Bookbug Author Spotlight: Emily Bolam

Bookbug's Author Spotlight gives you the chance to learn more about the work of authors, publishers and illustrators connected to the Bookbug programme. This week, Emily Bolam, author of Peekaboo Jungle, answers some questions about her work. Peekaboo Jungle will be included in the 2015/16 Bookbug Baby bag.


Tell us a bit more about your work.

I've illustrated a variety of children's books over the years but my regular stock in trade is pre-school board books and anything for the 0-5 age group. I create my illustrations with paint and paper so my work is quite traditional. I particularly like drawing characterful animals and that seems to be popular with my clients!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I illustrate other people's stories rather than writing my own so inspiration is usually triggered by whatever new project arrives on my desk. I'm also a big fan of browsing in bookshops. I find that if I immerse myself in the children's book section of a book store it really sparks my imagination.

Which books did you love as a child?

I loved picture books by illustrators like John Burningham and Brian Wildsmith, and their painterly approach informs my own work to this day.

Describe your typical working day

I live in Brighton and the first thing I do is go for a bracing early morning walk on the seafront to blow any cobwebs away. Then I go to my studio, which is in a converted warehouse in the centre of Brighton and do my day's work, punctuated liberally with tea and snacks!

What’s your top tip for budding authors or illustrators?

My top tip would be to research the market and immerse yourself in the world of children's books to really get a feel for what's out there and what the trends are. Then hopefully when you go away and do your own work it will be a winning mixture of you and the market!

 Immerse yourself in the world of children's books to really get a feel for what's out there and what the trends are

What are you currently working on?

I've been illustrating a children's Bible for Lion Hudson. It is truly of Biblical proportions and has taken a year to do! After that I'll be working on an Early Reader for Orion.

How do you get over a creative block?

One of the advantages of being an illustrator for hire is that whatever my latest project is usually sparks my imagination, so creative blocks are rare. But if I do have one the fail safe remedy is to go for a walk.

Which piece of your work are you most proud of?

This is tough but if I had to pick one project I would say the Buggy Buddies series would be it. They were on every pushchair I saw for about 10 years!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be a doctor but then decided drawing was much less stressful.

What’s your favourite thing about your local library?

Jubilee Library in Brighton is a wonderful open, airy, eco-friendly design with a lovely cafe!