiors: my godmother has hundreds of puppets hanging on the wall by her stairs - it's amazing!

But of course, I have also been greatly inspired by some illustrators, from being a childhood until today: Babette cole, Quentin Blake, Posy Simmonds, and french ones as well: Benjamin Chaud, Sempé, Gabrielle Vincent and many others...

What do you like to in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?

I love cycles. I have bought many over the years, but most of them got stolen (the joy of living in a big city...). I love fixing them (still learning not to break them even more though...), painting them and collecting some very very old ones (one of them was 80 years old!). Today, my trusty steed is named Sylvie (yes, I give names to my bikes), it is light blue and comes with me wherever I go.

How did you get into illustration?

A little bit by accident...I've always drawn, when I was a child, I was very quiet and it was a nice way to express myself. But it never came to my mind to make a living out of it. When I imagined a job where you would draw, I would imagine a tormented artist in a rickety studio painting a depressing landscape on a big canvas. 

My drawings were made to make people laugh, and I couldn't imagine myself being that sad painter I pictured...

So I got into accounting...It turned out to be one of the worst experiences of my life.

Then someone told me about Emile Cohl art school, where you train to be an illustrator. I went there and have never looked back.

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?

1) Work hard. Never stop's the only way to progress.

2) Have fun. Don't force yourself to draw flowerpots if you don't like it. If your thing is 'horses' for instance, go for horses everywhere, but add some challenges: add a rider, tell a story with your drawing, try to add a background etc. You should progress and have fun at the same time.

3) Don't hesitate to contact other illustrators, they can give you good advice and reassure you if you're having doubts (I started doing this when I was quite young: at 14 years old, I sent an email to a very well-known illustrator, he gave me loads of advice that I'm still following today). 

What’s your ultimate dream?

Maybe travelling around the world with Sirius' flying motorbike.

Marge in Charge illustrated by Eglantine and written by Isla Fisher is available now here, with a second title coming in January! For more of Eglantine's amazing work, visit her PP folio page here!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Emma Randall's Christmas Animation!

Emma Randall's beautiful illustrations have been used to create this nativity animation as well as a booklet for the Bible Society! Take a look at the stunning animation below, and for more of Emma's artwork visit her PP portfolio here!

Friday, 2 December 2016

5 Minutes With... Eefje Kuijl

For today's interview, we're catching up with Dutch illustrator Eefje Kuijl from her home in Breda in the Netherlands. We wanted to chat to Eefje about all things illustration, including her favourite Dutch illustrators and how she's always know illustration was the career for her! 

Where do you live/work?

I’m a Dutch illustrator. I live and work in Breda, a city in the south of the Netherlands, with my husband, two kids and a dog. I work at home from my attic.

What do you love about working there?

There, I can do the thing that I love most, and do it all day long and away from my noisy kids. I love them so much (of course) but I cannot draw well if they want my attention. 

What are your dislikes?

The attic is also the laundry room right now. I sit beside the ironing board and every once in a while a pile of laundry … Not so nice. My dream is to have a spacious workspace near my home, in a garden house or a garage. Sometimes I do miss having colleagues.

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

I love creating something. Most of the time the illustrations are published and you can literally hold the end product in your hands! It is always so much fun to come up with new characters and to be busy with colour and composition.

I also like the variety of being an illustrator. Every commission is different. It never gets dull.

How do you work – what are your techniques?

Usually I draw everything right away in Photoshop, using my Wacom pen. Every now and then I like to use photos and blend them with the illustrated elements in a balanced way.

What is your favourite thing to draw?

People! Their faces, haircuts, to decide what clothes I draw on them. Big people, small people, old people, etc.

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?

It is a business. ;-) Other (less fun) stuff also needs attention occasionally. Administration, finding new clients, reading contracts, social media, keeping your website up to date etc. etc. Also, I do love to work on my own but sometimes it can get a little lonely.

What or who are you inspired by?

So many things! My kids when I have to draw other little children. Some Dutch illustrators I really look up to are: Mark Janssen and Philip Hopman. They both make children books and can create such atmospheric illustrations. And Fiep Westendorp. I love all the little details in her illustrations.

What do you like to in your sparetime when you’re not illustrating?

I like to have diner with friends in a cosy restaurant. Spend time with my family and long walks with our dog. She is getting older but when we throw a ball she acts as she was a puppy again.

How did you get into illustration?

I seriously never thought of anything else other than becoming a professional illustrator.
Which is a bit strange if you know that my parents are not creative at all. As long as I can remember I wanted to draw, so I went to an art school in The Netherlands (University of the Arts Utrecht) where I studied illustration. I have worked as a freelance illustrator for various clients ever since. 

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?

1) If you really really want to be an illustrator, go for it! Even if it means drawing late into the evenings to work on your portfolio. 

2) I am not the best at it, but use social media. I have seen and heard from other illustrators that they found many clients and commissions that way.

3) Try not to copy a style that you like, but find your own way of drawing. And always keep developing.
What’s your ultimate dream?

To make a series of big picture books for children. Books with illustrations from my heart. If you see the illustrations you'd want to rip them out of the book and hang them on your wall ;-). It would be even nicer if they sell really well. So I can make more picture books but even better haha.

We really enjoyed catching up with Eefje and hope you have too! To see lots more of her gorgeous work, visit her PP portfolio here and have a look on her website here! See you next time! 

'Swimming with Sharks' receives great reviews!

Swimming with Sharks: the Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark illustrated by Jordi Solano was published by Albert Whitman & Co yesterday! It tells the true story of the girl who grew up to be known as the "Shark Lady" and became one of the most inspiring scientists in the world. It has featured in a few blog posts recently, so we thought we'd list them here so you can have a read, and see just how fantastic this book really is!

The School Library Journal published a review, including this incredible appraisal of Jordi's illustrations:

"Solano’s gorgeous illustrations, done in a soothing, muted palette of greens and blues, suggest the ocean and enhance this selection’s appeal"

Mrs Knott's Book Nook:

Nerdy Book Club:

We hope you get the chance to read this incredible book telling the story of such an amazing woman! For more of Jordi's beautiful work, do visit his PP portfolio page here.