The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

The Book Behind Wishker’s Whiskers — with Sarah Jennings

Sarah Jennings’ illustrations are full of line and movement — her characters springing into action at each turn of the page. Her latest picture book is with author, Heather Pindar, and Sarah will be bringing Wishker — a cat with very powerful whiskers, to The Bright Emporium for a storytime session on July 16th. I asked Sarah to show us how it all works, in terms of initial ideas for characters and what the artwork looks like, from the beginning sketches, to the final published product… LM

SJ: “I am so excited to bring Wishker to the Bright Emporium for Storytime Sunday. This is my second picture book as illustrator and it couldn’t have been more fun! As a crazy cat lady myself I couldn’t have been more excited to illustrate a story all about a magical wish-granting cat!

Untitled copy

Initial sketches for Mirabel and Wishker.

Cat1 copy

Wishker went through quite a few changes in order to become the cat you recognise in the book – I lightened his colour and changed his characteristics to make him look a little more friendly and eye-catching!

cat3 copy


Final Character design for Wishker (above)

After the characters were ready to go it was time to get sketching ideas for the cover and book spreads…

roughs copy

cover draft copy final cover copy

Cover idea — to final published edition.

sketchbook copy

It was great fun sketching out different ways to show the chaos that Wishker and Mirabel cause. I also added in tiny details amongst the madness – on a couple of pages there are mice to spot!

fave spreads copy

Here are some of the spreads I loved working on most:

fave spreads 2 copy

colour copy

colour2 copy

rough1 copy rough2 copy

This was one of my favourite pages to colour up and very little changed from the first rough sketch.

meal tme copy

I’ve also been really overwhelmed by all the lovely reviews it has been receiving and the kind words about my illustrations.

‘The illustrations from Sarah Jennings are bright and fun and compliment the story perfectly. Leo really enjoys looking at the pictures of the chaos Mirabel causes in her home after she phones up the zoo and the circus.’  – Naptime Natter

It’s also been so nice seeing young children interacting with the pictures in the book, and even pretending to eat ice-cream off the page!

kid copy

This picture is from a lovely review on Wishker by Beauties and the Bibs ” SJ

With thanks to Sarah for giving a great insight into the workings of picture book illustration! You can read more about Sarah here.

If you’d like to work with Sarah, you get in touch via her agent, Nicky Lander here.

And if you’d like to meet Sarah, you can!
Book your tickets for Storytime Sunday at The Bright Emporium HERE!


The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Behind the Book with Daniel Duncan


Fresh, new author/illustrator, Daniel Duncan’s debut picture book, SOUTH, was warmly received at the recent book launch with US based children’s publishing house, Abrams — held at The Bright Emporium. The story is calm and gentle, the illustrations full of depth and emotion. Already proving to be a hit, and with fantastic reviews, we thought it might be an idea to ask Dan to join us for a Storytime Sunday. So before the event, which will be on Sunday 2nd July, here’s a little more about the talented Daniel Duncan…
Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 15.13.59

Self portrait by the artist himself.

Where did you study, and what made you want to be an illustrator?

After leaving school and wanting to do something creative, I took on an art foundation at Bucks New University. Not really knowing what illustration was, I was shown lots of children’s books. One of which really stood out to me was Varmints, written by Helen Ward and illustrated by Marc Craste [published by Templar]. I then went on to study Illustration at Middlesex University. I loved my time there, and definitely feel as though they played a massive part in me becoming an illustrator.


Your style is quirky and so unique – I like how it can be quite dark sometimes, kind of modern fairytale meets Ronald Searle – that kind of edge. Who influenced you?

I have lots of books and reference in my studio that I’m constantly using for inspiration. As I develop as an illustrator these reference points often change. However one artist I’ve constantly admired is Sylvain Chomet. The visuals of his films are mind blowing to me. I love all the little details in the backgrounds, the muddy palettes and the range of characters in his films. I wish he worked on more books! Some of the other artists and illustrators that influence me are Ken AndersonBritt SpencerEmily Hughes and Rich Kelly.

Ken Anderson

Artwork by Ken Anderson, for Walt Disney’s 101 Dalmations.

Emily Hughes

From WILD, by Emily Hughes.


The book launch for SOUTH, held at The Bright Emporium.

Where did the idea for South come from?

I made up this lonely fisherman character in my head. He was just sat at sea all on his own (I’m pretty sure some of the melancholy came from listening to lots of Bon Iver at the time). I wanted to try and find him a friend. Then the story just grew and developed from there.


Do you have a favourite picture book?

I don’t actually remember reading all that much as a child, my memories are either of being outside playing, or being inside drawing. However, now I’m constantly buying new and old picture books. Some of my current favourites are Wild, by Emily Hughes [Walker Books], Mr Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown [Pan Macmillan], Zarafa By Judith St.George, and with illustrations by Britt Spencer [Penguin USA], Grandad’s Island, by Benji Davies [Simon and Schuster] and Varmints, by Helen Ward, with illustrations by Marc Craste [Templar]

Books montage

books 2

What’s your creative process? Do you work very traditionally, or do you use digital tools?

I’ll usually draw out a bunch of thumbnails, in a small sketchbook. When I’ve got a better idea of how the piece is going to look, I’ll develop this into a more detailed rough, digitally. Finally drawing and colouring with textured brushes.

When I first started out, I would draw artwork in pencil, scan it in and colour digitally. But I changed to a completely digital process, as I feel a lot more comfortable and experimental working with the safety of working digitally. However I am now starting to miss certain aspects of a more traditional approach, and have started experimenting with “real” materials again.


What is next on the horizon for you?

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been illustrating a few other picture books, one of which is with Candlewick Press — due to be published over the next year, which is exciting!  I’m also spending my spare time writing and developing more of my own picture book ideas, which I’m hoping will be ready to pitch later on in the year.

With big thanks to Dan, and we look forward to seeing him very soon!

If you’d like to work with Daniel Duncan, you can contact him via his agent, Anne Moore Armstrong here.

You can also follow Dan on Twitter and Instagram.

The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

The Secret Behind the Bear… With Katie Blackburn & Richard Smythe

When you’re having trouble getting your kids to sleep, or introducing different foods and finding that you are up against it at every turn, help is always welcome. In search of reading materials to help her own little boy, Katie Blackburn decided to take on the challenge herself, and so the comforting, rhythmic, ever so gentle, Dozy Bear stories began. Katie will be joining illustrator Richard Smythe at The Bright Emporium on Sunday 18th June for a storytime double-bill, featuring Dozy’s adventures into sleep  — not to mention the wonders of food!
Here’s a bit more from Katie and Richard…

Katie, what made you decide to write a series of books like this?

The first Dozy Bear story – the Secret of Sleep was inspired by my son. I don’t think any parent has it easy at bedtime. It can be a bit of a battle, and just when you are both most tired and fractious! I found many of my favourite picture books were quite rousing reads, so I would try to adapt them to make them more relaxing. The Rabbit Who Wanted to Sleep was something I considered trying, but I found it very long so I decided to write my own! Dozy Bear and the Secret of Food followed on naturally because the next biggest challenge for parents is getting your child to eat solids ….Argh!

Richard, how did you begin the process of illustration?

Whenever I get a manuscript  I like to read through it several times, with a cup of tea usually. Each time I make quick notes or very simple sketches. The idea is to record those initial ideas and thoughts that pop into my head as I read through the text. Once I have this I can then start to expand the ideas that I like, and begin to develop them some more. For Dozy Bear and The Secret of Sleep, it struck me that the colour palette ought to be dream-like and soothing to complement the text. The challenge was creating an atmosphere that suited night-time without being too dark and gloomy.


Katie, as someone who has a great deal of experience — from publishing and commissioning works by artists and authors, what is it like to now be an author as well? Would you say that your experience in picture books has helped in understanding the workings behind a successful children’s story?

It is different seeing the world from the other side, yes. But to be a good editor I think you have to be aware of what authors are going through, in any case. That said, I have now enjoyed first hand the experience of someone creating brilliant art to sit alongside my words – and it really does give me such a buzz.

I still find it hard to define what makes a good story – it’s easy to say what does and doesn’t work, but it’s not a checklist you can easily tick off. I am still in awe of the authors I work with – every great book is threaded with magic.

Richard, can you tell us a bit about your creative process? How do you begin to illustrate the words — and what types of media do you use?

Most of my work is done using mix-media and scanned in to the computer where I can place it into the format of the spread. I use pencils, crayons and watercolour normally. With the two Dozy Bear books I wanted it to look naive and gentle but also compelling to children. Both books have a collage element to them, particularly the second one. I thought that this approach would allow shapes to remain simple and recognisable, as to avoid getting bogged down with too much detail.


Your artwork for Dozy Bear has a lovely collage feel about it, along with a naivety that is reminiscent of artists like Eric Carle (The Hungry Caterpillar) and John Burningham (Avocado Baby). Can you tell us who influenced and inspired you into becoming an illustrator? 

Interestingly I don’t think it was other picture books as much as other childhood experiences that made me want to express things as drawings or paintings. I found that classical music seemed to produce such a rich and varied visual imagery. I certainly loved picture books as a child, but I found things like music, film or running around outside with friends, would encourage me to draw and create things from my mind.


Katie, in the same vein – who do you love to read? Is there a favourite picture book you read to your own little boy, and what did you enjoy reading as a child yourself?

I love fiction, non fiction …crime, historical, contemporary, all sorts!  … I’ve just finished Conversations with Friends (by Sally Rooney) which blew me away. The books I pick aren’t always the ones my son likes most – but we do both love Julia Copus and Virginia Lee Burton at bedtime. My favourite children’s book was Where the Wild Things Are – and I still remember the wonderful Mrs Pepperpot!

Katie's fave books

Katies faves 2

Richard, did you have a favourite picture book as a child?

I loved anything by Brian Wildsmith, Quentin Blake and particularly Raymond Briggs. The Snowman was always special to me because I grew up in Sussex, not too far from where it was meant to be set.

Richard's faves

From left to right: Artwork by Brian Wildsmith, Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, and a self portrait by Sir Quentin Blake.

And Lastly, Katie, can we look forward to more Dozy Bear stories?

I’m not sure! With my publisher hat on: I hope so, but let the market tell us! As author: oh yes, Dozy Bear has lots more to explore and discover.

With huge thanks to Katie and Richard!

If you’d like to work with Richard Smythe, you can contact him via his agent, Arabella Stein here.

And if you’d like to meet Katie and Richard, you can! Join us at The Bright Emporium for storytime Sunday. 
Book your tickets here. 


The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

The Wonderful World of Ada Grey!

Ada Grey's Books

You may well have two or more of these books at home, illustrated by Ada Grey.
The Bright Agency spotted her talent and snapped her up, where Ada was immediately catapulted into the UK best-seller lists with the inspired Royal Baby series with Bloomsbury. We are delighted to be joining Ada with her new book, Rockabye Pirate, (written by author and playwright, Timothy Knapman) at The Bright Emporium for a story time on Sunday 4th June.
Here’s a little bit about Ada…

More People To Love Me

Where did it all begin?

My mum was a ceramics and textiles designer before joining my dad to run a small chain of bookshops in the north of England. I guess I’m the result of the combination!

More People To Love Me

Did you study illustration?

Yes, I did a degree in illustration at what was Manchester Polytechnic. I was taught by Tony Ross and David Hughes amongst others. (Funnily enough, my teachers at school told me I wasn’t good enough to do O level art, so I only did a CSE). You don’t need to do a degree to get into drawing by any means, but it does immerse you in the environment and give you the opportunity to do nothing but draw for three years. Practice is key!

 What’s your favourite part of making children’s books?

I love it all (especially if you get to have lunch with your publisher!).

I love the roughs, that’s the bit where you concentrate and plan out a new world, and the colouring-in bit where the world comes to life (and you can listen to podcasts at the same time), and the people are just super to work with, supportive and imaginative and fond of tea and biscuits.

“I never thought I’d ever draw The Queen in a onesie, jumping out of a plane!” Ada Grey

 With a number of titles to your name now, do you have a favourite and why?

That’s hard because all of them are special to me in different ways. I love the fun and silliness of [Steve Smallman’s] Hippobottymus and Poo In The Zoo, and the warmth of family in [Tammy Salzano’s] I Love You Just The Way You Are, [Adam and Charlotte Gullaine’s] School for Dads and [Mo O’Hara’s] More People To Love Me.

But I think Smriti Prasadam Halls’ Santa Baby has a special place, as I could really play with the look of the characters. I’ve been able to carry that on with [Timothy Knapman’s] Rockabye Pirate and the forthcoming [Sarah Kilbride’s] Being A Princess Is Really Hard Work.

Santa Baby

From Smriti Prasadam Halls’ Santa Baby

With the positive media focus on the Royal Babies and the two princes currently, I expect the Royal baby series to have it’s own baby-boom! Did you enjoy making these?

Absolutely! Shh! Don’t Wake The Royal Baby was the first picture book Vicki [Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Bright Agency Founder and MD] matched me with, and I hit the ground running as it were! It was a real challenge getting the characters to remain respectful and identifiable, yet move them into the realm of gentle silliness at the same time. I never thought I’d ever draw the Queen in a onesie jumping out of a plane. I hope they carry on, [but as they are no longer babies, I think the series has run it’s course sadly].

Who inspired you to become a picture book illustrator?

There are two books I can specifically identify that had a big impact on me.

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, taps into the most basic needs of a child, to know that they are loved, no matter what, and that they can independently cope with their fears. Pair that with fearsome monsters and stunning illustrations and you have genius.


The other was The Pirate’s Tale, illustrated by Jill McDonald and written by Janet Aitchison when she was only five and a half years old! I laugh out loud every time I read it.

pirates tale

Both books made me realise that drawing pictures for books was actually a job, and that I could possibly do it for a living one day. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do (plus I’m rubbish at everything else!).

Things have come full circle, as I have just illustrated a gorgeous story written by ten year old Isabel Harris! She won a story writing competition held by The Book People and Little Tiger Press, and all the proceeds go to Action For Children.

When can we expect your first self penned picture book?! Is it something you’d like to do, or do you prefer to collaborate as a team on books?

Oh! Writing picture books is so much harder than people realise. Coming up with a totally new idea and characters that have never been done before, and then to put all of that across in a limited amount of words is a real skill. It’s not easy and I don’t mind saying I’m struggling. I’d love to do it, but I’ve been so busy, that up to now I’ve got a list of ideas, but haven’t had the time to work on them yet. One day I hope!

I’ve been really lucky to work with some outstanding authors and it’s just a joy to bring someone’s work to life.

Rockabye Pirate

With huge thanks to Ada, and we look forward to Storytime!

You can follow Ada on Twitter and Instagram!

If you’d like to work with Ada, you can contact her via her agent, Arabella Stein, here.

And if you’d like to join us for a Rockabye Storytime, you can find more details and tickets here!



The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Behind the Book with Laura Hughes and Lucy Rowland


Laura Hughes and Lucy Rowland will be joining us for story time on Sunday 21st May. Here they talk about their most recent collaboration — The Birthday Invitation.

The Illustrator: Laura Hughes

Laura, You are now a very well established illustrator, and have created many picture books. Do you enjoy collaborating on projects, and what is it about a story that makes you want to illustrate it?

I love collaborating with writers. My favourite stories have an element of magic and fantasy in them, which is why I enjoyed The Birthday Invitation so much. I’m drawn to stories that really spark the imagination, and see it as my job as an illustrator to make the magic believable to the reader.

TheBirthdayInvitation_PB_Cov low res

Front cover of The Birthday Invitation, published by Bloomsbury.

How did you start out? Did you study illustration?

Yes I did! I studied BA Illustration at Kingston University and graduated in 2005. I initially focussed on editorial illustration but found the short deadlines and conceptual nature of it challenging. It wasn’t until I started working at Bright (initially as an intern and then as a designer) that I fell in love with children’s books and my career grew from there.

behind the book2

How do you work – as in do you work very traditionally, or do you find now that digital is the way forward?

I still work traditionally with inks and paints. As far as I’m concerned digital media still lacks the depth of tone and texture that real materials have, and I think there’s too much temptation when using a computer to tweak artwork to perfection. I like the little inaccuracies and errors involved in creating a piece of original art.

behind the book3

The Author: Lucy May Rowland


How did you become a children’s author and what is your background?

I have always been interested in poetry and rhyme. My grandparents read me a lot of poetry when I was little and I was also a big fan of nursery rhymes!  I studied languages and English Literature at A-level and then went on to do a degree in Speech and Language Therapy. I’ve been working as a children’s Speech and Language Therapist ever since, so I suppose, my work and study has always been around children and language. However, it was only when I started writing picture books a few years ago, that I realised what I really wanted to do- write stories for children.  I decided to take a sabbatical from work in 2013 to really focus on my writing and, during a 6 month trip to Indonesia, I was lucky enough to get an email from my fantastic agent, Anne Clark (of Anne Clark Literary Agency) who offered to represent me.  Anne is wonderful, and by the time I met her 6 months later, she had already secured a book deal with Bloomsbury… so it was a very exciting first meeting indeed!

Have you always written/told stories?

I used to write poetry when I was much younger, and then some in my early teens but I stopped writing for years and only picked it up again in 2012. Once I’d started though I realised how much I enjoyed it and wondered why I’d ever stopped.

Where is your favourite place to write?

If I am really into a story then I can write anywhere.  I wrote The Birthday Invitation on the bus on my commute to work! But I tend to prefer it to be quiet so, sitting at my table in my flat is just perfect.  I often read my stories out loud to make sure that they scan properly, and this can seem a bit odd in a cafe! I quite like swimming too and because it’s very rhythmic, I find I sometimes go over stories in my head when I swim.


London Buses, by Laura Hughes — available to buy as a print from The Bright Emporium.

Some questions for you both…

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?!

LR: I remember telling my dad that I wanted to be a trapeze artist.  My parents have always told me and my sister ‘You can be anything you want to be’ so my dad’s response was ‘Well then, you MUST! You must run away and join the circus!’

LH: I wanted to be an artist (amongst many other things) but was steered away from it as I grew up. Unfortunately there are many people who don’t consider the creative industries to be ‘real’ or viable jobs, which is why I think it’s really important for illustrators to be visible to children and show them that this is a career that they can do too if they wish.

Favourite picture books from childhood?

LR: Weirdly, I don’t remember so many picture books but more poetry. We read lots of A.A. Milne — When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six — I still read poems from these books all the time.


LH: I loved Richard Scarry’s books and the Rupert Bear comic strips. I still have very well-used copies of both at home.


Endpapers by famous Rupert Annual illustrator, Alfred Bestall.

COP_Richard Scarry le piu belle parole del mondo.indd

The art of Richard Scarry.

Who or what inspires you?

LR: This might seem a bit cliched from a rhyming picture book author but Dr Seuss!  and specifically his book, Oh the Places you’ll go. His use of rhyme and rhythm is just so incredible but what I really love is his knack for delivering really powerful messages in child-friendly ways..such as ‘You have brains in your head you have feet in your shoes you can steer yourself any direction you choose’ — Amazing!


LH: Inspiration is everywhere. For reference, I draw inspiration from folk tales, films, nature and exhibitions. I also really enjoy getting away from my studio for a bit to go location drawing.


Beautiful seaside scene by Laura Hughes.

Memorable birthday parties from your childhood?

LR: I was a big fan of fancy dress so there were quite a lot of that!  When I think back, it’s those parties at home or in a village hall, with party games, a home-made birthday cake and party bags that were the best!

LH: The best parties I remember were always the ones where a parent had hired the local village hall for a disco. You could just run around screaming and being hyper from the party food for a few hours without your parents telling you off. Freedom!

What’s next on the horizon?

LR: Lots of people ask me if my writing is linked to or about my work as a Speech and Language Therapist and usually I say no, but recently I started working on a story that is specifically to do with children’s communication.  It’s very early days at the moment but I’m interested to see where it will go.

LH: I’m currently working on a couple of exciting projects with publishers, Bloomsbury and Faber, with books out next year.


Follow Laura on Twitter and Instagram

If you’d like to work with Laura, you can get in touch via her agent, Arabella Stein here.

Books by laura

Follow Lucy on Twitter

Books by Lucy

 Meet Laura & Lucy at story time on Sunday 21st May at The Bright Emporium!

Find out more and book your tickets here.





The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

If You’re Looking to Launch Your Book, We have the Perfect Place…

The Bright Emporium is a calm and warming space, yet it’s also buzzing with creativity. The interior is full of picture book art along with the picture books themselves, so what better place than here to hold a book launch?

This year we have hosted a number of launches, working closely with publishers, authors and illustrators in making sure picture books are celebrated and shared with fans, industry experts and fellow creatives.

David Litchfield’s launch for Grandad’s Secret Giant, with Frances Lincoln.

Yasmeen Ismail’s launch for Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad, with publisher Laurence King.

Illustrator Laura Hughes and author Lucy Rowland, and their launch for The Birthday Invitation with publisher Bloomsbury.

Daniel Duncan at the launch of his debut picture book, South, published with Abrams Chronicle Books.

Illustrator Jorge Martin and Author Tracey Corderoy at the launch for Fairytale Pets, published by Little Tiger Group.

If you’re looking for a venue, we’d love to help.

Simply get in touch with Emporium Gallery Manager, Lorna Oakley-Smithfield:

Email |
Telephone | 0207 326 9140

The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Matt Hunt’s Message in a Bottle

Matt Hunt studied fine art, but he hadn’t quite realised his talent for illustration until after his graduation. His debut author-illustrated picture book Message in a Bottle published with Scholastic in April of this year, and we are delighted to announce that he will be hosting a story time session at The Bright Emporium in May. Here’s a little bit more about Matt…

Is lion based on anyone you know?

I suppose there a little bit of me in Lion if I’m honest. We both play the guitar, and think we probably know best, but really don’t!


What gave you the idea for Message in a Bottle?

It began with an illustration of the Lion character sat on a dock playing his guitar, and he inspired the story of wanting to get away from the daily grind and escape away to a desert island somewhere (it’s probably how I was feeling at the time!)

lion rough3

Lion 2

Did you study illustration?

I actually studied fine art. When I graduated from Birmingham City University my passion for picture books and children’s illustration just grew and grew.


Have you always wanted to illustrate picture books?

It never occurred to me that it was something I wanted to do before I graduated. I always pictured myself having my paintings hanging in a gallery — that may still happen one day, but for now I’m quite happy!

Who or what inspired/inspires you?

It really can be anything and everything. There are so many aspect of everyday life that creates great characters and stories. Family, friends, my cats, random people I meet, dreams, film and books.


Favourite picture book? (from childhood or current)

I have fond memories of reading Gorilla by Anthony Browne when I was at primary school. I’m also a big Raymond Briggs fan, but my favourite current books are probably the Mr. Peek series by Kevin Waldron.

Matt books

Future plans?

Just to carry on doing what I’m doing! Hopefully I get the chance to write some more, create some interesting and fun characters, and make the most of any opportunities that come my way.

With big thanks to Matt!

Follow Matt on Twitter and Instagram

And if you’d like to get in touch, you can do so via his agent, Arabella Stein here.

Meet Matt at Storytime Sunday!
Matt will be at The Bright Emporium on Sunday 7th May!
Find out more, and book your place HERE!

Matt Hunt_V2

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

The Making of Grandad’s Secret Giant, with the Award Winning David Litchfield.

David Litchfield is an award winning children’s author and illustrator: His books are always something to look forward to, and after the success of The Bear and the Piano, you could say he had a challenge on his hands!


I urge every parent to buy a copy of David’s new picture book. It’s a story about acceptance, described and illustrated in such an empathetic way, and on a subject that isn’t easy to explain. It feels ever more prevalent that we teach our children in every way possible, that being different from one another is absolutely okay.
David thought of this book idea a long time ago — before The Bear and the Piano was even a twinkle in his eye… (well almost!) Here he talks about the journey, the development and how it all came to be… LM

Giant 2

“I had the very beginnings of the idea a fair few years ago. I liked the idea of trying to keep a big Giant secret in modern day suburban settings and having him hide behind houses and lamp posts and things. Once this initial idea started forming I decided to create some drawings based around this concept of hiding the giant. This was a few years ago and I wasn’t yet a full time illustrator but I was working as a teacher and creating the drawings in the evenings.

I made three or four images based around this idea and I really liked them so I put them on-line to get some feedback. Lots of people seemed to like the drawings, particularly the one of the Giant hiding in the city. It got shared around social media quite a bit. In fact, I owe this image a lot as this particular image was seen by Anne at Bright on twitter and it prompted her to get in touch and talk to me about signing to Bright.
Which was amazing.

Read more about Creative Managing Agent, Anne Moore-Armstrong in From Art School to Publication: Why Having an Agent is Key. A mini blog series also featuring David’s journey into picture book illustration.


Anyhoo, I came up with a very loose story based around the drawings I had. It was about a Grandad who is travelling the world one day and finds the Giant hiding in a forest in Peru. He feels sorry for the Giant and attempts to sneak him home to England with him so they could be friends forever. That was literally all I had in terms of story. It obviously needed a lot of work. Also, the character of the Giant was super scary looking and just looked totally weird.

Giant Sketch


Soon after Anne signed me up to Bright, I was invited to pitch some book ideas to the publisher, Frances Lincoln. So I took the Giant drawings and the story idea along, and pitched the idea to them. This is the same meeting that I also pitched The Bear & The Piano, which is the one they obviously asked me to develop first, and not the giant story that I had been thinking about for so long. None the less, they did see a spark in the Secret Giant story and asked me to keep it on the back burner and be thinking about it whilst also working on The Bear & The Piano.


Whilst making the Bear & The Piano I was learning so much and  I was able to use this new found knowledge regarding story telling and character design in the eventual development of Grandad’s Secret Giant.

So when the time came to really focus on the new book the story had changed quite considerably and the Giant had undergone a complete make over; he became more appealing and less terrifying.

Giant Beard 1

It’s a bit strange really, because The Bear & The Piano happened really quickly and the idea for that book and how it came together was pretty smooth. Whereas, I feelGrandad’s Secret Giant has been on much more of a journey. I’m super happy with how the end result has turned out and I personally feel that the whole project — from those very first sketches to the final design of the book, has been one massive learning curve for me as a picture book maker.

I have always thought that every good book, film or piece of art should have a meaningful message within the story, even if it’s hidden in a metaphor. I thought that this story was a great opportunity to express an idea of accepting people for who they are and also accepting yourself for who you are. I also think the book is about embracing your oddness. Your oddness is what makes you you after all.


I do obviously try and teach my own children as much as I can about tolerance, acceptance and friendship. And maybe this does also merge in to my story ideas. But I also think that children’s books in general teach us so much in terms of human values and I think that is why they are rightly celebrated so much.

With both my own books and the books I draw for other authors, I will start by creating some character designs. I try and create a few versions of each of the characters. I then discuss these with the editor and art director on the book and we decide which designs will work best.

I then will draw a ‘rough’ which is basically a sketched out version of the entire book.  Again this will be looked at by the editor and art director and together we iron out any issues with the compositions, the layout or the pace of the story.

Spread 3 Version 2

Once we are all generally happy with this stage I will then start to create the artwork. However, even at this stage things can change and the idea or design will be tweaked. In fact all the way up to the very last few moments before the book gets sent off to print, changes will happen.

The whole process is all a total collaboration. Even though it is my name on the front of the book, there are a number of incredibly talented and clever people involved in bringing these books to life.

Read about David’s collaboration with author, Ross Montgomery, The Building Boy here.

Do you test your ideas out on your little boy? (great to have a captive audience!)

“Ha ha… I do actually. I show him the drawings when I’m working on them and I know from his reaction if we are on to a winner or not. If he really looks at the drawing for a while and asks me a lot of questions I know I’m on the right track. He is at a very good age now in terms of running ideas by him (he’s coming up to five) and recently he is actually starting to offer some very good and structured critique. Some of it can be quite cutting; like the other day he said that the tortoise I drew looked too much like a frog. I was completely devastated.” DL

If you’d like to read more about the making of Grandad’s Secret Giant, you can do so here.

Follow David on Twitter and Instagram

Watch his TedX talk!

And if you’d like to work with David, you can get in touch via his agent, Anne Moore-Armstrong here.

Even BETTER… David Litchfield will be at The Bright Emporium on Sunday April 23rd for a Storytime and a book signing. Tickets are selling fast! So don’t delay! You can book your place here.



The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Behind The Pumpkin Project with Sarah Jennings!


Sarah Jennings has just completed the illustrations for a book that won the ITV Lorraine’s Top Tales prize: The Pumpkin Project, written by Katie Smith — a newly discovered talent, thanks to this fledgling book prize, run by Hachette Children’s Books in conjunction with ITV.
Having illustrated mainly for the educational sector, Sarah is about to publish her first picture book, Wishker, by Heather Pinda (Maverick Books)  — and now this, her first children’s fiction title with Hodder Children’s Books.
We often talk to picture book illustrators, but what about books for a slightly older age group — not quite ready for picture-less books, but ready for lots more words?
The Bright Emporium is keen to introduce books for this age group, with so many fantastic children’s fiction titles out there, many of which are illustrated by Bright artists.
The Pumpkin Project is the very beginning of this exciting new venture, with an event on Sunday 9th April, including a reading and craft making workshop, based around the book — the same format as Storytime Sunday, but for a slightly older audience.

Bright Fiction covers

A selection of fiction titles, illustrated by Bright artists (from left to right) David Litchfield with author Ross Montgomery; Becca Stadtlander with Peter Bunzl (shortlisted for the Waterstones children’s book prize this year); Karl James Mountford with Jennifer Bell.

Here Sarah talks about her creative process and how things are beginning to take off for her in the world of children’s publishing.


The Pumpkin Project got lots of attention for being the winning book in the ITV/Lorraine’s Top Tales prize – was it exciting to be working on a project with almost celebrity status?!

Yes it was incredibly exciting and also a little daunting! I don’t really watch TV, so the first thing I did on hearing about the project was to do lots of googling and find out as much as I could. I watched so many clips about Top Tales and I couldn’t wait to get started! Everyone involved in the project was so enthusiastic and excited too — especially Katie, the author. It was lovely to present her with my illustrations for the book and even do a little bit of filming for ITV too. It was an amazing and quite a surreal feeling to see the book on live TV on publication day too!


Developing the cover art for The Pumpkin Project.

Where do you begin when you illustrate a picture book?

I always begin in my sketchbook with some VERY rough, VERY scribbly little sketches. I will scribble out lots of different compositions and characters and then scan in the ones that I feel work best. I then blow them up to size, print them out and redraw them in more detail using a light box. I will redraw and scan in a few times until I’m happy. Then I start on the final line work and create some painted textures to use in Photoshop for the colour art.

My favourite part of every project is designing and developing the characters for the story. The first thing I did for The Pumpkin Project was to send some sketches of the main characters.

Q2-first sketches

Developmental character sketches for The Pumpkin Project.


More character development by Sarah.

Do you have a favourite book from you childhood, or illustrator that particularly inspired/inspires you?

My all time favourite book as a child was John Burningham’s The Avocado Baby. Sadly I never owned a copy of my own but I would take it out at the library on an almost weekly basis and drive my poor mum mad by requesting it every night as my bedtime story (I’m sure she could still recite it from memory for me now!) I still love John Burningham’s work today. His line drawings are so delicate and he packs so many beautiful textures into his artwork.

Do you work traditionally, or digitally, or both?!

I enjoy combining them both. I find that working entirely digitally means that I tend to lose the looseness in my drawings and working entirely traditionally can be very time consuming… and there is no undo button which can be problematic sometimes! I love to draw, paint and create textures traditionally in my sketchbook and then scan these in and layer them up digitally on the computer. Then I can add any extra little details in Photoshop.


When illustrating black and white for fiction, is it all done very traditionally, or is photoshop involved somewhere – for example, in what format do you present the artwork to the publisher?

 All of the illustrations for the book were drawn traditionally by hand. I did a rough pencil sketch first for each one, then the final line work was drawn with my favourite pen and some pencil texture detail too. These were all scanned into the computer and I added a little more detail digitally.

The illustrations were presented to the publisher as digital files. Afterwards everything was printed out and I presented these to the author in person, which was a new experience for me and luckily they went down really well with her too!

How much input did you/or do you get from the author of the book at the time?

The main piece of information I had from Katie, before I had even received the story was about Lottie, the main character. She had to have ‘unruly hair, a bit like Hagrid’s Beard from Harry Potter’ which made me laugh!

I met with Katie and we talked through the illustrations in person, which was something I hadn’t done before but it was great to get feedback in person and discuss ideas!

“The main piece of information I had from Katie, before I had even received the story was about Lottie, the main character. She had to have ‘unruly hair, a bit like Hagrid’s Beard from Harry Potter’ which made me laugh!” Sarah Jennings

What led you to study illustration?

I have loved drawing for as long as I can remember and have always been creative. I did an Art and Design course at college and spent most of my time there sketching, drawing and creating characters.  It was only when I was coming to the end of my course that I realised illustration was what I really wanted to do.


I went on to study illustration at the University of Wolverhampton. I remember one of the first projects we worked on was based on illustrating for children’s books and I loved it so much! It was during my time there that I set my heart on becoming a children’s book illustrator.

What would be your dream project?

That’s a tough question! I would love to illustrate more picture books. I have recently finished my second picture book as an illustrator which is out in a couple of months! I think my dream project would be to write and illustrate my own picture book some day.


Publishing with Maverick, 28th May 2017.

The Pumpkin Project is my first fiction project and I enjoyed it so much. I would definitely like to work on more fiction books in the very near future!

Q8 2nd picutre book

Artwork from Wishker, by Heather Pindar, and illustrated by Sarah Jennings. Published May 28th 2017.

At the moment I am currently working on a series of books for Harper Collins in the US and have more educational and picture book projects lined up for the rest of the year. I have also just finished a couple of phonics titles that were lots of fun!


With thanks to Sarah for sharing her creative process with us!

Follow Sarah on Instagram and Twitter.

If you’d like to work with Sarah, you can get in touch here! 

 Meet Sarah Jennings at The Bright Emporium!

Sarah will be hosting an event on Sunday 9th April with The Pumpkin Project and lots of fun crafts and activities.
This is a book for a slightly older age group, but all ages welcome!

Book your place HERE!


The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

A Musical Storytime Sunday with Tom Knight and Jimmy Finnigan!

Written and Illustrated by Tom Knight, Published By Templar Publishing 

Last Sunday we welcomed Author and Illustrator Tom Knight to the Bright Emporium for what turned out to be the LOUDEST and WILDEST workshop ever!! We had so much fun from a reading of the story, to a crafting session- making our very own musical instruments. All toped off by a fantastic singing and dancing performance by Tom and all the children and parents! Have a read of  our blog about the journey of this amazing book here!

Here are a few photographs from the morning…

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Thanks to Tom Knight for showing us his guitar and giving us all a good old sing song!


Storytime Sunday with Sarah Jennings and the Award Winning Pumpkin Project.
1.5 hours, £10 per workshop, book included. 

The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Spiders Playing Sport: Storytime with Sebastien Braun


We had such a great time at Storytime on Sunday, the brilliant illustrator, Sebastien Braun came in to the Emporium to do a magical storytelling of Spinderella. As you can see from the photos- a lot of fun was had by all.

We were all captivated by Seb’s reading of the story, the children joined in with their numbers, practicing their counting out loud, along with Spinderella the spider. The story was great at conveying the importance of counting and teamwork.

We then got creative, making our very own spider football team, just like there was in the book. Each participant made their very own spider, inclusive (in most cases) of all 8 legs. We set up some goal posts and used the spiders we made to test out our football skills, working hard to score, it’s fair to say the word ‘GOAL!’ was heard a lot in the Emporium on Sunday.


Get ready for the next Storytime Sunday by reading our ‘Go behind the book with Migy and Karl Here.

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)


This week it was half term for lots of schools, so the Emporium threw open its doors and filled it with fun for families to enjoy! Today we had our Arts Facilitator, Kim, running a Read! Make! Play! class using drama and play based on well-loved books in the space, and Meet the Artist with Sian Wheatcroft and her debut title This Bear, That Bear!








Perfect to keep little ones busy, Sian Wheatcroft visited us from Doncaster for a Meet the Artist storytime and crafting event with her brand new book, This Bear, That Bear – a rhyming story that gets the little ones guessing and joining in along the way, with lots to spot over each page:

“Who will Little Bear see at the bear parade? Will it be ‘This bear, that bear, likes to wear a hat bear?’ One thing’s for sure – the day will be full of surprises! A joyous celebration of bears in all shapes, sizes and styles.”

We were WOWED by Sian’s beautiful sound board, which arrived in the bright emporium with her – a stunning canvas of the characters in the book, with a ‘touch and hear’ sounding device installed on the back, so that when the little bear playing the trumpet was touched, a trumpeting sound would come out!! Or when the drum was banged and big ‘boooom’ would erupt! And best of all… even the fireworks sounded too, with lots of ‘whizzing’ and ‘BANGS!’. Everyone had their own party hooter so they could join in too:

Many thanks to Sian for coming all the way to see us, our local families had a brilliant time!


Meanwhile the fabulous Kim ran Read,Make,Play! for Bright artist Fiona Woodcock’s title Hiding Heidi, with a camouflage Heidi placed around the room hiding for the children to try and find her. With extra interaction with the story for the children to immerse themselves, learning to swing in the trees and skate as fast as they could around the room, just like Heidi and her friends! And of course making their own pages of the book with illustrations and their own take on the storyline, to take home at the end:


With snappy Alan from Alan’s Big Scary Teeth as our lead character:

Book your tickets here!


The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Storytime Sunday with an Unexpected Visitor!

The Unexpected Visitor by Egmont

We welcomed back Jessica Courtney-Tickle, who joined us last year with her beautifully illustrated book The Story Orchestra, all about the seasons and featuring music by Vivaldi.

For this storytime sunday event, Jess read her brand new debut author/illustrated picture book, The Unexpected Visitor – a stunningly beautiful and warm-hearted picture book all about the friendship between a fisherman and a whale. The perfect way to introduce the notion of sharing, sustainability and taking care of the creatures in our oceans with young children. You can read her ‘About the Book’ blog here.

After reading the book (right up close on the stripy storytelling mat!) everyone headed for the craft table: With a boat and fish scene drawn out by Jess, our mini mess makers had their own fish to decorate and add to Jess’ colourful FISH SCAPE!

Many thanks to Jess for visiting us again, we had a fantastic time and can’t wait to get you back!


Has already SOLD OUT! But we will release some wait list tickets nearer the events, so do check it out:

We are extremely excited to be hosting a storytime with artist Sebastien Braun, who has illustrated the best selling Spinderella, by the very well known and much loved author of The Gruffalo, and many more, Julia Donaldson!

This is a wonderful story,by an award-winning author, with the perfect illustrations to match.
After a reading, there will be creativity and crafting, followed by a book signing with Seb.

We look forward to seeing you!

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Read! Make! Play! with The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield

The sentiment and journey of the story are so warm and heartfelt – matching the depthy images and incredible use of light, which are so recognisable in David’s artwork.

By David Litchfield, Published by Francis Lincoln

One day, a young bear stumbles upon something he has never seen before in the forest. As time passes, he teaches himself how to play the strange instrument, and eventually the beautiful sounds are heard by a father and son who are picnicking in the woods. The bear goes with them on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star. He has fame, fortune and all the music in the world, but he misses the friends and family he has left behind. A moving tale of exploration and belonging from an exciting debut author-illustrator.


A selection of photos from the fantastic creative workshop we held last Sunday with Kim and The Bear and the Piano…

A musical magical time!

Join us for the next Read! Make! Play!… 

Sunday 19th February – BOOK TICKETS HERE!
Read! Make! Play! based on Alan’s Big Scary Teeth by Jarvis
1 hr long, £10 per workshop

10-11am ages 5+
11.30-12.30pm ages 4 and under

You can click here for our timetable featuring all the upcoming events at The Emporium in 2017!


The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Storytime Sunday: With Gabe Alborozo and Thank Goodness for Bob

Thank Goodness for Bob, published by Egmont

On sunday 29th we were joined by a wonderful super-duo; author, Matthew Morgan and illustrator, Gabriel Alborozo, with their new picture book, Thank Goodness for Bob.
Max is a little boy with a lot of worries. How to deal with a situation like this when you’re a parent? Here’s a wonderful way of helping your children realise that it’s okay to think about things alot, and a good way to evaporate those worries is to talk about them, which is where Bob the dog comes in. Bob who listens, and shows Max that he needn’t worry at all.

After a reading of the story, Matt and Gabe talked about all the things they worry about and asked the children to think about what they worry about too! Creating ‘worry bubbles’ of their own, everyone loved Matt’s giant bubble maker, and got messy at the crafting table with Gabe to make their very own worry bubbles to pop away. These were stuck onto a Bob and Max poster at the end – just like in the book.

With copies of the book signed at the end for lots of happy little readers!

Many thanks to Gabe and Matthew for a wonderful morning filled with bubbles!
You can read more about Gabe and Matthew and the making of Thank Goodness for Bob here!

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Next Storytime Sunday… 

If you’d like to join us for our next story time with the wonderful Jessica Courtney-Tickle, or for information on our children’s events, you can click here for our timetable and to book your tickets.

12th January – BOOK TICKETS HERE!
Jess will be reading her brand new debut author/illustrated picture book, The Unexpected Visitor – a stunningly beautiful and warm-hearted picture book all about the friendship between a fisherman and a whale.
1.5 hours, £10 per workshop, book included. 

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With lots coming up this half term you can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter to parents which outlines everything coming up. To sign up you can enter your email at the bottom of our website or contact the gallery team:

We look forward to hearing from you!

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)


The Bright Emporium is the perfect space to hire, from making mess at the drawing table for a 6th Birthday, to raising a glass of bubbly with friends at your 50th. It’s also the perfect location for corporate break-out days.

With a multi-functional design, high ceilings, ambient lighting and beautiful artwork adorning the walls, the Bright Emporium offers the perfect space to share with family and friends, whatever the event may be.

Pictures taken at NOTORiOUS Kids party in the Bright Emporium.

We can also advise you on party organisers, entertainers, suppliers and event caterers HERE.

We highly recommend an events company called Notorious Kids, who will do everything for you from entertainment to catering and decoration of the space.

“All NOTORiOUS KiDS parties and events are made magical by the most professional and talented team of actors, directors, dancers and choreographers, specialist performers, make-up artists, photographers and stylists, creative writers and child development specialists.” Find out more here.

“The Bright Emporium is the perfect space for a children’s party. With its ray of natural light and fun interior it’s a great place for children to be playful, inspired and engaged. We look forward to partying at The Bright Emporium and bringing lots of different party themes to life here!”  Victoria Pearce, Managing & Creative Director of Notorius Kids

We offer access to our downstairs office space for storage and preparation, with a kitchen for food prep and set-up.

To find out more about space hire, please get in touch with the gallery and events team:

You can also read more HERE.

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Storytime Sunday: Too Many Carrots with Katy Hudson!

By Katy Hudson, Published by Curious Fox Books.

As a little girl, Katy Hudson took to expressing her artistic flair by drawing on her parents’ freshly emulsioned walls…
They swiftly encouraged her to try paper instead, and it’s from there that her passion for creativity grew…

On Sunday, Katy joined us to read her picture book, Too Many Carrots — an inspired tale of Rabbit, and his passion for collecting things — well carrots, to be precise. His carrot-hoarding ways soon become an issue, and there’s a lesson to be learned for Rabbit and his kind and generous friends!

 Katy reading her lovely book, Too Many Carrots


Everyone getting stuck in to crafts!


The book signing is the best bit!


 Making glittery carrots, and bunny ears!


Many thanks to Katy for a wonderful morning filled with lots and lots of carrots!!
You can read more about Katy and the making of Too Many Carrots Here!

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Next Storytime Sunday… 

29th January – BOOK TICKETS HERE!
Storytime Sunday with Matthew Morgan and Gabriel Alborozo and their brand new book, Thank Goodness for Bob!
1.5 hours, £10 per workshop, book included. 

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

A Christmas Storytime with Benji Davies & The Storm Whale In Winter

What a wonderfully festive finale to round up our story time events for the year!

If you missed out on our story time with Benji Davies, there is still lots to get involved with in the run up to Christmas and into the New Year.

Smaller sized limited edition mounted prints by Benji are now available to buy from us!


We have a beautiful exhibition of Benji’s original artwork from both Storm Whale books on display in our gallery until February 2017 (admission free)


We also have signed editions of both books in paper back, and a small handful of very sought after slipcased editions, with a signed print enclosed (books also signed by Benji Davies)


Below is our gallery of the days events, from story readings to a wonderfully engaging group collaboration in creating a scene from The Storm Whale featuring all the characters from the books. This was followed by snowflake decoration, a drawing masterclass from Benji and lots of book signings. Huge thanks to Benji Davies and all the families who joined us on Sunday.


***WIN A Storm Whale Print***


If you’d like to receive our weekly newsletter, highlighting events coming up, email the gallery team:

To find out what’s happening in 2017, click HERE to see our full timetable of events.

See you soon!

With Best Christmas Wishes,
The Bright Emporium Team.


The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Book Launch: A Dot in the Snow

On Saturday 3rd December, we hosted the official London book launch for A Dot in the Snow, by Corrinne Averiss and Fiona Woodcock.

What a great festive start to December! We had a reading, crafts for children and of course book signings from both author and illustrator.

A Dot in the Snow will be the Cbeebies bedtime story on 17th December at 6.50pm, read by Maureen Lipman, and this snowy story has also made it into The Times and The Mail Books of the Year, and The Book Trust Christmas list for 2016. Congratulations to both Fiona and Corrinne!


Here’s our gallery of highlights!



Featured in these photos: Author Swapna Haddow, Felicity Trew, Dot Author Corrinne Averiss and Author/Illustrator Sheena Dempsey.

Bottom picture: The sellout launch at Waterstones in Manchester.

Read more about Fiona Woodcock HERE.

Find out what else is coming up this year and into 2017 at The Bright Emporium HERE!

Buy beautiful artwork prints by Fiona for Christmas — more info here.

Follow Fiona Woodcock on Twitter and Instagram.

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

The Best Christmas Present Ever! Storytime with Ben Mantle


It’s out last storytime of the year, and we are very excited to be joined by Benji Davies, author and illustrator of The Storm Whale, and Grandad’s Island.

You can book tickets and find out more information here.


If you’d like to join us for our next story time, or for information on our children’s events, you can click here for our timetable and to book your tickets.

With more details to follow in the New Year, you can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter to parents which outlines everything coming up. To sign up, contact the gallery team:

We look forward to hearing from you!




The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Read! Make! Play! With Poles Apart

Photos from our Poles Apart workshop with Kim Hillyard!


Walk like a… Penguin!

If you’d like to join our Read! Make! Play! workshops, or for information on our children’s events, you can click here for our timetable and to book your tickets.

With more details to follow in the New Year, you can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter to parents which outlines everything coming up. To sign up, contact the gallery team:

We look forward to hearing from you!



The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Read! Make! Play! With The Fox and the Wild



“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”






Book your tickets for the next Read! Make! Play! workshop here.


The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Building Boys and Girls at Storytime with David Litchfield and Ross Montgomery!



Number 1 fan!

sts_arangedphotosThe making of the great Freddy Flag Face!


Budding little illustrators…

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Next Storytime Sunday…



For all our events, visit the timetable on our website HERE.


The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

10 tips on making Messy Mornings!

Our ‘Messy Mornings’ facilitator Rachael Bull gives us her

Top Mess-Making Tips:

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Why start up Messy Mornings:
Messy mornings began as I love being creative especially with littlies! Being able to encourage them to make and create is incredible, and exploring the different possibilities with them a privilege.

It’s great when parents have this chance to be creative with their tiny humans. But when the word ‘mess’ is involved, us adults tend to hold back. This is where The Bright Emporium comes in; this amazing space means that families can come and do art and craft (making lots of mess!) but not have to worry about it!

What happens at Messy Mornings:
To spark our imaginations, we start each session by looking at some of the art on the walls that is linked to our theme that week. This helps us know what to start thinking about when we pick up a paintbrush.

The wonderful thing about Messy Mornings is seeing lots of families coming together in one place. So with one big piece of paper, we love making big art together! And a little something to take home… We aren’t about a masterpiece though – just the chance for these tiny humans to have fun experimenting with art.

Here are some top tips for you to do this at home. Because having fun with art isn’t just for Messy Mornings!


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Check out our timetable for upcoming events
and book upcoming Messy Morning events here on eventbrite and attend for free!


The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

A Spooky, Silly Storytime with Sue Hendra 🎃 🎃 🎃





Next Storytime Sunday…



For all our events, visit the timetable on our website HERE.


The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Introducing Read! Make! Play!


Due to the sell-out success of our Storytime Sunday events, The Bright Emporium has introduced equally unique creative workshops based on our children’s picture books called READ! MAKE! PLAY!

Welcoming our Art Facilitator Kim Hillyard!
Kim has a wealth of experience when it comes to creativity as a RADA trained actress, teacher, artist, musician, model and a music journalist for the New Musical Express.


She has always loved working with children and the Emporium provides the perfect space to share her creative craft on a Sunday, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. Kim’s workshops still combine storytelling with craft, but they differ from Storytime Sundays in that we go through the creative breakdown of making a book, and coming up with new ideas. At the end of each workshop, every child will leave with something they have made. It’s real creative learning with an expert in art, drama and literature, where little ones can engage whilst having fun.

“I find working with children is endlessly inspiring, surprising, fun, challenging and never boring. I am hugely passionate about creative education and the benefits of drama and storytelling for everyone” KH —

Which makes us the perfect match.

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Q&A with Kim

How do you communicate how a book is made, and how stories work to your young audience?

“It’s really important to me that any workshop I run has the potential to go anywhere the children’s imaginations might want to take it, rather than a prescribed session that says “today we are making exactly this.” All my workshops start with a very simple theme or idea that can be adapted to suit any age. One of my Read! Make! Play! called ‘Little Picture Books’ takes a book from The Bright Emporium’s beautiful book shelf, looks at how it is made and reduces its story to a very simple beginning, middle and end. We then use drama games and creative play to inspire picture book pages of our own, be that drawing one of the characters in a completely new setting or coming up with an entirely new story altogether. No idea is a bad idea! Hopefully children will leave feeling confident and inspired to carry on being creative when they get home. (And yes, I’m secretly trying to fill the world with more Roald Dahls and Beatrix Potters…)”

It’s a real luxury to be able to run children’s workshops in a space exclusively dedicated to children’s books. The Bright Agency offices are downstairs and you’ve been producing beautiful children’s books for the past ten years! I’m hoping to transfer some of that imaginative, creative energy onto the writers and illustrators of our future! I wish more businesses were as proactive with their offices. Imagine if we were required to invite children into our workspaces at the weekends to learn about what we do in a fun and creative way? It would benefit everyone.” KH

More about Kim:

  • I studied Drama at Exeter University. I am an expert tree impressionist and can recite the complete works of Shakespeare on command.
  • I’m the resident storyteller at Clapham Books, find me there every Wednesday morning at 11am. I’m also a drama facilitator with Bigfoot Arts. We work in schools to enrich the curriculum with drama and art. If you’ve never seen an impromptu theatre production involving an unstable Hydrogen atom you’re seriously missing out.
  • I’ve been a music journalist for the past eight years, covering gigs, festivals and new records for places like NME, the BBC and beyond. I’m hoping to build a picture book collection as big as my record collection! In fact, my writing habits are now almost exclusively focused on children’s literature. There’s less beer and more bunny rabbits with pocket watches.
  • I’m in FEMME! It’s really a solo project by South London musician and producer Laura Bettinson. She makes left-field electronic pop and I’m one of her two Bullet Girls. We make up routines, sing backing vocals, DJ and make music videos. We’ve toured the States in a van, played loads of gigs and generally caused havoc! You can listen to her music here.
  • *Clears throat* I’ve been a Voice Over artist for the past five years! I’ve recorded radio ads and audio books and all sorts of bizarre things. Once I was paid to say the word ‘banana’ in multiple voices for an entire hour.
  • Favourite book character: Matilda definitely has it all. But I bet everyone goes for her.
    Um… the little yellow duck hidden on every page of every Usborne book ever. He’s a humble global superstar.

    Kanye could learn a thing or two…



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Kim’s workshops begin again on Sunday 22nd January
More info HERE!

  • You can also find more information about workshops with Kim, and book tickets via our timetable on The Bright Emporium website here:


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A Storytime of Four Seasons, with Jessica Courtney-Tickle

We held our first musical storytime on Sunday with artist, Jessica Courtney-Tickle. It was great to combine music and crafts to really get those creative little brains on the move!



Four Seasons In One Day is a musically interactive book with a button to press for each season, playing extracts of Vivaldi’s Four seasons.



Next Storytime Sunday…

It’s going to be a Halloween special!


We will be joined by the super award-winning comical duo, Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, creators of Supertato and the 2016 LOLLIES winner I Need A Wee!


Sue and Paul have illustrated Mark Sperring’s hilarious Halloween book, Four Silly Skeletons…

“A rollicking, rhythmical story perfect to read aloud, made even more zany and hilarious by Sue and Paul’s bright, bold illustrations. Just right for making kids jump – and then making them laugh.”

Book your tickets here.

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Get Your Thinking Hats On! Last Storytime Sunday with Julia Patton…

Julia Patton encourages kids to get their thinking caps on at story time on Sunday! Creative and engaging — story times are something children and parents can enjoy together.






Next Storytime Sunday…


A musical morning with Jessica Courtney-Tickle, illustrator of a beautiful book featuring the music of Vivaldi. This book tells a story around one of his most famous pieces, The Four Seasons

“Discover what it would be like to travel through the four seasons in one day, following a little girl called Isabelle and her dog, Pickle, as they take on the adventure of a lifetime. As a sign of the changing seasons, Isabelle carries a little apple tree with her, and we see it bud, blossom and lose its leaves. Each spread features a musical note to press and a 10 second sound clip from the original score of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Illustrated by artist Jessica Courtney-Tickle, the book also features a biography of Vivaldi at the back along with a guide to the music. This is the first title in a series of sound books that bring classical music to life for young children.”

Jessica is most influenced by vintage picture books, travel posters and folk art as well as numerous painters and printmakers. She uses a mixture of hand-painted backgrounds and digital effects to give her work a heavily textured and decorative appeal that sparks with magic!

Book your ticket to see Jessica here.

For more information on our story time events, you can email us, or visit our website: |

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The Heartiest of Story Times with Cap’n Fred Blunt!

A great many little pirates joined us on Sunday — it was a truly excellent party me hearties! Fred Blunt led the crew, first on a wild goose chase with the infamous Captain Falsebeard, and then on to the very important activity of making pirate hats, something every pirate takes a great deal of pride in.


With thanks to everyone who came along — we had a whale of a time!


Everyone getting stuck into pirate hat design — totally en vogue for budding pirate fashionistas!


Fred making drawings for fans — artwork worth it’s weight in gold me hearties!


You can read more about Fred and his books in our recent blog here.

If you’d like to work with Fred Blunt, you can reach him via his agent, Arabella Stein here.
You can also follow Fred on these social media channels:
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook




We welcome the wonderful and energetic Julia Patton who will be reading her picture book, Unstoppable Max, published by Oxford University Press.

You can find out more and book your tickets here.



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All Fun at The St John’s Hill Street Fair…

The Bright Emporium proudly sponsored and took part in the annual local street party on St John’s Hill on Sunday. We had glorious weather and a great turn out to the stall. We also officially opened our brand new exhibition, The Bright Collection, showcasing our talented artists and some beautiful artwork of the local area, such as Battersea Square and some of Londons big attractions like Tower Bridge and the London Eye.


Never a team to sit on our laurels, not only did we have our exhibition, but throughout the day, there were workshops, giving a free taster of the activities and events taking place for children each week at the Emporium.



We had Tutus for Tots: a new ballet class for little ones, run by local ballet mistress, Lucy Harley — with the focus being about building confidence and social interaction, and providing young children with a fun, exciting way to begin their dance experience. Family Yoga, with Amani, founder of Project Yogi, a social enterprise providing yoga and mindfulness for young people and families, and Mini Yoga, with Naomi Thrower, who runs Mini Yoga Wandsworth, incorporating storytelling with yoga, for which we have the perfect setting! For more details and bookings, just click on the links!


In between these wonderful active sessions, were creative workshops intertwined with stories and art. The first session was with writer and artist, Kim Hillyard, who read Alan’s Big Scary Teeth (by Jarvis) to a totally captivated audience, and then made little toothy green Alan’s with the kids (never under-estimate the power of pipe-cleaners and googly eyes…!) Kim will be running workshops on a regular basis and you can find out morehere.

Alan’s Big Scary Teeth, published by Walker Books, has been chosen by The BookTrust to be their Bookstart Treasure Pack for 2017,  sent to pre-schoolers aged 3-4 across the country. Around 600,000 copies will be sent to children in nurseries and children’s centres from January 2017, along with a booklet about how children and parents can read together.
Read the article in The Bookseller here.
You can also find out about the man behind the book, Jarvis, here.


Our second new creative workshop is for pre-schoolers, with artist Rachael Bull, who made a brilliant 3D building-scape with kids at our taster session. Rachael encourages flair and creativity – no need to worry about making a mess, it’s all about having fun with something to take home at the end of the session. Find out more and book a place here.

So we had a thoroughly brilliant day with our local community and look forward to the next event!


Book fans! A huge advocate of superhero veggies (left), and a very little Hiding Heidi fan!

Supertato, is written and illustrated by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet who won the LOLLIESaward this year for I Need a Wee! With a brand new book about to be published, this brilliant duo will be joining us at the end of October with a Halloween story time for spooks! If you’d like to know more, you can sign up for our newsletter, which gives you all the latest news and events — just email us: to subscribe. Supertato, I Need a Wee!, and other books by Sue and Paul are available to buy from The Bright Emporium.


Hiding Heidi is by Fiona Woodcock and you can read more about Fiona here and see artwork prints, available to buy here.



Bright Art Licensing (Greeting cards/gallery prints) The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Launching The Bright Collection…

On Tuesday night we held the private view of our brand new exhibition, The Bright Collection — a celebration of work by Bright artists across the globe. With the official public launch taking place on Sunday, in timing with the St John’s Hill street fair, here’s a preview of the stunning artwork on show.

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Artists featured: Feronia Parker-Thomas, Maddie Frost, Richard Jones, Olivia Holden, Matthew Taylor Wilson, Fiona Woodcock and Marika Maijala. You can browse these and much more artwork here.



Artists featured: Mouni Farah Feddag, Karl James Mountford, Olivia Holden, Ashling Lindsay, Becca Stadtlander, Laura Hughes, Clair Rossiter, Maria Cox, Jarvis. View and purchase these prints here.


Our new windows, designed by Bright’s graphic designer Jamie Cross for The Bright Collection. Featured here, Becca Stadtlander’s Battersea In Bloom.



Featured here, Richard Jones’ Morning Swim.

Sloths and Jamie

Featured here above our favourite polar bear is Dan Reiley’s Sleepy Sloths
And centrally featured flashes of all the brilliant things The Bright Emporium does from Storytime Sundays, to Book Launches and Yoga classes.



Bright M.D. and founder Vicki Willden-Lebrecht says a few words about the new exhibition and The Emporium space


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Left: Bright artist Carol Crimmins visits her artwork featured in the new exhibition.
Right: Laura Roberts of Pan Macmillan Publishers with Bright Commercial and Fiction Agent, Nicky Lander

Who's who

Top left: Bright artist Iriz Agogs Top right: Bright artist Ben Mantle with author Lucy Rowland and friend.
Bottom left: Bright artist Clair Rossiter with Sandra and Harriet from Bright: Bottom right: the team from Templar.

window night view


We’d like to thank everyone who attended the exhibition, and huge thanks to our Bright artists for creating the stunning artwork featured. We look forward to sharing this exhibition with everybody on our official launch this Sunday 11th September.

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A Celebration of All Things Illustration Up On St John’s Hill…


Why we opened The Bright Emporium:

To celebrate our artists work and share it with the public, the agency has opened The Bright Emporium, a unique space that opens a window for customers into the illustration and children’s book world.

This creative combined gallery, event space, boutique shop and licensing agency champions all things books! Through the Bright Emporium, it is our hope that consumers – both children and adults – can develop a deeper relationship with the picture book characters they love and allow their own creativity to spark into life.


Bright would love to partner with our publishers on their book launches, offering The Bright Emporium as a venue to help launch the work of our artists!

Take a look at our most recent launch with Fiona Woodcock for her debut picture book ‘Hiding Heidi’ by Simon & Schuster:

‘No Wallflowers Here! Behind the Scenes at The Official Book Launch of Fiona Woodcock’s debut; Hiding Heidi.’ Read the blog here.

Watch the trailer here


As well as evening celebrations, Bright offers another two types of launches at the Emporium:


Having built brilliant relationships with our local schools, the teachers, kids and the parents now want to visit the space for a book launch, buy the book and meet the artist. The perfect demographic, this is a great opportunity to bring the book face-face with its true fans!

Bright artist Ben Mantle, The Bright Emporium, Pan Macmillan and High View primary school came together as a force to be reckoned with, to celebrate the launch of Ben’s new picture book series ‘Dinostars‘. Read the blog here.


If a relaxed bookshop environment feels like the best fit for a picture book, we can invite our local community and families along to a Saturday morning book launch in the shop.

Previous Saturday launches include the first of Jenny Poh’s Superfairies series, by Curious Fox Publishers:
Making Magic at the Superfairies Book Launch


Get involved with Storytime Sunday, our popular community event at the Emporium. It allows children a space in which to get creative, meet authors and illustrators, reading the books with craft workshops based on the story and the characters. The Bright gallery and marketing team schedule storytime events with upcoming publications and ‘Behind the Book’ blogs to coincide with other promotional activity:

With a follow up Storytime blog here:
‘Storytime Sunflowers with Fiona Woodcock.’

‘From Art Licensing to Children’s Books and Beyond’ on the making of Hiding Heidi – read the blog here, including extracts from Fiona’s blog tour featuring Picture Books BloggerLibrary MicePlaying by the BookMagpie ThatRead It Daddy

Our supporters include:


With our ‘love the book – buy the print’ offering, children given prints sold in the Emporium from their favourite books, will develop a greater love for a story, a series, and an artist’s future publications.


Bright’s first exhibition Where The Story Began is now travelling – first stop is Craigard Gallery in conjunction with The Wigtown Literary Festival 23rd Sept – 2nd Oct! Here featured artist Benji Davies, will be partaking in the festival activities alongside an exhibition of his own book The Storm Whale, curated by the festival organisers.

Featuring artwork by 10 artists including Benji DaviesYasmeen Ismail and Sue HendraWhere The Story Began shares the inspiration for the artists’ illustrations and highlights how their children’s books come to life. The exhibition will be travelling throughout 2016 and 2017 to various literary festivals, museums and other vibrant event spaces. Find out more here.


The Bright Emporium is launching a new exhibition called The Bright Collection ranging from stunning city scenes, typography pieces, timeless nursery prints, scenes from favourite books and family and home inspired artwork. Including artwork from Jarvis, Clair Rossiter and Fiona Woodcock to name a few.

You are invited to the private opening of The Bright Collection, showing a brilliant range of artwork by illustrators represented by Bright, with 25% off prints at the private opening only!
You can see the full invite details here.

The exhibition opens to the public alongside the St John’s Hill Street Party on Sunday the 11th September. Find out more here.


Family Yoga

All ages and levels come together for one hour to enjoy a fun practise and the opportunity for family bonding.
Using Brights artists books as a story base, these classes give everyone the chance to explore yoga through postures, partner work, breathing techniques and relaxation in an enjoyable environment.

Find out more and book your ticket here

Yoga Classes

With adult classes before and after working hours, ranging from Hatha Yoga to Power Pilates. View and book classes here.

Coming Soon:
Book based drama workshops every other week called ‘Read Make Play.’

Tutus for Tots

Baby Ballet classes provide a magical arrangement of activities. The aim is to capture and nurture young children’s imagination and creativity. An array of different narrative settings, aided by the use of props, is used to enable the children to learn through play and explore through dance.
Find out more and book your ticket here

Sing and Sign

Specifically for babies aged 6 months up to 14 months, Sing and Sign combines the benefits of both music and baby signing. Babies naturally use a combination of gestures and sounds to help their parents understand them. Find out more here.


The Bright Emporium is the perfect space to hire, from making mess at the drawing table for a 2nd Birthday and taking a picture book home as a party bag, to enjoying the artwork and raising a glass of bubbly with friends at a 50th.

With a multi-functional design, bookshelves, flying books and an exhibition hanging, the Bright Emporium offers an exciting introduction to the wonderful world that can be found inside.

Exposing a new generation to art and storytelling is a key aim of the Bright Group, as we believe exposure to the arts is one of the most valuable things a person can experience, shaping their personality and encouraging them to grow creatively. Please get in touch if you would like to work with us on the promotion of your books by Bright illustrators or another industry event.

We hope to see you soon!

Very best, Harriet
Marketing and Gallery Manager | | +44 (0)207 326 9140

Harriet Steger
Marketing and Gallery Manager

Jess Lomax
Gallery Coordinator

Lucy Mayer
Marketing Coordinator

“ The Bright Emporium is a one-of-a-kind space. It gives children and adults the opportunity to see where the magic of stories begins, allowing them to interact with those who create and make stories happen.”  
– Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Founder & MD of Bright Group

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A Gold Medal for Storytime Sunday with Marta Kissi…

Marta Kissi hosted a story time fit for olympians this Sunday with the recently published debut picture book from Mo Farah and Kes Gray, published by Hachette Children’s Books and illustrated by Marta: Ready Steady Mo!


We had a full house here and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, listening to the wonderfully rhythmic poem written by Kes Gray, with Marta’s vibrant and colourful illustrations capturing everyone’s imagination. We then created our own olympic medals which were very impressive, and actually, I think most of the olympic athletes would have preferred a glittery medal…!

Marta montage 3

It was a really inspired morning with a top illustrator heading for the stars.

Thanks to all of the families who attended the event, we hope to see you next time! And big thanks go also to Marta Kissi for being such a great sport!

You can read more about the making of Ready Steady Mo! on our website here.

If you’d like to work with Marta Kissi, you can reach her via her agent, Arabella Stein here.

You can also follow Marta on Twitter and Instagram.

Marta Montage medal winners1



Our next story time event will be inspired by yet another rising star, The BBC’s Great British Bake Off winner of 2015, Nadiya Hussain!

Illustrator of Nadiya’s book, Clair Rossiter will be joining us to read the story, and then a creative workshop will follow. A litte bird tells me gingerbread men and other baking delights are to be expected…!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Book your tickets to meet Clair and hear Nadiya’s story, as well as helping to eat some cake here.

Clair Rossiter - Agency

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Story Time Sunflowers with Fiona Woodcock…

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning with the family; Storytime Sunday at The Bright Emporium with the very talented author and illustrator of Hiding Heidi, Fiona Woodcock

Fiona STS2

Fiona began with a reading from her beautifully illustrated picture book which evokes real feelings of nostalgia for anyone who was a child during the late 1970′s/early 80′s. The artwork is so exquisitely stylised with a memorable, stand out colour palette and designed in such a thoughtful way; think Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins for that clever design and use of colour or A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated Betty Fraser for style, texture and little details.

After story time, Fiona hosted a mini workshop, where children could design their own sofa for the little Heidi character from the story, and make a sunflower disguise like the image from the book.

Fiona STS4

Fiona STS1

We’d like to thank Fiona for such a well thought out craft workshop, and for a thoroughly enjoyable morning for both adults and children! Thanks also to the families who came along — we look forward to seeing you again!

In July Fiona held the official book launch for Hiding Heidi at the Bright Emporium withSimon and Schuster and you can read more about it here.

There was also a great blog tour from some of the top  book bloggers in the business, including Picture Books Blogger and Library Mice which you can read about here.

Fiona STS3


You can buy framed prints of artwork by Fiona as seen in the picture above — more details here, and to keep up to date with events simply follow The Bright Emporium onTwitter and Instagram.

If you’d like to work with Fiona Woodcock for children’s publishing, please contact Managing Agent, Alli Brydon.

For Art Licensing enquiries, please get in touch with Senior Agent, Hannah Curtis.

Next Storytime Sunday…

With the Summer Olympics in full flow, we are very excited to be welcoming Marta Kissi, illustrator of an already best-selling children’s picture book: Ready Steady Mo!


You can book your family ticket here. And click here for more information on story times at The Bright Emporium.

Marta Kissi - Emporium Slider

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No Wallflowers Here! Behind the Scenes at the Official Book Launch of Fiona Woodcock’s Debut; Hiding Heidi

Hiding Heidi party

We celebrated with our esteemed colleagues fromSimon and Schuster on Tuesday evening at the official book launch of Hiding Heidi — the debut author/illustrated picture book by Bright artist, Fiona Woodcock.

Held at The Bright Emporium on THE hottest day so far this summer and apparently in the last 20 or so years of British summers, we are proud to say that this was the busiest event we’ve held here since our gallery opened back in November last year.


The Marketing team at Simon and Schuster won a special award from the Book Marketing Society this year, during The Bookseller’s Marketing and Publicity conferencefor best children’s book marketing, and it is no wonder — with such a talented, organised and creative team. We had great fun collaborating on ideas for the launch and the end result was stand out stuff.

We’d like to thank Simon and Schuster for such a special collaboration and it is a genuine pleasure to be working with them. It’s great to see a publisher making such good use of the space and the Emporium was built exactly for this reason. We look forward to many more events in the future!

Fiona 2

Speech time! Fiona Woodcock talking to US Creative agent Anne Moore Armstrong(bottom left) Lara Hancock, Editorial Director for children’s picture books at Simon and Schuster and Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Bright Founder and MD (top & bottom right)


Simon and Schuster are known for launching debut talent and we share their values and thinking when it comes to this: as an agency we know that it’s well worth nurturing our talented seeds, who grow into the most incredible author/illustrators and household names on a global scale. It takes vision and forward thinking and that’s what they have in bucketfuls.

Fiona 3

Fiona Woodcock is a brilliant example of talent who has grown within Bright, following in the footsteps of artists like Benji Davies and his debut, The Storm Whale (also Simon and Schuster)


Award winning Bright author/illustrator, Benji Davies describes Fiona’s debut as “Beautifully Crafted” —  as quoted on the cover of Hiding Heidi.

 Beginning by working across Art Licensing, Fiona developed her artwork towards trade as both author and illustrator with her debut picture book Hiding Heidi now out and well and truly launched. Having the Emporium’s gallery space available for the launch was a brilliant opportunity for Fiona to show her stunning artwork with extracts from the books as prints and cards for sale, alongside the lovely hardback copies of Hiding Heidiwhich flew off the shelves and sold out in no time. You can see more details about how to buy Fiona’s printed, framed artwork here. 


Furthermore The Bright Emporium has become a place for our artists to truly call home: Fiona will be back in two weeks time for her Storytime Sunday event with local families attending her reading and craft session, based on the book and with the opportunity to meet the author and get a signed copy of their own! You can buy tickets to see Fiona at our next storytime here.


Vicki Willden-Lebrect with her team, agents Nicky Lander, Alex Gehringer and James Burns from the US team (right)

We were also very excited to have our US team here for the launch, who flew over the weekend before to be here for the celebrations. Fiona is currently working with US Managing Agent, Alli Brydon on her next picture book, which will be due out in Summer 2018 and published by Harpercollins US.

On such a successful launch party, Vicki Wilden-Lebrect, Founder and MD of Bright said this:

“It is wonderful to see the The Bright Emporium being used for what is was built for — to discover, celebrate and launch amazing new books! Amazing work by publisher Simon and Schuster and the Bright team to ensure the wonderful Fiona Woodcock’s debut title was launched spectacularly!! Thanks to all that came and the team effort that went into the launch — it was a knock out !!!”


Fiona 4

Strike a pose! Clockwise from top left: Elisa Offord, Marketing and Publicity Director at Simon and Schuster: Vicki Willden-Lebrect: Hannah Cooper, Publicity Manager at S&S and Harriet Steger, Global Marketing Manager at Bright: Author/Illustrator Steven Lenton.

The Bright Emporium was indeed made for events like this and we look forward to many more. You only need to take a look at our website to see all the activity: from Yoga, to mini yoga, to creative writing workshops, story time on Sundaysbook themed children’s partieslaunches and parties galore— the possibilities are endless!

We have a wonderful space here  — a fun and creative combined retail outlet, gallery and event space: a design studio and licensing agency with beautiful lighting and walls dressed in the finest illustration by Bright artists. It has a genuinely warm atmosphere and a team who work around the clock to make it the success it has become.

If you would like to hold a launch or event at The Bright Emporium, you can get in touchhere.

We look forward to hearing from you!


The teams behind the book: Simon and Schuster: Bright Group International, and Fiona Woodcock (centre)

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Q&A with our Creative Writing Workshop Teacher, Mikala!

photo 5Whether your child is a reluctant writer or an aspiring wordsmith, these creative writing workshops will be a perfect holiday activity! Packed full with games, competitions, literacy skills and motivational topics, the workshops are designed to encourage every child to love creative writing. At the end of each session, your child will have developed an important writing skill and produced a piece of creative writing in their own authorial “voice”. 

Run by Mikala Tyrell, a qualified and experienced English teacher, the sessions will develop the key literacy skills needed in the classroom, whilst fostering a love of the writing process. 

Recommended age: 8+

Each workshop can be attended as a stand-alone session, however the 4 workshops together will be cohesive, so it would definitely be recommended to attend all four.

Book here to secure your place!

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Mikala’s first session is on Saturday 23rd July, and before she starts we wanted to get the inside scoop!

What made you want to become a teacher?

I’ve wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. My mum will tell you stories of me lining up my teddies at the age of 7 or 8 so that I could take the register and read them stories, just like my teacher did. I had planned to be a primary teacher and I still have a love of teaching younger children, but, as I got older, I realised that I wanted to foster a love of reading and literature in young adults. Being an English teacher means I can encourage children to love reading and writing, and realise that English is a wonderful subject. I still get a thrill from making an avid reader or writer out of a reluctant student.

What’s your favourite book, and why?

That’s such a hard question! I’m not sure I could tell you what my absolute favourite book is because I love so many of them. When it comes to adult books, I love the writing of Margaret Atwood, Ruth Ozeki and Kirsty Logan. Classic literature is always a winner too.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott was one of my favourite books as a child, and I used to love reading the Roald Dahl books when I was younger. I liked to think that I had an affinity with Matilda, although without the super powers naturally. I still really enjoy reading young adult fiction and Patrick Ness’ series Chaos Walking is a great trilogy. Now that I have a very young son, we’re reading classic and new picture books together too. My favourite purchase for him so far has to be Megalopolis: and the Visitor from Outer Space by Clea Dieudonne.

I told you I wouldn’t be able to choose just one!

What inspires you when you’re writing?

Inspiration can come from anything: a line in a book, a photo or painting, a news clip or a snippet of conversation I hear as I walk along the street. The imagination and creativity, which the writing process encourages, is my favourite part of all.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

My mum always used to tell me that she would be proud of me whatever happened as long as I worked my hardest and tried my absolute best. That has been my mantra over the years.

Why did you choose the Bright Emporium as a venue for your workshops?

The Bright Emporium is such a beautiful and inspiring place that it is the perfect place to foster a love of reading and writing in young children. All the gorgeous artwork on the walls can only serve to awaken a child’s imagination.

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Thanks to Mikala for being so open and approachable, and for answering all of our questions! Can’t wait to have your workshops starting in our beautiful gallery!

Book here for a place at one of Mikala’s wonderful workshops.

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Storytime Success with Jorge Martin!

Jorge 3

Thanks to Jorge Martin for another great story time event on Sunday – we had a whale dragon of a time!

Jorge gave us an exclusive reading of his debut author/illustrated picture book, I’m Hungry — a comical tale of a naughty little dragon who mistakes her jungle friends for dinner…!

“A newly-hatched baby dragon is on a hilarious hungry rampage, eating everybody until she is all alone. Will she learn her lesson and discover how to make friends? This bold and brilliant picture book is packed full of loopy laugh-out-loud moments. Just watch out for great big pink elephant!”


Follow the blog tour for #Imhungry throughout July with @jorgemartin

Just how hungry can one little dragon be?!

You can also read more about Jorge, the blog tour and the making of I’m Hungry here.

Jorge montage1

After story time, Jorge taught us how to make monster pop-up cards!

Jorge 4

If you’d like to work with Jorge, you can get in touch via his agent, Anne Moore Armstrong here.

Read more about Anne and her work in our new blog series — From Art School to Publication: Why Having an Agent is Key, here.

Our next Story time will be on Sunday 24th July with the brilliant creator of Alan’s Big Scary Teeth, Jarvis!

Jarvis 1

Books by Jarvis: Alan’s Big Scary Teeth [Walker], Poles Apart, written by Jeanne Willis[Nosy Crow] and Lazy Dave [Harpercollins]

This story time will be all about a brand new book: Odd Bods, written by actor and author, Steven Butler and beautifully illustrated by Jarvis himself. [Published by Penguin]

You can read more about Jarvis here.

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Five star review by Tim Auld in The Daily Telegraph!

Follow Steven and Jarvis on Twitter:  @sbutlerbooks @heyimjarvis

Jarvis - Odd Bods

Our story times have really taken off and we thank all of you for building such a great community around The Bright Emporium. Due to the popularity of these events, we will now be charging an entry fee, but this will include a signed copy of the book on the day:

Each “Family Ticket” is valid for up to 3 people attending (one adult and two children, or two adults and one child), and includes a signed copy of Odd Bods!

If you have additional family members who you would like to attend with you on your Family Ticket, please contact us at – we’ll do our very best to accommodate you!

Book your ticket here.


The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

A Father’s Day Special for Story time with Seb Braun!

Thanks to the wonderful Sebastien Braun for another very successful and extra special Storytime Sunday, celebrating Father’s Day.

Seb Montage 1

Seb read from his book, I Love You Daddy Grizzlewritten by Mark Sperring and published by Penguin, and after a lovely story session, there was lots of crafting with paper animals and colouring in. Thanks to all who joined us—what a great way to spend a Sunday morning!

Seb Montage 2

 Our next story time event…

Jorge Martin - I'm Hungry


 The wonderful Jorge Martin will be reading us his very comical and brilliantly illustrated, I’m Hungrypublished by Penguin, July 2016. We are very lucky to be having our own preview and book signing so soon after the release date!

“A newly-hatched baby dragon is on a hilarious hungry rampage, eating everybody until she is all alone. Will she learn her lesson and discover how to make friends? This bold and brilliant picture book is packed full of loopy laugh-out-loud moments. Just watch out for great big pink elephant!”

Jorge Martin studied at London’s Kingston University and Central Saint Martin’s College of Art. Before becoming an illustrator, he worked in service design, design innovation and advertising. You can see more of Jorge’s design portfolio here.

When not making Children’s books, Jorge organises illustration workshops along with his friends, fellow children’s book illustrators Chris Haughton and Benji Davies.

Jorge Martin

You can book your free ticket to see Jorge and have your very own copy of his book signed here.

We look forward to seeing you!

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Feronia Parker-Thomas brings Sunshine and Rainbows to Storytime Sunday!

We had another Sunday of great story-telling and creativity last week with Bright illustrator, Feronia Parker-Thomas. Feronia read from How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow, by Monica Sweeney and published by Sky Pony Press — with vibrant and lively illustrations by Feronia herself!

Feronia 1

Our story times are a real community event and it’s such a great way to spend a sunday morning with your children, PLUS… Grown ups get 10% off their coffee from the wonderful Story Coffee – mere steps from the gallery!

Feronia 2

We do making and crafting – there is ALWAYS glitter everywhere, so that during the week, we always seem to be sparkly – which is nice for everyone! We have books for you to buy, and you can get your copy signed by the author and/or illustrator.

Feronia 3

We’d like to thank everyone for coming along – it’s a great way for artists to share their incredible talent with you, and also a wonderful memory to treasure, particularly because many Bright Artists will be household names for generations to come. These are the great illustrators of the future!

If you’d like to work with Feronia Parker -Thomas, you can reach her via her agent, Arabella Stein –


Our next story time will be held on Sunday 19th June, Father’s Day. We will be celebrating the special day with the perfect story, so do join us – it’s going to be a really great morning. Our artist for the event is the wonderful Sebastien Braun and he will be reading from I Love You Daddy Grizzle by Mark Sperring, featuring Seb’s much loved illustrations and published by Penguin.

“Today is a very special day – if only Little Pip could remember why! With Daddy Grizzle’s gentle help, Little Pip works out exactly why today is a day to be celebrated – it’s Father’s Day! – and they spend a glorious day doing all their favourite things. And the best thing? That’s easy – spending time together!

A heart-warming story celebrating the relationship between fathers and their children – with a wonderful message.”

Sebastien Braun’s list of works is extensive and as well as the Daddy Grizzle series, includes titles such as the Can You Say it Too? series and Big Bug Log, both published by Nosy Crow. He illustrated a book recently for The National Trust and his new book, Mayday Mouse  is published by Childs Play on 8th June 2016. Sebastien also has his own series of picture books about a little tug boat called Toot, now airing as a cartoon on Channel five’s Milkshake!

Seb Books

You can read more about Seb here in our recent blog, where we found out all about his inspiration, his style and his artistic technique.

After story time we will be helping Seb colour in a life size Daddy Grizzle and Pip, which will be displayed in our gallery for all to see and you will have the chance to buy your very own signed copy of the book!

We look forward to seeing you.

Book your free ticket here.

The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Ben Mantle’s Dinostars launched at The Bright Emporium

Last week Bright artist Ben Mantle, The Bright Emporium, Pan Macmillan and High View primary school came together as a force to be reckoned with, to celebrate the launch of Ben’s new picture book series ‘Dinostars‘.

The first in this series is ‘Dinostars and the Planet Plundering Pirates’ published 5th May 2016.

Ben Mantle - Dinostars

On launching the publication of a new book:
Bright agent Arabella Stein said ‘What a brilliant day! You simply cannot beat the response of a live audience to a children’s book. Ben communicated the magic of the story and inspired the imaginations of fifty 5 year olds with his dinostars characters and his humorous facilitation. Working with children for a book launch is not only a great way to develop an artists workshop skills, it is the best way to celebrate the content of their work – with their target audience enjoying every minute!’

Ben M.Montage.1

Our community:
Using our local connections to schools, parents and children, the Bright Emporium is able to offer not only the space for a launch, but also the audience that really matters! For those children attending it is a chance to meet the author/illustrator, ask questions about how the book was made and get to know the creator of the book on a personal level.

High View’s Primary School’s Head of reception Roxanne Stanley said, ‘We had a great time and the kids loved it… We hope to come again. It’s a great place!’

Ben Mont4

With Dinostar masks being made, and queue’s for Ben to sign copies of books, there wasn’t a clear space left on the floor or the drawing table!

What’s next:
With an upcoming evening launch party for Fiona Woodcock’sHiding Heidi‘ (Simon & Schuster) publication in July, we are looking forward to working with more publishers, celebrating and introducing new exciting books and characters with our local families and schools.

Launching the first of five books in this series Bright can’t wait to share the rest in the series with our local community as they publish.

If you’d like to find out more about our Storytime Sunday events for children, or if you’d like to launch your book at The Bright Emporium, please contact Harriet Steger for more details. You can also read more about our space hire here.