A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Clara Vulliamy: Stationery

Stationery, what’s not to love…
(apart from the fact that every time I have to look up whether it’s stationery or stationary. Such a rotten speller! Fortunate, then, that I mainly write for tots using short words)

But pencils and notebooks, paperclips and pens – moreish and delicious like sweeties for us writers and illustrators, our choices as telling as any other detail in our biographies.

It’s full of superstitious tendencies, too. For the longest time I would only write stories and sketch out ideas in a black Moleskine notebook, feeling sure I would stay lucky if I stuck to this utilitarian, purist approach. But I have just switched to white. Time will tell if this reckless move will derail my thought processes completely.


I do also like checked paper, and for a special treat an old-fashioned school exercise book. If I’m feeling a bit uninspired, colouring in the squares makes an attractive diversion until the next coffee break.


To draw with it’s mostly solid graphite for me – for each detail in my drawing I know exactly which to reach for, hard or soft, blunt or sharp. This yellow pencil is made by Oliver Jeffers’ artists studio in New York; the message is pretty fine.


Then there’s always an old treasured favourite. This pencil case is looking shabby now but I cannot bear to say goodbye to it. Pelican and donkey on one side…


raccoon bringing up the rear on the other.


Looking for gift ideas for a writer you love this Christmas? Perhaps a posh pen that writes super-smoothly and very fast for the HUGE signing queue that is sure to be forming next year – a nice vote of confidence…


and if you can’t find campervan clips and stationery espresso cups, do remember,


a piece of string is a wonderful thing.

claraPortraitClara Vulliamy
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.

3 comments on “Clara Vulliamy: Stationery

  1. bridgeanneartandwriting
    December 17, 2014

    What is the name of the posh pen (I say, hopefully wining for long queues) and what was the message on the yellow pencil?

  2. bridgeanneartandwriting
    December 17, 2014

    Not wining but wishing – though wine is also welcome to go with stationary. And I’m with you re moleskin – must ask Father Christmas for a new one…

  3. Zoe
    December 17, 2014

    What was the prompt to change from black to white moleskins? I’m sure there’s a story there… And lovely to learn you use solid graphite.

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