Daffodils, birdsong, longer days – it can only mean spring is here!

Daffodils – tick.

Snowdrops – tick.

Birds singing more loudly – tick.

Sunshine – well, a bit, so half a tick.

Lambs gambolling in the fields – tick.

What does all this mean? It means spring, one of our favourite seasons. Yes, spring is definitely here, and we are looking forward to a super busy year ahead, illustrating some truly wonderful children’s books. We’ll tell you all about them in another blog.

However, we do like to pause every so often, so here are our musings on spring, as we ‘take five’.

childrens book illustrator

Five facts about spring.

1. Spring almost always arrives on March 20 or 21, but sometimes on the 19th. The reason the equinoxes and solstices don’t always come on the same day is that Earth doesn’t circle the sun in exactly 365 days. This year, it’s March 20.

2. The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox. The term vernal is Latin for ‘spring’, and equinox is Latin for ‘equal night’.

3. Holidays that take place in spring include Easter, Passover, April Fool’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Holi (the Hindu festival of colours).

4. Meteorological spring beings on March 1, a month when average temperatures increase by 10 degrees over the month (let’s hope they do! It’s been a bit chilly lately).

5. Children grow faster during the spring (we have no idea why, but apparently it is true!)

Five things to do in spring.

1. Visit gardens. Many will be opening up after the winter and will look gorgeous – a riot of colourful tulips, daffs and crocuses.

2. Spring clean the house. You could do a room at a time, or only do one room altogether (a few cobwebs never hurt anyone).

3. Start a new project. There’s nothing like spring for inspiring us to get cracking on a new hobby.

4. Get outside. At Happydesigner, our daily walks happen all year round, but in spring, with buds unfurling and blossom – well – blossoming, it is especially joyful.

5. Write your memoirs. Even if you never become a published author, your children, grandchildren, friends and family will love reading about your experiences.

childrens book illustrator

Five is a magic number.

Well, it is when it comes to children. Just off the top of our heads, we can think of:

1. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five – Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog.

2. Five Children and It, E Nesbitt’s brilliant story about five children who uncover a rather grumpy, ugly, and occasionally malevolent Psammead (a sand fairy – no, we’d never heard of one either).

3. Fives is a game where a ball is propelled against the walls of a three or four-sided special court, using a gloved or bare hand as though it were a racquet.

4. Fingerbobs was a fantastic children’s programme in the ’70s, where the presenter, Yoffy, used his five fingers as a glove puppet to tell a story. The main puppet characters were Fingermouse, Gulliver, Scampi and Flash, and only 14 programmes were ever made.

5. Five school days, and then it’s the weekend – always worth celebrating!

Goodbye to a children’s book legend

Photo source: The Guardian

We want to pay tribute to the wonderful Shirley Hughes, renowned children’s book author and illustrator, who died recently at the age of 94.

We so loved her series of ‘Alfie’ books, her Dogger picture book and the astounding drawings she created for the ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ series, written by Dorothy Evans.

Shirley’s passing comes two years after we lost Judith Kerr, whose wonderful books included The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the ‘Mog the cat’ series.

Both inspiring illustrators and writers. We can walk in their footsteps…

If you are also an aspiring children’s book author and would like some help with illustrations, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch for an informal chat.

Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication. Sarah is a fantastic illustrator! It is nice to know I have worked with someone who is so professional at her job, and will certainly remember her for the future if I need another book illustrating."
  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • "I am absolutely thrilled with the colours and love the look and overall feel of the book, its so different and unique, thank you so much"
  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis