My name is Sarah-Leigh Walton… (formerly known as Sarah-Leigh Wills)


I am an award winning Designer, Artist and Children’s Book Illustrator based in North Cornwall, UK.
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  • children's book illustrator

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I have spent many years within the Arts and media sector, designing and  teaching, and have a gained a huge amount of experience by working with clients & students worldwide. Many people ask me what I like about illustrations and design, For me its not work, its a pleasure. If I could wake up and do the same job everyday, I would choose illustration!

When I’m not out walking on the moors, playing our record collection or causing a row playing my drums or banjo, I’m a Children’s book illustrator, I have a huge passion for children’s picture books and a big collection. I don’t like reading biographies or novels! I have a child’s imagination,  which allows me to create the fun and quirky style that children just adore, and most of all that make’s them laugh.

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Where it all started…

When I was in college I discovered a passion for design, You see I have been able to draw since I can remember, and this carried me through school. I started out wanting to be a vet, like most 13yr old girls but realised that my path in life involved pencil and paper!

I grew a passion for drawing animals at the age of 8. I would spend hours just drawing, rubbing out and re-drawing. I knew from that day that drawing animals was something that I would be able to do on a daily basis for the rest of my days, so what better than to make a career of it!

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So thats where it all started, I went to college and studied a National Diploma in Graphic design, I then went on to study at Falmouth University on the BA(hons) Graphic design course. It was here that I won my first award, First in the UK & Ireland in the DAF (design against fur) Award, 2007. Which my work was featured at the London Design Festival.

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How Happydesigner started…

Happydesigner was founded in 2007. When i was in college I wanted to become a freelance designer. Working for myself seemed the perfect job! I managed to get a few hours a week working for a local design company Richard Quick Design, in Penryn in Cornwall. Here i was able to gain industry experience, Live clients, live briefs, quick turnaround deadlines! I was working with local website developers, printers and have built up a great knowledge of the way things should function within a company. I then decided… “If i can do this for someone else, why not just do it for myself” So thats when i decided to make a professional business for myself!  Since that day i have been working with hundreds of clients across the world, including Pets at Home, Respect for Animals, British Airways, Sky and TalkCoach. I have worked with agencies in the past including Printing.com, Cornwall College and Crunchers.

Teaching experience…watercolour-illustrator

When I left falmouth & Richard Quick I went on to study a PGCE (teaching degree) as I had a passion for teaching my design skills. I went on to teach for 2 years on a foundation degree at Cornwall College. I worked as a visiting lecturer for several campus’ across cornwall including St Austell College & Falmouth University teaching on the Graphic Design Degree course. My fuel as a teacher was to give student s the true vision to the graphics world, Its hard going and takes years of dedication to succeed and wanted my students to ready for the hard critical world that awaited them! Being a freelancer myself, and having in-house experience I was able to bring live briefs/clients into the classroom, let them engage with local contacts, printers/developers!

But I always had a string tied within me that always pulled me back to becoming a Children’s Picture book artist!

Working with Clickety Books…

One day I had a very interesting conversation with the Mr Craig Green in regards to drawing some animals! Myself and Craig knew each other when we were working for separate companies. It was Craig’s idea to create a new educational resource for his son, whom struggled with speech and language. All the resources that were available were not to his liking and they felt a need to develop something more fun and engaging for children with similar issues! We started off with one character ‘Jacqueline The Black Alpaca‘ and we now have reached double figures! I am currently well known for my cheeky styling with the Clickety Books range. I have been working with the company for 5 years now, specialising in speech and language resources for children of all ages. You can see more of my Clickety books work here: www.clicketybooks.co.uk

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illustrator-happydesignerSince I left college I knew that I wanted to become a successful Children’s picture book illustrator. And working with Clickety Books has given me the confidence and knowledge of the book world, what children like and respond well to and also what sells! So with all of this… You can see how I am where I am today!

Personal Projects

  • Always original, creative and professional work.
  • Always up for a chat to support you along the way!
  • Unmatched method of working in that there is no company to deal with, no departments and no big boss man! just one on one meetings and conversations focused on your project!
  • A professional design that can be applied to any medium, any format.
  • and always with a SMILE!

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Here’s some quirky facts about me:

Im certainly born out of my time! I love old music, clothes and am a little bit of an old fart at heart! I like the simple life… stay at home, baking and enjoying family life together! But then there’s the little rock chic in me that loves to get out and have a good old boogie or Jive at a local gig or concert! But really i’m just the typical arty person! Likes random things, Collects random objects…. That sort of thing! Here’s a few quirky facts about me:

  • sarah-leigh-wills-childrens-illustratorI LOVE fruit! Should have been a fruit Bat!
  • I LOVE to make lists! 
  • I LOVE the 70’s – I think I am re-incarnated!
  • I have very clicky joints!… not a good thing really!
  • My work-related idol is Roald Dahl.
  • My favourite movies are the Marvel Movies.
  • I LOVE vinyl records! we have THOUSANDS!
  • I am turning into a Haribo gummy bear!
  • I am only 5ft 1 (all good things come in small packages my dad tells me)
  • I am a keen British coin collector! I have thousands of the things!
  • Im learning to play the Banjo and Fiddle!! 🙂
  • I play the Drums: Congas/Bongos/Electric… anything I can tap really!!

 

Some of my recent Logo designs:

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How I charge for jobs….

I have no set fee because every project is different! I will happily negotiate for those on smaller budgets and also offer package deals to make some big savings.

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Enough of my waffling!

Not answered everything? Do you still have questions… Visit my FAQ page to find out more about my services

You want to see what I can do, right? Well just grab yourself a cuppa, slap on some good tunes and have a good old nose around the site! If you’d like to find out a bit more, just drop me a message! I really would love to hear about you and your exciting project! Thanks for visiting and please come back soon! Sarah, aka Happydesigner!

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