It’s beginning to look a lot like… there aren’t enough books!

There are many reports in the media these days about shortages: not enough loo rolls during the pandemic (due to hoarding), empty supermarket shelves because of a lack of delivery drivers, and too few workers to fill an abundance of job vacancies.

But one report that caught our eye at Happydesigner was this: a shortage of paper. And one consequence of a shortage of paper is a shortage of books!

No way! A shortage of books at any time is bad news, but at Christmas – just when Santa’s sack should be bulging with the latest children’s paperbacks – it seems they might have to make do with an orange in their stocking!

But hold on… maybe it’s not as bad as it first appears. Because although some of the bestsellers may be in short supply, you only have to pop into the nearest book store to see the shelves are literally bursting with books.

So, if you can’t get the book you are looking for, then how about trying something else? Now may be the time to think outside the box and just pick something at random, from the genre you are interested in (or even a totally new genre).

Should you judge a book by the cover?

Which leads us nicely on this thorny question: should you judge a book by the cover? 

Answer: probably not, but let’s be honest, it is the cover, and then the blurb, which first attracts the eye to a book, when we are just browsing rather than looking for a specific title or author.

So if you are shopping around for a book to buy this Christmas, one with a great cover will have a better chance of being bought than another that’s not so appealing.

This is where Happydesigner come into our own, of course, because we are children’s book illustrators and know exactly the type of imagery that will complement the book, the story and its cover.

Our illustrations really stand out, and we have lots of them to see all through this website. Please do feel free to browse our web pages (no paper needed here) and then maybe you’ll be inspired to pop out and buy a book we’ve illustrated.

children's illustration

A bit more about Christmas

Not many sleeps to go now, and if you get as excited about Christmas as we do (even with the worries that Covid and new variants bring) then here are some strange but true facts to get you feeling even more festive.

  • Did you know, Christmas Day wasn’t always December 25? Well, we’re teasing you a bit here. Christmas Day is December 25, but this of course marks Jesus’s birthday and his actual birthday was never recorded in the Bible. 

Many historians believe Jesus was born in the spring, but December 25 ended up being the chosen day because it coincides with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which honours the agricultural god Saturn with celebrating and gift-giving.

  • Most of us are familiar with the fact that Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, introduced the tradition from Germany of bringing a fir tree into the home to decorate. But using evergreen to mark the season goes back a long way. 

The tradition goes all the way back to ancient Egyptians and Romans, who decorated with evergreens during the winter solstice to signify that spring would return. So that’s a great excuse to deck the halls with boughs of holly, if ever there was!

  • If you’re reading this blog aloud then make sure no children are listening because – spoiler alert – Santa Claus wasn’t always a jolly, rotund man in a red suit. 

In fact, Santa Claus has evolved from St Nicholas, a fourth century Christian bishop who gave away his large inheritance to the poor and to women rescued from servitude. In Dutch, his name is Sinter Klaas, which later morphed into Santa Claus in English.

But don’t worry children, he is now definitely a man with a white beard and red suit, lots of elves and reindeer, and he lives at the North Pole.

  • Why do we leave treats for Santa and the reindeer? At Happydesigner we’re quite traditional, and pop a mince pie and carrot by the chimney. 

The idea originates from Holland, where Dutch children used to leave a snack for St Nicholas on his feast day, on December 6.

  • Despite the hype around Black Friday, it isn’t actually the busiest shopping day of the year. This award goes to the last Saturday before Christmas, which this year is December 18. 

The next busiest days are the day before Christmas Eve (23rd) and the penultimate Saturday before Christmas, which this year is December 11. So, despite the retailers’ best efforts and the fact that Christmas seems to start straight after Hallowe’en, we still prefer to do our shopping in December.


What are your plans for Christmas and what do you most enjoy doing? At Happydesigner, it’s all about family (and that of course includes the Erik the cat), putting our feet up and having a little break.

But then we will be right back to it, drawing pens (well, drawing board) at the ready, poised to create the next series children’s book illustrations. 

So have a wonderful Christmas and, if you are inspired to write a book and are looking for a brilliant illustrator, please get in touch. See you in 2022!

Written by Jo Smyth (

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "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

  • 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

  • "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

  • “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

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

  • “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

  • "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
  • “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 loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • “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

  • 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

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

  • "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

  • "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."
  • 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

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • "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

  • “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

  • "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"
  • “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

  • "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 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