Quarantine Quandaries!

There are many questions going around at this strange time, but being at home with school-age children who are suddenly looking up to their carers as teachers is definitely one of the more strange ones!

childrens book illustrator

With more children at home at the moment, it’s going to be difficult for many adults to get anything done. The working day suddenly shifts more into the downtime of the evening, as schooling and entertaining children become the important activities of the day. Many teachers have commented that there is a reason why teachers are trained, and that carers and parents can’t be too hard on themselves with this new normal. The BBC has recommended that days are not taken up with work alone, and that there should be time for play as well. But does this alleviate the guilt you may feel when you have to say, “Not now, I’m trying to work too”? Perhaps you need a few activity ideas to keep the little ones educated as well as entertained during this time. We’ve come up with some ideas to keep children busy so you can have half an hour to finish that important e-mail, or send that pressing report. Of course, kids will still have their own work to do, and schools will be setting work that needs completing. But they also understand that some days, parents do need to be adults and workers too.

We are all in this together, and we are all feeling our way around. We are all hoping that, just as we get the hang of all this, the schools will reopen, work will resume in the office and we can all get together and give one another a GREAT BIG HUG!

Go on a wildlife hunt!

picture book illustration

Even if you don’t have outside space, if you have windows and a cupboard you can still join in! Give your children a list of things to spot, and let them loose with a pen and paper! They can draw what they see, or write a description of them, as well as the name, if they know it. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Find something with spots
  • Find something with wings
  • Find something with more that two legs
  • Find an insect
  • Find a creature that sings
  • Find something that makes a web
  • Find something that lives inside
  • Find something that lives under a rock
  • Find something living on a tree
  • Find something that scuttles
  • Find something that buzzes

Get painting!

children's book illustrator

You can actually buy paint sticks that mean you don’t have cups of water everywhere, which can be a relief for parents! If you can’t get hold of any of these, you can just use watercolours. Either way, you’ll need old clothes and lots of newspapers or old cloth to put on the floor. Use your wildlife spottings for inspiration, or come up with your own theme – perhaps the kids are doing a project at school that can be linked to a painting afternoon? Or let them choose their favourite moment from their favourite book, or the character they like the most, and get them to paint them. There are no winners or losers, or people who “can’t” – it’s about having fun and being creative. And trying to make as little mess as possible!

Write a story

childrens book illustrator

We couldn’t leave this out! Story writing can be tricky for some kids though, so maybe they will feel more comfortable drawing a story. There are no rules – tell a story using your own style and theme. Use collage (although make sure adults use the scissors!), try painting a story, try drawing one. If you want, try typing one, try writing one by hand. Write one entirely in crayon! Perhaps write a story about the first thing you’ll do when you can see your friends again, or what you most look forward to eating once the lockdown is lifted. Maybe there’s something you can’t wait to learn, like surfing, or perhaps you really want to go back to the play park. Maybe you’re excited to see a particular beach, or person. You could try writing a diary about the time in lockdown for children to read in years to come, perhaps children learning about this time at school. Whilst this seems like a scary and unsettled time, it will pass and focusing on that, in the context of other children perhaps learning about it, may help your children to focus on the end of the lockdown and more positive days ahead.


childrens book illustrator

This is one for the older kids, and the slightly braver parents and carers! Some people have struggled to get flour recently, as there has been such demand (and a huge thank you to the people making flour and trying their best to get it out to the shops super quickly) but a quick google of gluten- free recipes can bring up great alternatives, such as ground almonds. You could try flapjacks as well, they don’t need flour! Here is a great recipe we use a lot (we have roughly translated ounces to grams!):

  • 10oz/280g butter or marge
  • 20oz/560g oats
  • 4oz/120g/120ml malt extract
  • 5oz/140g soft brown sugar
  • Freshly ground nutmeg

Melt the marg/butter and sugar with the malt extract until it’s all melted together. Add the oats and nutmeg and mix well. Press into a pre-greased swiss roll tin (or fairly shallow, small-ish tin). Bake for 20mins on a medium heat and take out when golden brown and a bit wobbly still. Cut when still warm but remove from tray when cool, and enjoy with a cup of tea!

childrens book illustrator

Hopefully these will help you to gain five minutes back so you can get on with some work! Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy whatever you have got planned. Stay safe, stay home, stay healthy. Big hugs to you all!

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

  • "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

  • 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

  • “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

  • "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

  • "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

  • "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 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

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

  • “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

  • "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

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

  • “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'

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