My name is 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 book illustrator uk

Hi, I’m Sarah! I have spent many years within the arts and media sector, primarily designing and teaching. Through this, I have a gained a huge amount of experience by working with clients and students worldwide. Many people ask me what I like about illustration and design. For me, it’s not work, it’s 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 of them. 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, just as importantly, makes them laugh.

childrens book illustrator

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 many 13 year-old girls, but I quickly realised that my path in life involved pencil and paper.

I cultivated a passion for drawing animals at the age of eight. I would spend hours just drawing, rubbing out and re-drawing. I knew from then 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!

So that’s where it all started. I went to college and studied a National Diploma in Graphic design, and 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, which was first place in the UK & Ireland in the DAF (Design Against Fur) Award 2007. My work was featured at the London Design Festival.


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, Cornwall. Here I was able to gain industry experience of live clients, live briefs and quick turnaround deadlines! I was working with local website developers and printers, and have built up a great knowledge of the way things should function within a company. I then thought well, if I can do this kind of work for someone else, why not just do it for myself? So that’s 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, Cornwall College and Crunchers.

Teaching Experiencewatercolour-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 7 years now, specialising in speech and language resources for children of all ages. You can see more of my Clickety books work here:

clickety books

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!

Little facts about me…

  • Always have 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! …. thats free!

Personal Projects

I have recently (FINALLY) plucked up the courage to start on my OWN series! After working on over 140 books for other Authors, its time for my me to set to creating my own series… So I’m proud to present GILLIE.

You can see more about my project here

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 60’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 anything Sci-fi/Thriller.
  • 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 currently learning to play the Bass Guitar & Banjo!! 🙂
  • I play the Drums: Congas/Bongos/Electric… anything I can tap really!!
  • Im in a band called ELECTRONIX (playing 80s synth pop classics!)


Some of my recent Logo designs:

  • lazygrill-logo

  • songlarks-logo

  • discoveryleisure-logo

  • logo design

  • barkingbooks

  • Bethel

  • logo design

  • fancyprints

  • logo design

  • seeclickfix

  • logo-design

  • laidbackcoffee-logo

  • logo design

  • captainglamtastic

  • MG-logo-design

  • driveguru

  • gigglingbaby

  • henna-logo

  • LL-logo-design

  • getactive-logo

  • logo design

  • logo design happydesigner

  • happydesigner logo design

  • clicketybooks

  • HJ-logo-design

  • ryanschest

  • kangeroofitness-logo

  • cecile

  • logo design

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.

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!