Happydesigner Piggy Post: News & Features from November 2023


As announced in our September blog, we are pleased (and VERY relieved) to announce that we are now settled into our new home, and the studio is back to full operation. The move proved to be far more problematic than we ever anticipated, but, in hindsight, we should have expected some surprises when transferring everything across from a fairly modern building to a property that is over 400 years old, with all the quirks and peculiarities that come with it! Still, it is a wonderful place to work and be creative, and has already shown it will provide us with a bottomless pit of ideas and inspiration for our future projects!

October/November Overview

With the move, things have been a little stop/start during October, and this extended well into November. In fact, the technical and logistical issues we faced forced us into having to close the studio for a short period while we sorted things out. However, even with all of the difficulties, Sarah has STILL been able to produce some quality work, including completing the latest book for the Signing Friends series, and producing many other beautiful illustrations for other books that are currently in the final stages of production. One piece of work worthy of special mention, is that Sarah completed the Christmas book for the Tawny Owl Wood series that we are producing in collaboration with Louise Shaw. This has now been published and is available to buy, and there are two other picture books in the series – ‘Autumn’ & ‘Winter’ – that Sarah also completed in November, which will soon also be available! Along with these picture books are a further three books in the series that Sarah is currently completing, with the plan for them all to be published in the next few weeks! So, despite the many hurdles that have been placed in our way during the move of premises, the studio remains buoyant and our smiles are as wide as ever!

Some breaking news…

We are delighted and excited to announce that we are now offering a Children’s Book Consultancy Service! This can be anywhere from a simple, one hour meeting with Sarah to fine-tune your existing story, ready for it to be turned into a book, to a more intense series of meetings to help with the direction and development of your book series. Sarah can even give guidance and input into any children’s project or concept you might have, and with her unique vision and imagination, perhaps help you expand and take it further than you ever imagined! The reason for this new service is that, over recent years, several budding authors and writers have approached us asking for guidance and help with their projects, and we’ve assisted wherever we could. However, with these requests increasing, and with the extensive experience Sarah has gained over the last two decades with designing, illustrating and producing well over 750 wonderful children’s books, we feel we are well placed to go the extra mile and offer this consultancy service. Sarah has been writing her own books and designing and developing her own projects, too, some of which are now actively being developed into what we hope will be successful book series and product ranges. As an award-winning graphic designer, and having her own unique perspective, Sarah can even apply her talents to the design and development of your brand identity and overall image of your project! 

If this sounds like something that would help you, then just pop us a quick message, and we’ll get back to you with further details!

Collaborations News

The Signing Friends series, which is an ongoing, ever growing series of books and associated videos to help children and young people with special needs, to communicate with their families and friends using Makaton. We’re excited to announce that the latest book, titled ‘I Feel’, has been completed and is available to pre-order! The printers are working their usual magic, so the books should be arriving on the doorstep in the next few days! This means that since the launch of the series in the early summer, there have been a total of FOURTEEN books completed and published – AMAZING! 

As I touched on earlier in this blog, we are very excited to announce that the Tawny Owl Wood Christmas picture book is now on sale, and the further five books in the series – two picture books and three young reader books – will be available soon!

Another project to watch out for is Emotions At Play.

This is a fantastic project designed to help children understand and cope with their emotions through storytelling, play and creativity, and we are thrilled to be working with Gillian Murgatroyd on its creation and development. The branding and the main character, Rags, have been designed, and the first books are well underway, with an anticipated launch and publication expected around the early spring 2024 – watch this space! You can find out more by visiting the website – https://www.emotionsatplay.co.uk/ – or check out the pages on social media.

2024 will also see the launch of a fantastic project we are collaborating with Ali Holye on producing, called Nature Thyme, which is based around the wonderfully colourful characters found on a no-dig farm, and the antics and adventures they get up to. It will be an entertaining, engaging and interactive way for children of all ages (and adults, too…!) to find out all about this alternative way of farming, which involves no chemicals and as little disturbance to the soil as possible, and the benefits that it has over and above many traditional farming methods. Why not head over to the Facebook page to find out more, and to keep in touch with developments.

Finally, we are especially excited about a new collaboration project we will begin working on early in 2024. We will be bringing you more news very soon, when it will all start to become ‘crystal’ clear……!!

Book of the Month

Robin Ronnie Hood’ by Henry Sowter.

childrens book cover design

A fab twist on the classic tale of Robin Hood, featuring Robin Hood’s rather overlooked younger brother, Ronnie. Told in a lighthearted, yet heartwarming way, it’s the story of how Ronnie is encouraged by his older brother to embrace and excel in the things he’s good at instead of living in his shadow, and how Ronnie saves the day…!

Other News

With the move to new premises completed, the Studio Pigs have had to have a further upgrade to their Piggy Palace over and above the originally planned re-build, due to the fact that Freddie (the Prime Pig) was unhappy with the new living quarters provided. However, I’m very pleased to report that everyone, including Freddie, are delighted with their new pads, and all are very happy to be living in a ‘sty’le exceeding their expectations! Because of the recent unsettling few weeks, their WGM’s have been put on hold, so as you might imagine, they will have many items on their agenda when they convene for their next meeting. And you don’t have to worry, I will report on anything newsworthy in my next blog! 

Apart from being a little annoyed at not being fully consulted about the suitability of the new premises for his specific requirements, Erik quickly became accustomed to his new surroundings, and has made himself well and truly ‘at home’. Of course, his executive teepee has been positioned exactly to his instructions, and along with precise location of his feeding station, were the first things attended to as we moved in, over and above anything else. As you will no doubt be aware, these were essential elements to get right to ensure the running of the studio remained on point!    


Just when all seemed to be settling down into a steady routine…… 

We welcome ERNIE, a perfect little 3-month-old brother for Erik!!! After his initial shock and disgust that we would even consider bringing in another feline furry member of the family, Erik put aside his reservations, and welcomed the little chap, although he has repeatedly mentioned whether he came with a 14-day trial period…!! More about developments in next month’s blog!

And so, dear reader, I will end here, but I will be back soon with our December blog, when I hope you will be well and truly in a festive mood!

Written by The Happydesigner Studiopigs (with Barry’s help)

Some of our previous clients

happydesigner clients