Similarity – What Every Illustrator Should Know

Childrens Illustration, Design, General
I designed some new greetings cards this week. Thinking ‘These are so unique!’, I dutifully sent them off to my agent. Being the impatient soul that I am, I keep checking to see if they’ve been added to their site. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a dynamic banner at the top of the page. It’s showing someone else’s card designs. The style and subject matter look very similar to mine. I panic. Is this person going to think I copied them? Are mine now completely useless? A feeling of hopelessness replaces the excitement I had at creating something different

This isn’t the first time this has happened.

Granny's House In 2011, I created an ink and watercolour called ‘Granny’s House‘. It’s a limited palette work, using only prussian blue, red and black. It was just so original. I thought. A search on Little Red Riding Hood a few months later threw back lots of the same thing. On one, I even left a comment stating something along the lines of ‘Lovely…I did one like this…Earlier’, just in case the artist in question saw mine and thought I’d ripped him off.

It’s not even the second time this has happened.

pirat Early 2012, before Pi-Rat! was released (but after the final art was submitted),the fantastic Julia Donaldson released The Highway Rat…GAAHH! It looked like I’d jumped on the rat bandwagon. People all over the land would cry ‘Who does she think she is! Fancy trying to out-rat Julia…’ But it was fine. Those nightmares about my publisher calling me to say they’d had a change of heart didn’t come true. And Pi-Rat! has since been short-listed for “Read It Again!” The Cambridgeshire Children’s Picture Book Award 2014. Yay!

If you felt beforehand that the idea you came up with wasn’t as original as you thought, you’d be far less likely to start anything in the first place. You wouldn’t feel the motivation and exhilaration that comes with a new sketch or storyline.  You’d judge your work based on all the minutely similar designs and manuscripts that were already out there and end up throwing yours in the bin or a tantrum…Not helpful to the creative process.

tantrum-sequence800 If I’d seen those card designs on my agents’ site before submitting mine, then I wouldn’t have submitted mine at all. And they aren’t THAT similar. As a matter of fact, if they weren’t my designs, I wouldn’t have been so quick to compare.  But that’s the point. If you look too much, you’ll give yourself a whole host of reasons not to get your work out there. If you do anything other than scratch the surface with your research, you could give yourself a case of paranoiac-creative-block.

Nobody should design  in a vacuum, we all know what that breeds, but once you’re committed to a piece of work, go with it. Even if halfway through that work, a high-profile artist/illustrator/writer/photographer/singer/dancer/poet announces something similar. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s original.

The moral of the story is, this happens quite a bit. So don’t panic. Similar is not the same. Similar is how fashions and trends grow. [Copying shouldn’t be confused with ‘similar’. Artists who copy are not artists, they’re imitators. A completely different breed.] 

Goops, Kittens, Elephants, Tigers…

Childrens Illustration, Childrens Writing, General, General

…Four fabulous reasons why I haven’t updated my blog since 2012. I’ve been working with Top That, Blue Rabbit and Caterpillar on some lovely books and jigsaws you’ll be able to see over the next 12 months or so.

I’m also working with Secret Singer-Songwriter Society – more details soon but in the meantime, hop on over and offer your support.

The Secret Singer-Songwriter Society has chosen the motto “Music That Matters” to symbolize the connection between the creative output of artists and the significant impact that a single song can have on a charitable cause’s fundraising efforts. ”Music That Matters” reflects our attitude towards a truly reciprocal way of looking at philanthropy: one in which all parties benefit from a common source…MUSIC!


I drew a Penguin, joining in with Penguinfest on Twitter – go and see the others @maybeswabey or visit the fabulous Book Sniffer Facebook page!


And last but not least, my debut children’s book, Pi-Rat, will be available from August 5th 2013 from all good bookshops (online and on the high street). Click on the cover for more details!


Stars on Canvas 2012

Childrens Illustration, General, General, Links


If I’ve already hassled you on Twitter or Facebook then chances are you already know about Stars on Canvas and their charity auction.

If you don’t then you really need to go here and read all about The Willow Foundation and the fantastic work they do.

Then you need to hop over to eBay for a look at all the gorgeous artwork for sale, choose one you like and make a bid if you can. If you fancy owning my canvas, please go here to bid:

Thanks for reading x

Book Dummy – Newsflash!

Childrens Illustration, Childrens Writing, General, Resources

Well, it would have been a newsflash if I’d updated sooner…As it stand’s, it’s just news. But great, fantastic, brilliantly-brilliant news.

My little tiny book dummy is going to be a real book. I signed a contract with Caterpillar Books a couple of weeks ago and will be starting work in January 2012.

Watch this space and don’t forget to look out for Caterpillar Books on Twitter and Facebook

Lauren, Bright and Caterpillar Books – Thank you all for being so amazing x


A Tiny Tantrum

Childrens Illustration, General

Character development – I think I’ll call her Amelia…

Birthday Badger…

Childrens Illustration, General

I have been busy, honest! I’m sorting through and cataloguing all of my recent work so I’ll post some new illustrations here as I get to them – the rest are available over at Bright or in my web portfolio. First up – Mr. Badger…

Cow and Bird…(and a few giraffes)

Childrens Illustration, General

Oh I’m hopeless, I know. It feels like last week since I was last on here but I can see from the dates it was a good few months. I haven’t been completely lazy, I’ve been making cuddly wabbids mainly but thought I’d better skip back to the job in hand, and the job in hand was this:

Watercolour on A3 Bockingford

And these:

Imaginary Giraffes