Every illustrator and writer has grown up with inspirations from a variety of sources.
This week,
 illustrator Rekha Salin wanted to find out what book illustrator & author 
Lucy Farfort 
feels made the biggest impact on her.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Lucy, an Illustrator and Author of dual heritage who enjoys writing on the themes of representation, hope, community, and self-reflection. I consider myself foremost an illustrator because I have been doing that the longest, but if I am entirely honest it is writing that I now enjoy more. My illustration work is a mix of traditional and digital materials and I have worked with several publishers from pre-school picture books up to middle grade fiction. I am currently undertaking a six-month creative residency, working with Year 4 children from a local school, to create a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

Which genre do you write/illustrate for?

In terms of my illustration work I have mostly illustrated picture books, but I have also contributed work to fiction for older children. In relation to my writing, again I mostly write picture books, but have had a short story published in a bedtime story anthology and am currently working on a chapter book.

Illustration of a family, by Lucy Farfort

Studio bookshelves in Lucy's workspace (Credit: Lucy Farfort)

What inspires you to pick up or buy a book from the library/bookstore or buy online?

Often my reading list is based on recommendations found on social media and from trusted sources like BookTrust and CLPE etc, or from fellow book enthusiasts.

I would say I read for research as much as pleasure, so this also has sway in what books I buy, or what I rent from a library. For example, if I am working on a chapter book, then I will read within that category/genre more, or if I am working on a picture book then I will focus on that more, because it really helps me get in the right mind-space.

Are you inspired by books from multiple genres written/illustrated by the same author/illustrator?

Yes, but it just depends on the author.

I don’t tend to stick to buying works by the same author/illustrator, because I like to discover lots of new creators. There are just so many fantastic children’s book authors and illustrators now, and I want to support as many as I can, and it’s always lovely to get a feel for all the different styles of writing and artwork.

Do you bring your inspirations into your work?

Yes, I am sure that those things that inspire me do appear in some form or another in my work. It happens on a sub-conscious level though I think, as it does, I imagine for most people. So, for me, inspiration comes from many places, and it all mixes together and acts like a kind of filter that my own personal approach is distilled through, resulting in the final style

Colourful illustration of a tree above and below ground, by Lucy Farfort

Illustration of a busy street scene, by Lucy Farfort

How do you keep your work fresh, original, and unique and avoid looking like your inspiration? 

Honestly it isn’t something I think about in terms of my writing or illustration. I try to concentrate on my own work, how I want to create it and what works best depending on the project. It comes from a place of emotion, and I don’t tend to strategise in that way, or think about specific methods to make my writing or illustration distinctive. I suppose it would make more logical sense to create in that way, but I personally don’t approach making art like this. And maybe because I am inspired by such a wide variety of styles, I don’t have to worry too much about unintentionally emulating someone else’s work. 

Illustration of a cooking scene, by Lucy Farfort

Illustration of a busy city scene, by Lucy Farfort

Does your bookshelf have all the books that you love or inspired you?

I wish it did, but I don’t have space on my bookshelf (possibly not even in my house), or enough money to own all the books that I would like to.

Which are the main few books that have inspired your work and yet are not on your bookshelf?

A lot of classic fairy tales, and classic children’s novels such as Water Babies and series such as Chronicles of Narnia. Plus, many stacks of manga comics, and graphic novels. Some of which I have owned over the years but have had to pass on to make room for other things.

Are there any books that have inspired you in a way that you really wish you worked on a text like that or you wish you thought of the unique way of storytelling?

Classic fairytales such as The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson, and Aesops Fables were a big inspiration for me when I was a kid, so I would very much like to write a longer children’s fiction, in a fable or fairytale style someday. Also, if I ever get the opportunity and time to illustrate a fairytale in a book using traditional media, that would be a dream!

Thumbelina, by Lucy Farfort

Li Chi, by Lucy Farfort

*Header image: Ell Rose and Tita Berredo


Lucy Farfort is an Illustrator and Author of dual heritage (Caribbean-English) based in Newcastle, specialising in work for the children’s market. One of her proudest moments as an illustrator was being awarded first prize for illustration, in Faber Children’s inaugural FAB Prize competition, in 2017.

See more of Lucy's work here. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter


Rekha Salin has three books published as an illustrator. Two picture books, one in 2020 and the other in 2022, and also a recipe book (for adults) in 2022 published by ABV publisher. She is currently working with Gnome Road Publishing, and this will be available in 2024.

See more of Rekha's work here. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter


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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