Artist Profile: Karl James Mountford

Karl James Mountford is one of Bright’s most successful and instantly recognisable artists. His distinctive visual language channels a retro aesthetic that, while acknowledging the legacy of some of the true greats of the illustrative and animation ‘canon’, is never cosily nostalgic, and which makes striking use of an often limited palette and wonderfully textural, hand-rendered effects - all delivered with an undercurrent of the ever-so-slighly-unnerving…

Specialising in cover and editorial illustration, recent commissions have included some fantastical book cover design briefs such as The Uncommoners by Jennifer Bell (Jan 2017, Penguin Random House) and The Peculiars by Kieran Larwood (Jan 2018, Chicken House), but Karl is also a keen believer in the importance of pursuing self-directed projects with a ‘just for the hell of it’ flourish guaranteed to keep the imagination limber and creative fires stoked. A voracious reader of fiction, he also has a keen interest in all manner of creative arts - particularly traditional, ‘hands-on’ techniques such as printmaking - while an abiding affection for the cult shows of his childhood, and the iconic artists and creatives whom exerted such an influence on their aesthetic, clearly informs his own artistry.

Karl James Mountford chats about his inspiration, working method, and creative aspirations:

Can you tell us a little about your artistic background and training?

I’ve been drawing from the get-go, but began to really focus on it all when I started art college. I was on this amazing art course that did everything from photography and ceramics to graphic design and painting. It was such a well-rounded course, but illustration was the aspect I enjoyed most, and my final project was re-designing book covers.

Self-directed book cover artwork: top line, left to right: The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore; bottom line, left to right: Smoke and Mirrors, Kristin Halbrook, The Iron Man, by Ted Hughes, Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë.

I then went to a real gem of a university, Swansea Met (now Swansea College of Art) to study Illustration and screen-printing. The course explored everything about illustration - not just picture books - and we had life drawing every week, which I think was so helpful for heading into the art profession. I proper loved the place and the people there so much: I stayed on to do my Masters degree in Visual Communication while becoming an Artist in Residence for the Illustration Department.

Your portfolio includes an impressive array of work, referencing popular culture, e.g. tributes to the Stranger Things Netflix phenomenon, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and those knitting superheroes, as well as your own unique take on classics, such as Peter Pan, that we’d pretty well all recognise. How much would you say ‘story’ and nostalgia are important motivators or influences in your work? And do you think you are drawn to any one genre in particular?

Story and nostalgia are massive motivators for me. All the book covers I’ve mocked up for my portfolio are ones I’ve enjoyed reading growing up, and there is something really special about creating a book cover that houses a story you love. It’s the same for paid work: when I get a brief, I (almost) always read the manuscript (although sometimes I will have to skim-read) because it’s the best tool. If you know the ingredients, you can make a cake - it’s a bad analogy, but knowing the story means you can find the tone of it and hopefully make a great book cover/art…or even cake. That said, there’ve been one or two occasions that I haven’t read the manuscript in full and it shows in the final work. Maybe not to everyone, but to me it does.

Karl’s homage to Stranger Things (Netflix series, 2016), and his tribute cover artwork for A Series of Unfortunate Events (now also a popular Netflix series created from books by author, Lemony Snicket, Feb 2017).

Pop culture is the best, too: people love to see something they enjoy or have a personal connection to recreated through an artist’s impression or homage. EVERY illustrator draws what they love at some point: whether it’s TV or film characters, animals, food - whatever it is, it’s always a good place to start. Drawing things you are interested in spurs you on to try your best. I do lean towards stories that are darker…Maybe ‘darker’ isn’t the right word. Perhaps ‘truer’? Maybe not that word either…but a story that doesn’t try and ‘hold my hand’ too much has far more appeal for me.

Superheroes reimagined as avid needle-workers, left to right Superwoman (DC Comics), The Mighty Thor (Marvel) and Captain America (Marvel).

The picture books and stories I remember from being a kid weren’t the ones with comfy tales and endings, it was the ones where I put myself in the characters’ shoes, and had to think about myself in that situation. Like Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things are and David McKee’s Not now Bernard…which is terrifying, and it wasn’t really because of the monster; it was that worry that my parents would ignore me and I’d end up being eaten by a monster down the end of the garden. But when you’re five…I just thought it was the monster that gave me wiggins, when really it was the parents’ neglect.

In an interview for Waterstones about A Place Called Perfect for which you were shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award 2018 Younger Fiction category (congratulations!), you mention having been drawn to the project because that writing had a slightly darker tone. Much of your illustration (I hope it’s fair to say) does have a wonderfully quirky, slightly unsettling quality to it – which, of course, is part of its distinctive appeal – but how differently do you think you might approach the artwork to a story with a less threatening undertone?

Completely fair to say. I might contradict myself a bit here…I think two or three years ago I would lend myself to whatever the client wanted, I was just so grateful that I was getting any work at all, and after two years of solo freelancing (without an agent) I was desperate to turn something I love doing into a job. But you are asking me today and I think, now, I’d have to read it [the work] before I said yes, OR at the very least get a synopsis and flavour for what the client wants. I’m at this weird point in my career where I’m not just saying yes to everything, because as much as being able to pay your rent is great, it’s like winning the lottery when you’re hired for a project/story that interests you and that you can really get behind. You can really invest yourself - and that surely means you’ll make better work.

Are there other sources of inspiration you draw upon on a regular basis? Are there any artists - of any discipline - whose work you find particularly inspiring?

Oh, for sure. Alice and Martin Provensen are probably some of biggest influences - their use of shape and colour! Disney’s Mary Blair too, and Shaun Tan, who I think is the best storyteller this world has. Film-makers Spike Jonze and Wes Anderson, too - again great visual storytellers! I have a stack of old books - you know, the sort of old books that are over-decorated but with few colours and those geometric-patterned borders. Books used to have a real class about them, back in the day. I love the old Penguin books from the 50’s and 60’s, too. Also, ANY screen-printers, past or present - there is a magic with screen-printing that is different to painting or ‘colouring-in’ on Photoshop. It’s sort of flawed and random, but kind of perfect too?! Tom Frost is one of those screen-printing artists whom I admire a lot. And when I say ‘admire’, what I mean is, if I could trade skills, it would be with him.

Clockwise from top left: The Animal Fair cover art - Alice & Martin Provensen; concept art from Cinderella - Mary Blair; interior illustration from The Arrival - Shaun Tan; A Book of English Clocks and British Reptiles and Amphibia - Penguin books: artist unknown; limited edition screen print - Tom Frost.

I think anyone or thing that reminds me of something older [artisanal, hand-crafted], sparks my interest. I’m not knocking digital art - I use it every day, and it’s a god-send for speeding the process up (and the possibilities are endless!) - I’m just fond of getting my hands dirty when making work.

Could you give us a bit of an insight into your process when you embark on a new project? Where do you start, and what stages would you typically follow to arrive at the final artwork?

I usually start reading the manuscript and making notes, then I read over the brief. Usually a publishing house has an idea of what they want me to do ‘looks wise’ with the book, but I always make a few alternative rough ideas for a cover, just so we’ve explored all the possibilities. Also it’s nice not to just go with the trends on the bookshelf but instead try make something that’s a bit different and tailored to the story inside. Once we’ve settled on a design, I do colour tests - again just to make sure we haven’t missed a trick. It’s a lot of ‘back and forth-ing’ but I really enjoy the development of book covers and artwork.

Do you ever suffer from a bit of an artistic ‘block’ and, if so, do you have any methods you’d be prepared to share for overcoming those times and rediscovering your creative mojo?

Oh, for sure. A lot of the time artist block for me is from burning out. I’ve found the best thing I can do is just go with it. Having an illustration break is just as important as working round the clock. I make a lot of lists too; nothing fancy, but just lists of personal work I want to explore - topics on mental health to food packaging - so when free time comes about I can ponder on those and try and make something. The lists help when I’m at a loose end, art wise. It gives me a starting point.

Do you ever have time, as an illustrator, when you are not being creative – and, if so, how do you like to fill it (aside from sleeping…!)?

It feels like an all-around-the-clock sort of thing. It’s not like a normal job: there is no 9-5 cut-off point. Even when you’re out and away from the desk, you’re always thinking ‘oh that would be a cool building to draw’ or ‘this might be useful for a story idea’. BUT, that being said, I like to see my mates and be around my favourite folks - and be outside, of course, walking the dog down the beach. And I love a bit of D.I.Y too - especially wood-work, fixin’ up stuff.

What has been your favourite project to date?

Favourite…I like most of them, and they are all special for some reason or another. BUT Kieran Larwood’s The Peculiars I’m a bit proud of. It was a re-brand job, but the folks over at Chicken House gave me a ton of freedom and trust to just make a decent book cover. It wasn’t over stressed about, and it was just a seamless project.

And finally…which book/film/Netflix series would you most like to create cover artwork for?

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials - 100%. But I’ve got a list. I would love to illustrate some more classic novels too, and maybe do the artwork for some big festival – I reckon that would be amazing to be a part of.

Check out Karl James Mountford’s full portfolio here, or contact Bright Illustration’s Fiona Kenny for further information and to discuss commissioning.

Introducing Bryony Clarkson

Bryony Clarkson is one of Bright’s newest talents. Having graduated from Loughborough College of Art with an emphasis in textiles before studying for an MA at the Royal College of Art in London, she has now switched her focus from fabrics to work with a mixture of cut paper collage and digital techniques.

Her signature style features rich textures, palettes that pop and quirky animals with lots of personality. But how does she achieve such gorgeous finished pieces?

We chatted with Bryony about her process and inspirations, as well as some of her biggest artistic achievemnets. Read on to learn just how she weaves magic with her art and to get a glimpse of her dreamy studio.

How do you feel your experience as an embroidery designer has impacted the way you work and create now for your art licensing clients?

I work in exactly the same way with paper, as I used to with fabric. My embroidery designs often involved small pieces of fabric, appliquéd onto a base fabric to create the image. Then the stitches made ‘drawn’ lines, for detail. I’ve simply swapped fabric and thread for paper and pencils! The thought process is no different at all.

I also studied colour a great deal as part of my textile design training, which is now a natural art of my thinking. I have favourite ‘go-to’ colour schemes that I rely on all the time, as well as loving to play with new combinations and looking at colour trends.

What do you find to be your biggest sources of everyday inspiration?

Definitely my children. We chat about ideas for fun things to draw, that would appeal to them, all the time. They are my best inspiration and harshest critics! I also love to see the uninhibited way that they draw, which inspires me to try and have a spontaneous feel in my own work.

What has been your favorite project to date and what made it so special?

I adore drawing animals, and some of my favourite pieces of all time are my series of circus images, which I worked on, on and off, for quite a long while. I really enjoy trying to build expressions and character into the pieces, which I hope makes children really relate to them. When I have got a character just right, it almost feels as if I know them. I definitely feel like that about my Juggler, Ringmaster and their animal friends.


Bryony shares a view of her workspace

An art supply lover's dream!

To view Bryony Clarkson’s entire portfolio, click here. You can also inquire with her agent, Hannah Curtis, about licensing specific pieces.

Laura Hughes wins Oscar’s Book Prize 2018

Laura Hughes wins the highly esteemed children’s book award with author John Dougherty for their laugh-out-loud picture book ‘There’s A Pig Up My Nose!’.

We are delighted and immensely proud that Bright artist Laura Hughes has won the Oscar’s Book Prize 2018 alongside author John Dougherty with their original and witty picture book ‘There’s A Pig Up My Nose!’, published by Egmont.

John’s loveable tale of a little girl, Natalie, and a nose-dwelling pig, Ernest, is full of hilarity and surprise, beautifully married with Laura’s playful artwork. It’s a joy to read as you follow Natalie’s increasingly absurd attempts to get a pig out of her nose — even hanging upside down whilst being walloped with a blow-up rhino doesn’t seem to do the trick. It’s silly, utterly heart-warming, and with plenty of laughs — and OINKS — along the way.

The Oscar’s Book Prize is an annual award celebrating the best books for under-fives from the year. Previous winners have included Bright artist Benji Davies who won in 2014 with ‘The Storm Whale’. You can read more on the award here.

HRH Princess Eugenie awarded the Oscar’s Book Prize at St James’s Palace on Monday 14th May. From left to right: Vicki Willden-Lebrecht (MD, The Bright Agency), author John Dougherty, artist Laura Hughes, Emma Dods (Senior Commissioning Editor, Egmont), Laura Hughes, Rebecca Essilifie (Art Director, Egmont).

Laura Hughes:

“I am absolutely honoured that ‘Theres’ a Pig Up My Nose’ has won the Oscar’s Book Prize! The award was set up in memory of 3-year -old Oscar Ashton who died of an undetected heart condition, and as well as being a wonderful and touching way to pay tribute to a young reader, the prize also aims to highlight the importance of reading together with young children. Low literacy levels among children starting school is an increasing problem, and the organisers of the award are doing great work in bringing awareness to this issue. It’s a privilege to have been involved in this very special award.

“The first time I read John’s story I absolutely loved it and knew right away that I had to illustrate it! ‘There’s a Pig Up My Nose’ is a warm and quirky tale about a girl who gets a pig stuck up her nose, so I knew that I had to keep the illustrations bright and light-hearted. I used a slightly different process in creating the artwork than I usually do, with some parts coloured directly from my roughs (something I generally avoid) to keep the illustrations loose and energetic.

“For the characters in the book I took inspiration from the diversity of the people I see every day in London, so for example, the doctor is based very loosely on one of my own GP’s. I live in Walthamstow and will often sit and draw in local cafés. I think it’s really important to get out of the studio and draw from life whenever possible to keep your work fresh and relevant.”

You can also watch Laura’s interview with the Evening Standard here.

“I am absolutely thrilled that Laura has won the Oscar’s Book Prize and it’s wonderful to see her grow from Kingston University graduate and Bright intern to an award-winning illustrator. Laura brings such exuberance and flair to her artwork — she is a true talent and I’m so proud of all that she has achieved.” Vicki Willden-Lebrecht

Laura Hughes’ past titles include ‘The Birthday Invitation’ (Bloomsbury Children’s Books), ‘The Chocolate Monster’ (Faber & Faber), and ‘We’re Going on an Egg Hunt’ (Bloomsbury Children’s Books). Her next picture book, ‘Quick, Barney, RUN!’ (Faber & Faber) is publishing this summer on the 5th July. You can see more of Laura’s artwork here.

The SAA Associate Prize for New Talent in Illustration at New Designers 2018, Part 2 July 4 – 7

The Society of Artists Agents (SAA) is delighted to be working in partnership with New Designers 2018.


Making Waves with Chloe Daykin’s Fish Boy, and Richard Jones

Cover art for Fish Boy, by Richard Jones

If you scan through the reviews of Fish Boy, you will see, over and over, these words: “reminds me of David Almond — think Skellig”

And that is more than enough for me. It also came as no surprise that it was nominated for a Carnegie Medal*

Not only is this debut novel by Chloe Daykin akin to the style of David Almond — a great and true compliment there from reviewers and critics — but the artwork, by Richard Jones is equal in both atmosphere and feel.

RJ:  “. . . it was clear I hadn’t quite lost my love of the fine arts and after I graduated I somehow, and to the complete surprise of anyone who knew me, found myself staying on and reading for a PhD. My subject was the application of the fine arts in illustration and it took me four years to finish. It was a great experience and I learned an awful lot, however, my mum is the only person who calls me Dr now and I don’t use it on my passport just in case I’m asked to deliver a baby or perform an emergency tracheostomy on a plane.”
— From A Journey into Picture Books: The Art of Richard Jones (continue reading here)

Interior artwork for Fish Boy, by Chloe Daykin, published by Faber and Faber

For me, personally, the cover of a book is just as important as it’s contents. Yes — I must admit I do judge a book by it’s cover, and there are some covers that really stand the test of time. In fact the cover work is the very thing that can make an author stand out on the book shelf — and if author and illustrator stick together, both can become recognisable together. Take Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake for example, or C.S Lewis and Pauline Baynes. Although Quentin Blake has books of his own, (and Roald Dahl has worked with other illustrators) we will always recognise the books of Roald Dahl, for example, by the cover illustrations of Quentin Blake. There’s certainly something to be said for continuity in design.

Richard’s most recent picture book collaboration with author Jim Helmore is testament to a great union of words and pictures. The Snow Lion, published by Simon and Schuster in September 2017 has been translated into 14 different languages.

Richard has also illustrated picture books with author Libby Walden, and conservationist, Martin Jenkins who has written an educational series with Walker Books on animals at risk.
Winter Dance, with Marion Dane Bauer — originally a US title with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has been coeditioned and translated into four different languages since being published in December 2017.

So what next for Richard? Well he’s one to watch, we can be sure of that. He is an absolute pleasure to work with, and his style has that sense of something we are going to see on bookshelves for a very long time. LM

You can follow Richard on Twitter and Instagram

If you’d like to work with Richard, you can get in touch via his agent, Arabella Stein here.

*The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book written in English for children and young people. It was established by in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). Previous winners include Arthur Ransome, C.S. Lewis, Margaret Mahy, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and Patrick Ness.

Let Them Eat Cake! Book Launch Fun with Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

CAKE by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet was officially launched yesterday evening at Waterstones in Piccadilly, hosted by our friends at Macmillan Children’s Books.

If you haven’t yet bought a copy of Cake, you MUST! No matter your age, it will make you laugh out LOUD. It’s the perfect example of Sue and Paul doing what they do best.
Here’s our round-up of the evening in pictures.

Life imitating art: An incredible replica of Cake, made out of . . . cake.

And the proof is in the eating — oh poor Cake! This is true #kidlithorror  . . .

Speeches made by Sue and Paul, who spoke about the importance of literacy and storytelling for children, Associate Publisher at Macmillan Children’s Books, Penny Morris, and Agent, Arabella Stein.

Sue Hendra, Bright MD and Founder Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Paul Linnet and Wanda.

Book signings and party bags, beautifully made by the team from Macmillan.

You can follow Sue and Paul on Twitter

If you’d like to work with Sue and Paul, you can get in touch via their agent, Arabella Stein here.

Picture Book Hygge: Celebrating the Art of Fiona Woodcock

There is something extremely calming about Fiona Woodcock’s artwork — I would describe it as the hygge of picture book illustration — because each time I read one of her books, I feel so relaxed and content, gently swept up by the subtle colours and textures she creates. A Dot in the Snow is beautiful, uncomplicated, peaceful — and yet dramatic in composition of scale and landscape.

Illustrator Fiona and author Corrinne Averiss have been nominated for a Kate Greenaway Medal for Dot, and so here, Fiona talks about her creative process.

A Dot in the Snow, published by Oxford University Press and nominated for a 2018 Kate Greenaway Medal.

FW: As soon as I heard the title and Corrinne’s concept for the book — the idea of a little polar bear spotting a dot in the snow, I was totally captivated and knew I wanted to work on it.

My initial brief was to do something “artful,” which as an illustrator is a real gift! 

I spent my Christmas watching wildlife documentaries to get my head around bears and snowy scenes. This was invaluable and helped to spark off compositional ideas for the landscape spreads. 

We decided early on that it was important to highlight the environmental impact on the melting polar ice caps with the cracking ice spreads. This influenced the character design of the young polar bear cub Miki and we resolved to have him on all fours, rather than anthropomorphised on two legs. This slightly naturalistic approach seemed to help place him in the snowy world, where he has to contend with all the perils of the harsh environment. 

I did lots of printmaking experiments to create the landscapes, printing with rubber stamps, and polystyrene from a pizza base was great for ice. I then composited all the elements digitally. 

As well as the relationship between the characters, I was keen to capture their relationship with the environment, the filmic potential and the sense of space and distance covered on Miki’s epic adventure.

Corrinne sent me a link to this Björk track which she listened to whilst writing the book. It then became my soundtrack whilst illustrating it and we played it on a loop at our London book launch at the Bright Emporium! 

My huge thanks to Fiona! LM

If you’d like to work with Fiona, you can reach her via her agent, Arabella Stein here.

If you’d like to know more about Fiona and her picture books, click the link below.

Fiona Woodcock — From Art Licensing to Children’s Books and Beyond…
Read the blog

The BBC recently aired a documentary, Life in Polar Bear Town, which you can see here.

Photograph courtesy of the BBC. See more here.

Illustrating Outside the Book: Artist Fred Blunt Breathes Life and Colour Back into Local Library

3 wall 1

When you think of children’s illustration, it’s only natural to think picture books, but the exciting thing about illustration is just how much you can do with it. Children’s illustrators do, primarily make picture books, but they’ll often do more where their schedule allows. They take part in all sorts of events, up and down the country, and they often share their skills closer to home — in their own community. This is exactly what Fred Blunt has done, and even better, it involves his local library:

FB: It all started when an artist friend of mine got in touch and told me that South Swindon Parish had taken over the Old Town Library, and were planning a renovation project.  What’s more, they wanted large scale, fun murals for the children’s area. He thought it would be relevant for a children’s book illustrator to pitch for the job.

1 thumbnails and roughs

Fred’s rough drafts before the final artwork, and the final designs below.

4 wall 2

At first I didn’t intend to pitch. The idea of taking the time out of of my picture book schedule to design and paint a mural seemed way too time-consuming.  But the idea of creating something just for children, in a library, on a big scale was very exciting to me – especially in the present climate of library closures.
[Read more about library closures in an article by The Guardian here]

I then thought, if I could find a company to install it using vinyl print, I could save a lot of time and potentially make it work. I did a little research and contacted local print company, Signs Express with my proposal.

Much to my surprise, they got in contact the very next day, enthused about the project and eager to be onboard.

5 print[1]

So I pitched my vision of a vibrant wall design, installed in vinyl print, instead of a traditionally painted mural. The Council library committee were quick to get in touch and discuss my ideas – all of which were enthusiastically received.

I went away with a vague notion of creating a bold and vibrant mural, which was going to be based on reading – showing the joy of books, and how they take you out of the everyday, and into the extraordinary.


Hot off the printing press!

I wanted the design to be appealing over the age groups, bright and fun for the very young, but also to have enough design elements to be considered cool for the older kids (and hopefully enjoyed by their parents too).

Early on, I wanted to achieve a ‘pop art’ look for kids  . . . a cartoony version of those bold Peter Blake designs, with the contained boxes of colour.  I also wanted the characters to have a retro appeal, so they would be timeless.


Famous artwork by Peter Blake.

It was great fun designing each individual box, using limited colour, so that together, they would hang nicely as a bunch of interlocking, contrasting colours – creating an overall unity.

The committee were very open to my ideas.  They gave me free reign to do exactly what I wanted, which was wonderfully liberating! I even got to choose the colours of the walls and new carpets to compliment my designs.

8 installation

The installation itself, took only a day for the print team to complete, and I have to admit it was a nerve-wracking wait to see if the result would live up to my expectations — but quite honestly, they exceeded them.

The vinyl finish is great! No need to worry about mucky fingers and the colours are more vivid than I imagined — or could have ever achieved with paint. Exactly the bold graphic look I was after.

10 wall 1

9 wall 2[1]

It’s been a great project to be part of, and hopefully many children will enjoy the murals as they choose new books for a long time to come.


Fred pictured next to the finished mural, and his children enjoying the books in the new space.

So if you live in the Swindon area, be sure to visit your local library!

With huge thanks to Fred Blunt. If you’d like to know more about Fred’s illustration and picture books, you can do so here:

Picture Book Funny Man: The Art of Fred Blunt

Fred Blunt puts the funny into children’s books, with his humour making both children and adults laugh. There’s something nostalgic about his style; animated, playful and with a warm palette, his pictures and characters tell the story, making his books an all inclusive experience. Here he talks about his journey, starting out as a working illustrator, covering a broad range of markets, to the present, where he works solely on picture books, much to the delight of his readers… [Continue reading]

You can follow Fred on Instagram and Twitter

If you’d like to work with Fred, you can get in touch via his agent, Arabella Stein here.

A Stellar Year for Creator of The Bear and the Piano, David Litchfield

CoversYou only have to glance through David Litchfield’s own blog to see that this talented man owes his success, not only to the fact that he has beautiful ideas with artwork to match, but that his dedication to his audience, and the way he shares his gift means the legacy of his work will certainly stand the test of time along with greats like Maurice Sendak, and Judith Kerr.Along with all of this, David is a pleasure to work with — always happy to attend events and run workshops, he has toured the country painting bookshop windows, and even a school wall. Not only that .  . . but he has even brought The Bear and his Piano to music festivals this year, which certainly validates our founder’s long-standing claim that children’s picture book makers are the rockstars of our day.David has now been nominated for a Kate Greenaway award, for not one but two of his books: Grandad’s Secret Giant, and The Building Boy with author Ross Montgomery.In celebration of this exciting news, here are some highlights from his career so far . . .

June 2013: David talks for TedX in his home town of Bedford.

 May 2014: David joins Bright having been spotted by Anne Moore Armstrong.


“I’m going to let you into a secret now, but when I quit my full time job to become an illustrator in January 2014 I was completely terrified.

But suddenly from out of the blue I received a message from Anne Moore Armstrong who had seen some of my work on twitter and asked if I would be interested in signing for Bright and developing ideas for picture books.

And all my worries went away.” David Litchfield

[From Art School to Publication: Why Having an Agent is Key . . . read full article]

September 2015: Frances Linclon publishes The Bear and the Piano, which has now been translated into over ten languages and a beautiful electronic sounds book to boot!

Bear and Piano book covers

April 2016: David Wins The Waterstones Book Prize in best Illustrated Picture Book category.

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 15.06.38

A Bear in every window for 2016 as David tours the UK with The Bear and the Piano.


April 2017: David’s second self-penned picture book, Grandad’s Secret Giant is launched at The Bright Emporium with Frances Lincoln.


June 2017: A Giant in every bookshop window across the UK and even a mural on a school wall!


July 2017: Camp Bestival with a live perfomance of The Bear and his Band!


September 2017: The Bear and the Piano is made into an animated film by Carrot Productions and goes on tour with The Snowman this Christmas along with full orchestra and narration by Joanna Lumley. Read more here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 14.18.09

November 2017 Grandad’s Secret Giant and The Building Boy nominated for a Kate Greenaway Award 2018.

There is so much more than this — and if you’d like to have a look, visit David’s blog here.

If you’d like to work with David, you can reach him via his agent, Anne Moore Armstrong here.

You can also follow David on Instagram and Twitter.


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