Post archive

I Don't Know How I Feel

This lovely book is out now, published by Cary Press;

I Don't Know How I feel by Durdana Yusef (illustrations by me)

"The topic of feelings is still a taboo subject for young boys. Boys are brought up to be "brave", "strong", "no crying" and to keep their feelings hidden. This, at times, creates all kinds of behavioral problems for our children. It is time to help our sons to be okay with exploring the topic of feelings, without getting pressure from society to do otherwise. Being sensitive to others' feelings as well as their own will help them to grow up to be good men. It is un-cool to be stoic."

Chapter book Illustrations

It's been fantastic working in black and white (and some shades of grey)! I'm just finishing working on a children's chapter book by Tammi Landry-Gilder about Colin Cooper, a fourth grader who is very easily distracted but takes this and turns it to his advantage as Mr. Distracted!


A chance to draw TONS of kids :)

Was happy to be contacted via my Facebook page by author, Kratryna Woods, she needed illustrations for a children's book and I got stuck in, a perfect client, clear brief, excellent communication and a lovely project, here are a couple of illustrations from inside...

(My Facebook page should anyone fancy visiting and liking it :D )

Kate Takes the Cake!

I so love this project, I had two maltese for many years, I miss them greatly but I do with someone had told me early on that chocolate and grapes are bad for dogs! So this new project by Suzanne Walcher, is a lesson in what not to feed your dogs, FANTASTIC!

Yoga on the farm!

Have completed illustrating this children's yoga book, Sally's Visit to the Farm by Giselle Shardlow from 
A brilliant idea, using animals and a story to encourage children to try yoga.

The Postman Cometh!

The lovely postman knocked today interrupting my work (actually, I was having a break and doing my online grocery shop)

He had not one but two parcels! Two sets of books I'd illustrated at the end of last year, 'What are your Superpowers? by Target Wincent and The Ghosts in the Castle by Zetta Elliott. They look fantastic, sadly my photos don't do them justice. I can draw with such a steady hand but with everything else my hand shakes

Ghosts in the Castle

What if...

(that's how all good stories begin)

...what if two African children found themselves

with Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle

in England?

What if...

...more than a hundred years later,

an eight-year-old girl from Brooklyn met

the ghosts of those two children

while touring the castle?

That's just what happens in...

Zaria has dreamed of England for as long as she can remember—according to the many novels she’s read, everything magical happens there! When her grandfather suffers a stroke, Zaria and her mother head to London to help care for him. Zaria reads fantastic tales to her grandfather every afternoon, and she’s thrilled to discover that her cousin Winston shares her love of wands, wizards, and mythical creatures. But Zaria soon finds that life in London is actually quite ordinary—until she goes on a day trip to nearby Windsor Castle. There Zaria meets two extraordinary ghosts who need help finding their way back to the African continent they once called home.

What are your Superpowers?

I'm excited to announce 'What are your Superpowers by Marget Wincent and illustrated by myself is available to purchase:

Discover the Superpowers in all children by reading this book with "littles" you love. Each colorful, rhyming page reveals children at work and play, demonstrating their love of dancing, acting, using their service dog to achieve, having sensitive hearing or even using a picture schedule. This book was written to share with families and elementary classrooms to promote the idea that awareness of one's unique abilities develops a community of pride, acceptance and inclusion. Celebrating all children is the theme of this book, written for the K-4th grade audience. A wonderful gift for children, educators, church libraries, Child Life departments in hospitals and clinic waiting rooms.

Far Beyond The Treetops!

Far Beyond the Treetops by Stephanie Captain (illustrations by me) is out on the shelves!

Book Blurb...

Soaring to new heights on imagination and positivity, this ode to self-confidence inspires kids to unapologetically pursue their dreams no matter where the journey takes them in the big world. Recognizing the importance of her life, the pride of where she comes from, and her innate ability to be great in any circumstance, this little girl is flying through life on her own terms and leaving naysayers behind. Both silly and serious, Steph Captain's vibrant rhyming text and Charity Russell's dazzling illustrations unite in a book that is daring, diverse--and will dwell deep in the hearts of generations.

Here's a review of the book:

and here's where to get hold of it...

Layers and Revisions

Due to image revisions and changes I've come to separating my illustrations, backgrounds and then characters, sometimes I forget and draw the whole picture and then I get asked to move one character to the left and make him shorter etc. Then I think, Why didn't I do them separately!? 
Here I did it as planned and I was rather happy with my Ethiopian shop but then thought, why did I bother with all those necklaces!? 


Stickers and good manners :)

I'm enjoying working on a children's picture book about social skills,a lot of basic good manners and social etiquette and I'm looking forward to seeing it with stickers, I've not illustrated a book with stickers before, it's really excited me. I do have a 'thing' for stickers, my laptop furnishes rather a few!


I've made the final revisions to a new children's book I've been working on about superpowers, children with superpowers, not like invisibility or the ability to smell who ate your bar of chocolate but superpowers, like reading with ones fingertips (which is just amazing!)

Getting my teeth into Treetops!

I can definitely say that it's more enjoyable to illustrate some children's stories over others. Just some get the imagination going and I'll say it, I can get my teeth into. It's easier for me to draw when all the ideas are filling my brain and the pictures already exist in the mind, I think it's the characters that often make want to draw them. This new book I'm illustrating is so good, I like the words, I love the message and I can't stop drawing the little girl! :D Here's a peak at an early drawing...

Bulldog Blossoms

Happy to say that Bulldog Blossoms is now available to purchase, here's the blurb...

it's a wonderful story about a little girl and a bulldog and their mutual interests.
Blossom simply loves flowers, especially those growing at the big yellow house on her street.
She likes to visit often, as much as she can, but there’s a Bulldog who lives there! His name is Stan.
Now the people who own Stan say he’s kind and won’t bite.
But how can that be? He gives Blossom such a fright!
Find out what happens when Blossom and Stan finally meet.

It's the third book by Hawaiian author Richard Spelman that I've illustrated, here's a link to Superman's webpage...

Ruqaya's Bookshelf

Just got home to discover a little book delivery from Canada, I love a hand written envelope :D I know it means it's good news, nasty post comes from machine people that have the ability to print address labels ;)

Sushi Instructions

I was on Facebook messenger with my mum yesterday and she said she wanted to make sushi but didn't know how so, I replied with pointers and then thought, you just need pictures, so I did a little diagram for her.

I'm a massive sushi fan, it's my favourite food and my son's. My helper in the kitchen enjoying a chef's perk, sushi rice is always yummier from the saucepan :)

Working with Rich and Larry again :)

So happy to be working on a new book by the most talented Rich Spelman and the great publishing company Larry Czerwonka. A new book about flowers, a dog and a little girl called Blossom...

Sunderland University Illustration Alumni Exhibition

The University where I did my Masters Degree is currently exhibiting some of my work and other alumni folk, so if you're in the area please have a look in, sadly I'm in London and can't go, I'm hoping someone will take some photos and share :D (Photo shared and added, thanks Sara Gibbeson, my work is the rectangle on the right, three illustrations from 'A Wave Came Through Our Window' and the two images below from my actual Masters degree in 2012)

School Event with Amelia's Hair

I recently came upon this post about Amelia's Hair on Facebook, it was absolutely fantastic to see the children's drawing of Amelia! I've recently started working on a new book by Richard Spelman, I'm really enjoying it and so happy to be working on a traditional book again as I've been busy with a children's animated e-book series the last couple of months. 

Wraptious Cushion Competition

Here are my entries in the Wraptious Cushion Competition :)

The images are from the Folio competition and thought I'd give them a new lease of life. They are inspired from stories in the book, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter...
the first; Puss (from Puss-in-Boots)

They are available to by here:

The second; Hood (from Wolf-Alice/Little Red Riding Hood) 

Finally; Beard (The Bloody Chamber/Bluebeard)

The Moon Princess of Emne

The Moon Princess of Emne by River Lotus  is out and about in the virtual shops now, a story about a, you've guessed it, Moon Princess. 

The Moon Princess of Emne is a story of a young girls ritual passage into womanhood. 

Rori celebrates the beginning of her moon cycle with the women on the famous Celtic Isle of Emne (The Island of Women). 

This is a gentle story of celebrated womanhood and the rites of passage for a young girl.

Best Children's Books of the Year 2016

What brilliant news, Zetta Elliott's, A Wave Came Through Our Window, has been listed amongst The Bank Street Centre for Literature's, Best Children's Books of the Year! 

And it's been given 'Outstanding Merit'! (age category 5-8)
What a great thing to read when it's Saturday and I've woken up well before my alarm goes off on weekdays...Feeling very happy grin emoticon

Reading Amelia's Hair at Whiting's Hill Primary school

Today I was invited to read at Whiting's Hill Primary School to Year 1, one of the other parents invited said that I should read one of the books I've illustrated and though I was a bit nervous to do this I took the plunge and selected Amelia's Hair by Rich Spelman (which spellcheck always changes to Superman!).

The kids loved it and really found it funny, especially the image where Amelia is bald :D 
It was great to see the reactions and made me very happy to be illustrator for such a funny story.

The Brown Bookshelf favourite books 2015

So happy to see, Let The faithful Come' by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by me is one of the favourites on the Brown Bookshelf!

Happy New Year and Somebody Loves You!

I recently completed illustrating this lovely story for Nicola Rispoli-Hall 

"If ever you are worried, all you have to keep you call, somebody who loves you is asleep just down the hall" Somebody who loves you is an illustrated poem using rhyming verse to ease the anxieties of nightime amoungst children."

My.Sunderland Interview

A lovely review of, Let the Faithful Come' by Zetta Elliott (and illustrated by me)

Banner Time

I decided that my banner (or header) really needed to be updated, I liked the old one but a change is as good as a rest, I wanted something more colourful and personal.

I decided to use my name as a place for children to play in/on: 

Yasmine's Belly Button has been published

Let the Faithful Come

I've just finished working on some illustrations for a Christmas book, Let the Faithful Come by Zetta Elliott. Lots of night scenes and shadows and light :)



A Wave came through Our Window

I've just recently completed the illustrations for the book, A Wave came Through Our Window by Zetta Elliott. A beautiful and funny story about two little New York girl's, I'll add links once it's published. Here's a page in it's original layered black and white and then all coloured in...

Bertie's Bath

So happy to be working on another project with author Rich Spelman, this time a boy with abultophobia!

Parcels in the post including one full of BOOKS!

Parcels in the post including one full of BOOKS! Thanks Larry Czerwonka  :D That's me with my books in my pj's!


Barkley's Breakfast

I have just finished illustrating a children's bilingual book called, Barkley's Breakfast. It is to be in English and Spanish, which is brilliant as I've decided to start learning Spanish myself, I even managed to go over to Spain whilst working on the book! 

Yasmine's Belly Button

Really enjoyed illustrating this story about a little girl discovering her curious belly button and what it all means.

Anunnaki Awakening Book Cover

Recently was asked to do an illustration for a book cover, Anunnaki Awakening. 

Disaster! Not a single working pen!

I really should throw my pens away when the start getting bald spots in their flow, I thought I had loads in my pencil case and it turns out none of the work!

Secrets of Vitalia

This was a lovely project, a fantasy adventure story with a few scattered black and white line illustrations throughout and the cover. 

The Light in the Dark

I was recently commissioned to illustrate a book cover for a Christian book called, 'The Light in the Dark' by Madge Du Preez.

Scarlet the Super Snow Woman

Illustration for a children's book cover called, 'Scarlet the Super Snow Woman' by Carol Wisewell.

Betsy Bumble Bee

I've recently finished illustrations for a storybook about bumble bees and it's now available at Amazon...

Betsy Bumble Bee leads the way in this adventure of flowers and gardens, love and heartache. Each page is packed with things about the bumblebee that you probably did not know. Were you aware that bumblebees spin silk cocoons? Or that they live longer in the tropics than in colder climates? Betsy’s story is a great way to learn all about the bumblebee and you’ll come across a few universal life lessons in the pages as well.

Betsy Bumble is a story you won’t soon forget, and one that will forever change how you look at bumblebees.

Amelia's Hair!

I've just finished the illustrations for a new children's book called, Amelia's Hair by Rich Spelman. I was so happy to get the opportunity to illustrate it. I was sent the story and loved it, Rich Spelman's story is just brilliant, he has a real talent! A wonderful tale about a little girl and her messy (VERY MESSY) hair :) For those of you who know me you'll know I have a four year old little boy who has never cut his hair, when straight it falls below his bum, so I am all very used to the battle of the dreaded brush! Oddly my daughter had (has) long hair but I don't recall any fuss.
















El Tendedero (The Clothes Hanger)

I've just completed working on an unusual project, well for me unusual as it's not a children's book. I had to design an installation and also the magazine cover for a campaign from Viva Responsible ( ) to encourage and promote reading and the arts in Mexico. I found it very refreshing and loved designing the temporary  mobile stall, that will be set up in coffee shops, libraries and the like.













Sockmonster is GO!

YIPPEE! Sockmonster and Friends have made it to print... well to pixel!
If you have little ones or could do with some encouragement on good habits, please check them out.









'Ever wonder where lost socks go? You must have noticed they ...disappear from time to time, never to be seen again. What most people don't know is that the socks are stolen by a little creature called the Sockmonster. This tiny thief isn't the mastermind behind the sock stealing operation, he takes his orders from a group of troublemakers called the Dustbunnies. One day Sockmonster decided he didn't want to steal socks anymore. He teamed up with two friends: Toothy, who loves dental hygene and keeping the bathroom neat, and Hampy, a gentle giant who likes a tidy bedroom. Together they are the Sockbuddies, dedicated to going on adventures and helping children everywhere learn good household habits. Join them as they navigate the last great frontier: the common house. Adventures with the Sockbuddies can perilous and other times mysterious, but above all, they are always fun.'

Titles include: Toothbrush Rescue; Airplane Adventure and Cave Explorers, links to the app store are here

Toxic River Complete!

The final adjustments have been approved and Jamie and Jemma's Toxic River is complete. Book 3 from the series. I have a few days off and Book 4 can begin, it's odd to have no projects on the go for a few days, it feels pretty nice but I prefer to be working. Saying that my MA degree tutor contacted me a few weeks ago about a 'post course' exhibition for all the past illustration students, who knows maybe something exciting will come through that.

The illustration below is a rejected illustration for the book but one of my favourites.

FaceBook Competition

My first Personalised book competition was won by Gemma Jackson Brown who wished for her youngest son to be illustrated in my book called, In The Book. Funnily enough his name happened to be Jack and it became a brilliant title, Jack in the Book! Serendipitous.












Over The Wall with Jemma and Jamie

The second book of Jemma and Jamie is finished and the third book in the series, Toxic River is well under way.











Light is off to Portugal














I've posted my illustrations off to Portugal today to be entered into this bi-annual competition. A real big one with some 1600 entries in 2012 from 62 countries. A great prize though of 5000 € (first prize) and for the selected few a chance to go on exhibition.

Win a Personalised book by Xmas 2013...

Mexican Campaign

I've just started illustrating for a Mexican company, a campaign about healthy diet and sensible eating. Mexico now being the world's No. 1 in Obesity.

First Illustration has been posted on their website and many more are to follow. They are also running a Facebook page for the campaign, links for both below.

Facebook Page

Yay! I've finally put a facebook page up for my illustration, been meaning to do it for ages but yesterday decided to stop sitting on my laurels and put it together. I didn't realise that I'd bombard friends 'Home walls' so apologies to said friends if this occurred. As with everything on Facebook there are clever little addictive 'game-like' attributes, I have 29 likes so far but need 30 in order to get an 'insight into page activity', wonder what the next milestone is.

African Tales with

A set of stories I illustrated in monoprints has been published online today (well one so far, The Greedy Bat). Amazing site and I love African fables, I was born in Zambia and raised mostly in South Africa so these stories I'm very fond of.

Cyclone Jemma on Amazon

Cyclone Jemma was launched as a kindle book on Amazon today. The writer and co-creator have hired me to work on the sequel, Over the wall. All going pretty smoothly but due to a meeting with a publisher I have to work pretty quickly, hopefully after the first 56 page book the characters have become second nature to draw.













Society of Bookbinders international competition

Just received an email from my bookbinder, Glenn Malkin ( saying he has completed binding my story 'Light' for his entry into The Society of Bookbinders international competition 2013.

'The photos attached show the binding along with its box - it is bound in full yellow Oasis goatskin, airbrushed with acrylic ink. The lettering on the front is inlaid leather with the character in dyed onlaid calf and goatskin. The front and rear doublures (the inside of the covers) are in goat suede. The book edge is dyed with acrylic ink. The drop-back box is covered in yellow and black book cloth and is lined with suede. The front design is hot-tooled carbon. The book is sewn directly onto the mull, with simple hand made headbands and is case-bound.'

The Society exhibits the entries at Leeds Metropolitan University (Headingly campus) on the 30th and 31st of august.

It's very exciting and I wish Glenn Malkin the best of luck!





























The Factory That Made Guns

My copies of 'The factory that made Guns' from the Awaken your Kids Books by Dalia Mae Lachlan (and illustrated by me) arrived in the post today. Really impressed with the quality and amazed at MASSIVE size, thought it was going to be half of what it is!

Here's my 3 year old son enjoying a good read ...





I'm working on a new series of books for an American company, when the story is one I can imagine reading to my 3 year old at night, it's always easy to work on. I can't wait to get them finished so I can show him and read along.

















Illustrating Global Warming...

I'm currently illustrating a long educational book for a couple of Australian gentlemen. It's a subject that very much concerns me and it's nice to see that some people still believe that educating young people about the fact that they can have an influence on the health of the world is possible and important.

Pozible Campaign...

Dee McLachlan has launched her series of books 'Awaken Your Kids' (including my illustrations in 'The Factory that made Guns') with a Pozible campaign... Link here to the main page:

Also link to Facebook page:

Whoopie! Runner up!

Yay I just got an email from The Over The Hills and Far Away Competition, through Seven Stories

I got second place in my category for my illustration 'OUT'



















I have completed my first Adobe Illustrator tutorials and am really excited with my new vector illustrations! They may not be that much but I am getting a steady handle on working in Illustrator and also learning some things in Photoshop (I arrogantly thought I knew it all). I plan on using them as clothing patterns for the children's book competition I am currently working on.

The Gun Factory

(screenshot from website promoting book

The Factory that Made Guns is finished, very quick turnaround a reflection of good communication. I do hope it does well.







Awaken Your Kids!

I'm currently working on a children's book called The Factory that Made Guns, in fact I really ought to be working on it now but want to share the website for the Creators (and my profile on it)

Googling Oneself

I just googled myself, well the pseudonym I used to work under, Fern Wood, and found a new book out there that at the time hadn't found a publisher. A great story and one of my fastest reads, so very happy to see Lyn Lockwood's work out on the market. I can't wait for the next books, who needs to be a teenager.

Windscape (The Knife in the Wind)


After illustrating some of Wayfarers (in 2008 as Fern Wood) I was invited to LeGrog

In Black and White


Some samples I did for e-postcards today. I am always in two minds about samples, I know few services which offer samples and many don't supply a portfolio. I often worry that the work is just taken.











I have started my next children's book, exciting. A follow up from Light but called Dark, though it has words and the main character is a little boy. There's still a monster in it though and of course a great imagination.

First Class MA !!!!!

Just received my final grade for my Masters Degree in Illustration and Design and am so delighted with a dinstinction :)

Final Show

After what seemed an era our final exhibition opened it's doors last night and a good amount of visitors came and rifled through our books and sketchbooks (I really should stop writing random thoughts in my sketchbooks). The wine flowed and my son managed to get stuck in a chair! A very entertaining evening.


Masters of the Illustration

Making Toys

I love to make my 2D images into 3D objects, sometimes to help with continuity and sometimes to make them real. Here are some toys made from the 'Monster' toy the little girl has during her adventure. Originally intended to be a black dog to represent depression it evolved as did the story. It became blue and then a reflection of her imagination and fear of the dark.


Binding Books

I managed to find a brilliant book binder, Glenn Malkin, to bind my final book for my MA course. After a great deal of toing and froing with emails my final book was printed and bound and delivered a few weeks later and the award winning binder plans to use my book design for a competition he enters each year (2013).


Glenn Malkin

London Trip

This time last week I was getting ready to head off down to London. I left at 11.45 pm and had a strange journey of neither really sleeping nor being awake. I arrived early on the Thursday morning ready to meet up with my university lecturer, one other MA student and about 20 BA third year students.

First stop the Guardian. A fantastic building (they do great almond croissants at their cafe) what became clear from meeting with Roger Browning and Sarah Habershon is that the belts have been tightened on illustration.

It was great to meet with them, hear how the paper works and the design within that. I hope to send some work but am a little scared.

The afternoon led us to a meeting at Walker Books with freelance talent spotter, Loiuse Power. I found this meeting very insightful. It's really much about the money, there's little experiment or gamble which means they keep to a known formula and it has very tight requirements.

I'd love to send some work but will have to change my work in order to send a sample. But it Looks like Mini and the bunnies may be having a facelift.









I left that night for another coach trip of little sleep... a quick visit but one full of inspiration.

Primary Research

Well it's time to start getting some feedback on my work from the people that it's aimed at.

I've written to a school and am hoping that I'll be able to take my MA book, 'Lost Little Lights' in for some feedback and see if it works at all.

Does she really need a reason to go into that tunnel, if so do we as readers need to know what it is?

So now I just have to figure out how to get a Twitter going on the book.


Bloody Chamber and the Folio Society

I receive many competition emails from my lecturer and most have to be paid for, so I can't afford them all and have to pick the one/s that I really want to do and this year I got the chance. Years ago I joined the Folio Society, I accumilated a lovely selection of illustrated books, illustrated books for adults too, there really aught to be more. Anyhow, today I entered my three illustrations and cover design for 'The Bloody Chamber' (A book I already owned and had even done pictures for yonks ago!). I'm happy with them.

African Stories

It's been a very busy week and I am nearly finished illustrating African stories for an American client. I'm happy with the work so far. I love illustrating stories that are great to read. This is an illustration about a naughty hunter.


End of Term

Thursday was the end of Term and Module 2 of my MA. Essay handed in and Assessment complete. I'm hoping that it all went well, I received good feedback and encouraging critisism.

I decided to enter the V&A student illustration competition with a couple of double page spreads from my book, 'Little Blue Dog' or 'Little Lost Lights' (I can't decide on the title at this point). Some amazing illustrators have entered.


Xmas Card

As the Christmas lights are being switched on I find it remarkable that another year has flown by. I thought a blog might be a good way of keeping a record of the work I've done and a journal of it and it's development.

I start with the good news that I won the Sunderland University Christmas card competition last week.

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