Words & Pictures Illustration Features Editor Ell Rose showcases a wonderous glimpse into the current work of SCBWI illustrators.

Welcome to the first part of the autumn edition of Open Sketchbooks. This is where you can get a little look into the minds of some amazing and talented illustrators and see what their creative processes are.


Kerina Strevens

Illustration is my passion. I love humour and clever ideas. A few years ago I finished my M.A in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art a course which inspired me and which I think has changed me for the better as an artist and illustrator.

Supporting sketches and final illustration 'Marley's Ghost' based on Scrooge and Marley
                                                                                                                                                                     (Credit: Kerina Strevens)

Jose A Nieto

Hello my name is José Nieto! I am a children's book illustrator from Mérida, Venezuela. I have five published books and a huge drive for colourful and engaging stories that help kids learn and understand their feelings and themselves.

Supporting sketches for the illustration depicting a family in a child's nursery room. 
                                                                                                                                                                          (Credit: José A Nieto)

Diana Boyer

I use pencil, watercolour, ink or whatever is at hand to draw what goes on around me here on the farm.

In this case I have chosen imagery and a humorous storyline as close to reality as possible for Viva la Goose – a journey story about survival, resilience and hope in a regenerative farm setting. Geese were once revered and thought of as messengers who let us know about what lay ahead...but they do also take naps without warning!

Supporting sketches of geese and environments for illustrations in Viva La Goose.

                                                                                                                                                                     (Credit: Diana Boyer)

The final illustrations are spreads from a retelling of the story of Little Red Riding Hood in which the wolf is a shifting forest spirit displaying his emotions through colour.

Off She Went Along The Path follows Red through the forest as the trees transition from light and cheerful pinks, through orange and green to dark blue and black. The reader is led to anticipate something sinister lurking behind the page turn.

It Was The Wolf shows the wolf's bright angry feelings through his colour as he snaps at Red's heels in grandma's house. 

The supporting sketches show a thumbnail dummy of the entire story, scans of watercolour elements that I pieced together digitally to create the final illustrations, and early development of the wolf character.

Sketches for Little Red Riding Hood alongside thumbnails and double page spreads. 
                                                                                                               (Credit: Nicola Schofield)

I have been shortlisted for the V&A Student Illustrator of the Year Award (2022) with my MA children's picturebook project illustrating the poem Sea Fever (1902) by John Masefield. 

I originally gained my BA (Hons) at Norwich School of Art and Design, followed by a professional development course in Children’s Book Illustration at Chelsea College of Art. 

Since then I have worked as a freelance illustrator, mainly in the realm of children’s educational publishing. My clients have included Scholastic, Pearson Education and Evans Publishing Group, as well as companies producing First Day Covers, greeting cards and children’s educational films. 

I live in Norfolk where my favourite things to draw are the local leafy parks and my two children.
My MA children's picturebook project illustrating the poem Sea Fever (1902) by John Masefield. 
                                                                                                                                                                           (Credit: Amy Hunter)

The images are from a personal children's book project based around community and food. The book starts with the line "There once was an old lady who lived in a street, where people would pass but no one would meet". 

The character sketches of the old lady are trying to work up a character that loves gardening and spending time outside. 

With the book focused around one street, it was important to pull the right environment for this. The second sketch pages are studies of housing locally and the third mocks up the idea of "the street".
Sketches surrounding a project based on community and food. 
                                                                                                                                                                  (Credit: Alexandra Fowler)

I'm a Brazilian-Japanese illustrator and author, Pathways mentee and FAB Prize Highly Commended '22 based in Ireland.

Sketches of playful elephants. 
                                                                                                                                                                      (Credit: Debora Adachi)

My name is Danielle and I am an illustrator and comics artist from Israel. I have a big passion for art and ever since I can remember I always drew and created characters from my imagination. An interesting fact about me is that I was born visually impaired but it never stopped me from pursuing my dream of becoming a successful illustrator. 

I like to work in different techniques, such as coloured pencils, markers, pens and digitally and I'm inspired by 1930-40's classic cartoons and French/Belgian comics. 

Some of my work includes:

Café Tatou – my trips to Paris and my French studies inspired me to tell a story about an Armadillo opening a café for unique animals. This coffee shop is called Café Tatou because tatou in French means armadillo.

What Happened To The Crocodile – the story takes place in Tel Aviv, Israel during the 50s. A crocodile who is having a toothache goes to the dentist. He has to go through the annoying procedures that come with going to the doctor, especially if you’re a giant crocodile!

Illustration 1: Café Tatou

Illustration 2: What Happened To The Crocodile
                                                                                                                                      (Credit: Danielle Ongo)

I’m currently expanding my non-fiction section of my portfolio and thought the story of Mary Anning covered the topic 'In Search Of Wonder' well.  

In 1823, Mary uncovered the first complete fossilised skeleton of a Plesiosaur. This creature was so unusual that the scientific community at first thought it was a fake. This was later disputed, although Mary was never given the recognition for the contribution to palaeontology and all the discoveries she made. The Geological Society of London didn’t admit women until 1904, fifty seven years after Mary’s death. It wasn’t until 2010 that the Royal Society of London named Mary Anning as one of the ten most influential British women of science. 

The first page is of Mary Anning, a fossil hunter and palaeontologist, who searched for wonders on the Jurassic Coast in the 1800’s.

The second is of Mary's dog, Tray, who accompanied her on her trips to the beach.

In 1823, Mary uncovers the first complete fossilised skeleton of a Plesiosaur.
(Credit: Suzanne Dore)

I was born in Chanthaburi in Thailand. My childhood's favourite items include insect stickers, colour pencils and crayons. I used to have many animals growing up and Ikkyū-san, (Mister Ikkyū, Toei Animation by Hisashi Sakaguchi), was one of my most favourite childhood cartoon series. 

The opening scene of the girl daydreaming of traveling the world, another is her thoughts of the place at different times.

The world development tone and mood of the dream like fantasy. And another is the scene development of what is in the character's mind. 
(Credit: Jayada Sarela)

Scuff Lost is character I have had floating around in my head for a few years. I finally buckled down and began writing the story a few weeks ago!

About me...I grew up on a tiny Gaelic speaking island with around 120 people off the west coast of Ireland. I gained a Diploma in Animation and Drawing studies before going to live in bonnie Scotland. I live in Glasgow with my partner and my kitty Miss Business.

Character development for Scuff Lost and double page spread.
                                                                                                                                            (Credit: Seán Casey)

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: in-house collaboration by Ell Rose & Tita Berredo


Ell Rose
 is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures
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Tita Berredo is the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and the Art Director of Words & Pictures. She has a Master's degree in Children's Literature and Illustration from Goldsmiths UOL and a background in marketing and publicity.   

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