Words & Pictures' illustration features editor Shannon Ell showcases a Spring glimpse into the current work of SCBWI illustrators. Take a look along the lines of their analog and digital brushes.

The Sketchbook is one of those important tools for an illustrator’s library, where they can quickly draw out their ideas, where they can be as loose and free with their work as possible. Think back to the days of school when a jotter was not only filled with equations but full of character and joy- the beginning of a career, the beginning of multiple worlds. Enjoy!

Roberta Raimondi

Two pages from my digital sketchbook. I worked on some loose character sketches for a story about two mermaid friends who meet a "sea rhino". What I was focused on at this stage was conveying immediately what those characters are about and making their personalities really distinct, while keeping the designs appealing and cohesive. Hopefully, I nailed it!


Rekha Salin

The owl character sketches and the girl reading are digital. Owl is purely a character study while the girl reading is based on my daughter reading the books in various crazy poses. 

The others are traditional- 

The one in black and white is drawing from life. One at a coffee shop and the other at the resort we stayed at during our vacation. The third pic is me trying to capture my day. 

The other two images are based on photo references- some are of Mary Fedden, one from a 'Draw this in your style' on Instagram and the other was a study of underwater. 

Sketchbook Tour 2022

credit: @illustrate_daily

Alex Edwards Agg

I was trying out a shiny new set of watercolours and wanted to fill this sketchbook with colour rather than the usual HB pencil. I often draw birds in my sketchbooks and it was nice to spend time on these pages.

I work at the front desk of a theatre which is fortunately situated in a park with big glass windows. If it’s quiet I sometimes get to do a bit of sneaky doodling of the park life outside. You have to be quick to capture the people before they walk by.

credit: @alexedwardsagg_art

Penny Taylor

I work mostly in pencil, ink, watercolours, and gouache. I have recently been exploring digital art and I am illustrating a tale of two rooks in lino-print. I have illustrated four books and I am currently working on a picture book commission and two of my own.

 Sketchbook illustrations on a day out at Hebden Bridge

credit: @pennytaylorillustrator

Sarah Lovell

I'm a British illustrator currently living in Vancouver, Canada.

My work is inspired by wildlife, nature, my three young children, and magic. 

I have loved to draw for as long as I can remember and love getting lost in my creations. Time passes so nicely when I'm drawing or painting. I like to use a mixture of traditional media - paints and pencils and a sprinkle of digital magic too. 

Pencil drawings, practising horses- These are one of my favourite things to draw!

Experiments with colour and paint- trees.

Pencil drawing children and cats, practising capturing gestures, form, and expression. 

credit: @sarahlovellart

Marit Cooper

My creative process varies from project to project depending on the needs of the client. For a picture book I like to start with loose sketches and put together a "style guide" where I offer suggestions for the colour palette, rendering style, etc. with one or two sample illustrations. For this "show and tell" I'd like instead to share a fun sketchbook exercise I did this year. I decided to do some random ink and wash drawings and it sort of ended up being a story even though I hadn't planned that from the start. I've described the process in this Instagram guide 

The focus was more on composition than anything else but I did invent a new species (I do that a lot) and a narrative that just evolved organically through the process of building up the composition step by step. I really loved this experimental approach of allowing my imagination to just take me on a journey and surprise myself every step of the way!

 Picnic on the mountain

Just passing through

The treehouse

credit: @maritcooperillustration

Suzanne Dore

I’m working on extending the "book covers" section of my portfolio, and someone suggested I tried drawing “Anatole” by Eve Titus.

A book about a French mouse who helps a cheese factory improve its cheeses! I didn’t want to draw too much ‘French’ cliché… striped shirt, beret, etc

shows initial doodles of Anatole

Anatole v rough ideas on colour, and trying to decide whether he should be brown, grey, or white?

Just random doodling pages of cheese, toying with adding cheese in the background of the main character for the front cover.

credit: @suzannedore

Anne-Marie Perks

I am a visual artist and stop motion animator, telling stories with pictures and puppets. 

I work in brush and ink, graphite powder, oils, and watercolours and occasionally play with clay, wire, and fabrics to sculpt my characters. I have a long history as a published illustrator, and I now focus on developing a personal voice appropriate for gallery art. My illustrations have been shown in small spaces and galleries in London.

Studies on Jo Ann Robinson in the story, The Woman Behind the Bus by Jennie Stevenson, my chosen story for the Make Art That Sells Illustrating for Children course. I enjoyed exploring both the story and the history and the clothing from that time.

Studies on Jo Ann Robinson in the story, The Woman Behind the Bus by Jennie Stevenson, exploring different views and expressions of the character in this book, Jo Ann Robinson. 

Studies on Jo Ann Robinson in the story, The Woman Behind the Bus by Jennie Stevenson. It’s all about period clothing the character Jo Ann Robinson would have worn. One of the items written about in the story was her daisy earrings and the style of hats and shoes Jo Ann wore. 

credit: @annemarieperks_storyartist

That's all for part 1! A MASSIVE thank you to all the amazing illustrators who have sent us their work! 

Some of these illustrators are SCBWI volunteers, producing amazing illustrations for articles featured in Words & Pictures, and you can be one too!

If you want your sketches and illustrations to be featured in our articles, please email us at

* Header image Shannon Ell


Shannon Ell is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures. Find their work at Follow them on Instagram and Twitter. Contact them at

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