Childrens Book Illustrator Bringing your stories to life

Are you looking for a children’s book illustrator and designer?

An illustrator that can also design your book, prep it for print, advise and help you with all the extras needed? Bring your idea to life, and turn it into an actual book? Well, Happydesigner does just that. Creating your special book from start to finish!

My services will provide you with…

My name is Sarah, and I am a well-established children’s book illustrator, with over 15 years of experience. I love nothing better than getting my crayons out, as I’m really a big kid at heart. This allows me to create the books that children love!

Whether you’re looking for a crazy crocodile, wimpy washing machine, or a flabby flamingo, my experience in creating unique children’s illustrations means that I am able to approach any project with unique and exciting ideas, and not just the typical run-of-the-mill art and layouts.

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Bringing Your Story to Life

People often get stuck with how to bring their books to life, which is where I can help.

Frequently asked questions include: “What’s the process?”, “How do I go about getting my story made into a book?”, and “Can I just get two copies made?”

I can guide you through the whole process, starting with your story and going right through to getting the book printed. I can answer your questions along the way, and make sure that you are getting the book you want out of this journey.

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What Can I Offer You?

  • Original and unique illustrations that children will love
  • Layouts and printing support.
  • Affordable, professional illustrations that won’t break the bank
  • A series of sketch revisions to get your book looking perfect
  • Final print files supplied in your desired format: High-resolution PDF, TIFF, EPS etc., for any purpose/any size (package dependent)
  • An illustrator that will work with you every step of the way, ensuring you’re happy with the progress on your book
  • FREE basic spelling and grammar check – included in all HD packages. (We do however always recommend a full professional proofread for ALL books)
  • A few giggles and smiles along the way!

How Will We Fit Together?

In the children’s book industry, the younger market is one of the hardest to impress due to children getting easily bored when reading. This is why it is so important to find the right illustrator.

Illustrations are key in bringing your book to life. To truly capture a child’s attention, you need your illustrations to be funky, fun and eye-catching. This is where I can help! Your illustrations will have a unique and distinct style, presenting the characters and the story in a way that intrigues and entertains children of your target ages, and sometimes even adults! I think that every drawing must be unique and unforgettable. It has its own character, its own look, its own story.

You want to stand out, and to do this each and every character in your book needs to be distinct and memorable. Whether it’s a loveable bunny rabbit or a devious fox, I really get into the heads of your characters to make their mannerisms, actions and emotions truly believable and interesting, which children love!

Select the style you like…

When we write stories, we all have a style in mind. To get the best out of a journey and create the book(s) as you have imagined, I offer a varied number of styles. We all have different tastes, after all!! 

My Illustration Process

If you want the very best characters for your children’s book, you need to know your characters and their stories inside out. I have a particular way in which I like to work to ensure that every point is covered.

Step one

As soon as I receive a book project, the first thing I do is read the story. I read it multiple times and start doodling whilst I read, which helps me determine how the character should look. I also put voices to all of the characters and try to imagine what they would sound like. After a while, I have an entire backstory in my head and can see their ages, their friends, where they live and what emotions and characteristics make up their character. I keep sketching until I get the character in my head on paper, and when I have finished these initial sketches, I send them back to you for feedback. I feel it is this process that really sets me apart from other children’s book illustrators! I work closely with my clients from the very beginning.

Step two

It’s a lot of fun building a layout for a book. Working on the flow and figuring out how and what pictures will work. I will make sure they are how you envisioned them. Working together, the sketch stage will give us a truly distinct set of characters that children and adults will love! Once you are happy with things, thats when I get colouring! I LOVE this stage ad the simple sketches from my head jump out the page and come to life. It’s an amazing part of the process as it completely transforms the drawings.

Step three

Once your characters/illustrations are complete to your satisfaction, it’s time to bring them all together. The use of digital software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign then takes over, and we can start to create your dream book. Generating the digital form is where the book truly comes to life. This is the stage where we set the text with the completed illustrations. Getting to see how it all works together is SO rewarding.

So here’s how will we work together?

  1. Let’s Talk. Firstly, it all begins with an understanding of your story. Creating your book, or books, is such a fun adventure, and to ensure that it reaches its maximum potential, it’s vital that we have a good understanding of its characters, its focus; in fact, anything that you think is important. During this conversation, either via phone or email (whichever you prefer) we will also discuss and decide on the illustration style you would prefer for your project. 

  2.  Deposit. Once we have agreed on the project’s details, all to be confirmed via email exchanges, we will send you a formal contract for you to read and sign. This contract will be in the form of our Acceptance of Commission document and will be sent along with our standard Terms & Conditions. Roughly a week before the scheduled start date, the deposit will be due (usually 50% of the agreed fee), and we will issue an invoice for this amount around this time. To help the process begin smoothly, please would you ensure that this amount is paid by return. Work will commence around the date agreed, providing payment has been received.

  3. Let’s Get Started.
    Before I begin working on your project, please ensure that we are in receipt of ALL of the following details regarding your book. 
    The essential requirements are:-
    a – A typed & professionally proof-read final draft of your story, preferably in the form of a Word document.
    b – A descriptive paragraph for the back cover.
    c – Any dedications for the book (if you wish to have any). 
    d – Inform me if you have any specific requests regarding your characters. 
    What would also be helpful is a short character bio to help me understand more about them, and, if based on real-life characters, please supply a photo or two. I also need to be aware if I have any specific colouring requirements (e.g. the main character to have a green jumper, blue shoes and red trousers, etc.). Whether you have any illustrative restraints or something specific you definitely don’t want. All of this will save us a lot of time in the editing stage!


  4. Storyboard/Sketch Building. This stage is where you should carefully check the sketches/rough book template and make any comments or suggestions. Firstly, I will build a text-based layout to ensure that you are happy with the flow of your story. Once agreed, I will then start to draw, and when completed, I will send you a fully sketched draft. In order to provide the best service possible, during this stage you will get up to THREE full rounds of revisions, as it is vital to ensure that the basic book layout and sketches are correct. Please note that any further revisions after the three included in the process, or any illustration changes requested after this stage will incur additional charges. It is very important at this stage to make sure that you are honest with me, and let me know in clear terms what you want to change, if anything, about the sketches, otherwise, any changes to the illustrations requested later in the process will, I’m afraid, be chargeable.

  5. Illustration Development. The stage that can take the longest time to complete, and also when I get to colour everything! Please bear in mind that this stage usually requires anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks of work, and sometimes even longer, depending on the complexity of the illustrations. I will do my best to advise you at the earliest opportunity if your illustrations require longer than this to complete.

  6. Book Generation. The book comes to life! This stage involves importing the images and begin editing and will take approx.1 to 2 weeks to complete. 

  7. Payment/Final Files. Once I have completed the illustrations and compiled the book, and before the release of many weeks worth of work, the second payment (usually 50% of the agreed fee) will be due. As soon as this payment is received, I will send you the complete finished proof. Please understand that this payment is to be received first, as the files I send you will be the completed book, ready for final editing.

  8. Editing. Once you have received the book and have examined it thoroughly, I will then work with you to edit out any little errors where gremlins may have crept in, such as typos/imperfections etc. (note: significant illustration changes cannot be made at this stage). These edits are crucial to the finishing of the book, and I always advise you to take your time at this point to carefully check everything. We will work with you as best as possible to find and eliminate any issues at this stage. Still, please understand that the final sign-off is your responsibility (another good reason why you should have your final draft story professionally proofread!). Remember that there are THREE rounds of final edits included in the package pricing and that any further edits or alterations after this will be chargeable. 

  9. And to Finish.
    After completion of the final editing stage, we request that you sign off the project in writing, usually by email, and upon receipt of which, we will provide you with the following: 
    Self-Publishing Package – All the final files so that you will have everything you need: illustrations as separate files, cover images, and the book PDF file for you to arrange to get printed. 
    Gift Book Package – Two printed copies of your book.

How About Extras?

I also offer a special extra to help you make a promotional pack to go with your Book. This includes Colouring Sheets, Promo images of the completed book and copyright images that you can safely use to promote your book online 🙂 Please ask for more details.

Also, I can design you a logo if the book is going to become a series.

What is an ISBN and where can you get one?

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ISBN stands for: The International Standard Book Number. This is your books unique product identity. It's essential if you want to sell your books, as it aids the listing, discovery and distribution of your books.

You don't HAVE TO have one, nor is it a legal requirement. Publishers mainly use them, as do booksellers and libraries for ordering, listing and stock control. 

IF you do want to add an ISBN to your book its simple. The process is easy and you can buy an ISBN online. 

The ISBN agency in the UK used to be Whitakers, but they were bought and combined with Book data to create Neilesen Book data. They manage the process of allocating ISBNs as well as several things that you will need to know about, and use, as we get further into your project.

The URL for the ISBN Store is: https://www.nielsenisbnstore.com 

The email address to contact us is: isbn.agency@nielsen.com

Want me to put a barcode on the book for you?

NO PROBLEM! 🙂 computer-wt

I sure can. All I need is for you to send me the ISBN and I can generate the barcode for you and apply it to your books before it heads off to the printer. 🙂

Do you need to find a good proofreader?

Yes I sure can!!! happydesigner-inking

Happydesigner can provide you with details of dedicated and professional proofreaders. We can also offer a basic spelling and grammar check of the final book proof at the end of the process if you wish.

Want to know the Legal stuff: Terms & conditions, Contracts and Licences?

It is very important that your story does not infringe on anybody’s intellectual copyright. You should not use actual company trade names or existing character names from other stories, films, TV shows, books etc, without the copyright owners express, and written permission.

With regard to your project, we will issue a limited licence for you to use the illustrations we create for you for the purposes of the purchased book only. We do this because every illustrator owns the copyright to all of their creations, by default, as soon as they draw, paint or design anything. The issuing of a licence is the correct and legal way for us to allow you to use the illustrations as agreed in the contract.

I have a detailed Terms and conditions page which you can access here

Are there any other options for self-publishers when it comes to getting the book 'out there'?

Other options... pad

If you do not want to sort the online side, you could always check out: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle publishing, Ingram Sparks. These can be complicated to deal with if you are not familiar with the terminology. I recommend that, if you're not confident at figuring out the online side by yourself, and once we have the book finished, you discuss your requirements with KA BOOKS They are an independent publishing company who work with self-publishers to promote works.

How to deal with book layouts and printing?

As well as the illustrations themselves I can also package them up into a professional standard printable book PDF, ready to send to the printers. I can manage this whole process for you, so you don’t have to worry! All you need to do is contact the printers, Put me in touch and I can hand over the files for you. (For GIFT BOOK PACKAGES – I get the books printed for you, so all you need to do, is look out for the delivery man 🙂

childrens book illustratorI use professional layout packages to layout your books and pages and this approach also means it’s a very cost-effective method of printing a children’s book.

If you are self-publishing and require printing please have a look at these guys for quotes: www.pureprint.com
Its always worth asking around and finding which suites you 🙂 But these guys produce GOOD, SOLID books 🙂

Do you need a good Website?

If you are looking to have a small website built you can get in touch with: Tracey Rickard She is my website developer and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else 🙂 I remember when I started out, I used a cheaper alternative and it never had the visibility nor punch that I needed it to have to make an impact on google. But Over the years working with Tracey, we have got the site to where it needs to be. 

I would always recommend IF you are going into things seriously enough to warrant having your own online book store, to ALWAYS go with a trusty (more expensive) developer! Yes they cost more that the cheap alternatives, but they are there to help and assist when you need them too!

Are you planning a Book launch or exhibition?

Launching your stories, characters and books is a huge step, and the most important factor about this is getting people to see who you are and what you are all about, it makes all the hard work worthwhile. I can help you with any aspect of this, if you require posters, adverts, exhibition stand design or even life-size cut-outs of the characters themselves.

Do you require some Promotional material?

I cut my teeth in the graphic design sector so I have a good skills when it comes to all the extras you need. So if your looking for flyers, bookmarks, Posters, social media images.... Your in safe hands. Lets have a chat through all the extras you may need and then I can put together a package for you 🙂

childrens book illustrationI have worked on lots of books here is my publications list: https://www.happydesigner.co.uk/publications/ I also have a large gallery of my latest illustration work available to view on my website. So if there is a preferred style you like, please just let me know: https://www.happydesigner.co.uk/gallery/

Ready for me to wave my wand of creativity?

If you like what you have read above and are looking for a reliable and affordable children’s book illustrator, Then get in touch and let’s make your story come to life!

A few of my previous clients

Design against furSt Ives Memory BayEden ProjectSkyRespect for animalsPets at HomeSt Moritz Hotel

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

  • "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

  • "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 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

  • "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'

  • "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

  • “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 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 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

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

  • 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’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

  • “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

  • “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 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’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 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 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