A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
When I first started out as an illustrator I was phobic about drawing machines, any machine, making depicting modern life something of a challenge. Anything with metal and engines and dials. Cars and vehicles especially. And worst of all, a bicycle: the shape is fiendishly difficult to get to grips with – the wheels, the spokes! Have you looked at spokes recently? You’d think they would radiate evenly from the centre but NO, they are strange sets of pairs moving in unfathomable ways.
Anyway, in my first ten years in publishing I only drew one car, just about recognisable but discreetly tucked away where no one would pay it any attention.
Then when Mum wrote Dixie O’Day for me, full of cars, the colour drained from my face but I knew I had to up my game. I looked and looked, at real cars and crazy cars. I realised that there were artists having some serious fun here.
My research involved some strange flea market purchases, too.
And now I can’t leave them alone and draw vehicles whenever I get the chance. I’ve started to see them not as metal and engines and dials, but as characters in their own right. Not like people of course, but maybe a little like animals, with distinct movements, noises and intentions.
But if anyone had told me I would have the happiest of days drawing THIS…
I’d have been very surprised.
At last I am the three year old boy I was always meant to be.
I still can’t draw a bicycle wheel, though.
I was born in London, daughter of author illustrator Shirley Hughes and architect John Vulliamy. My first experience of making pictures was being allowed to use up my Mum’s paints at the end of the day, which was like scraping the icing out of the bowl after baking.
I studied Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art, The Ruskin and The Royal Academy. After graduating I began illustrating in newspapers and magazines, and doing a weekly cartoon in The Guardian. I started writing and illustrating children’s books when I had a family of my own, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve made around 30 books, including The Bear with Sticky Paws, Lucky Wish Mouse and Martha and the Bunny Brothers.
I live in Twickenham with my husband, our two grown-up children and a gang of cheeky guinea pigs.