“Nothing compares to engaging a child with a story you’ve created. Seeing those eyes light up is a truly magical thing.”
Indie Thinking chats to the award-winning picture book author and illustrator, Rob Biddulph.
Can you tell us what you enjoy most about creating picture books?
Tricky. Making a picture book is quite an unusual creative process in that the words bit and the illustrations bit each require you to use a different part of your brain. It’s the writing that I find more difficult, and so when I finally manage to get a rhyme to work it’s incredibly satisfying. Having said that, the thing I enjoy most of all is reading the final book to kids. Nothing compares to engaging a child with a story you’ve created. Seeing those eyes light up is a truly magical thing. I feel very, very lucky – on a daily basis – to have this job.
How has your life changed since you became a full-time children’s author/illustrator?
Well, I’m busier than ever. This wasn’t necessarily the plan – giving up the day job was meant to make things a bit easier on that front! It’s all very exciting though. I have lots of different projects on the go most of which you will see in the next year or two. I wish I could tell you about them now, but I’m not allowed to…
Tell us a little about your brilliant new book, Odd Dog Out.
Well, the first thing to tell you is that it’s set in a world entirely populated by dachshunds. That’s a pretty good start isn’t it? In terms of story, I wanted to write something that would let kids know that being a bit different to everybody else around you is ok. In fact, it’s more than ok, it’s brilliant! Worrying about being part of the crowd is such a waste of energy. The last line of the book is “Blaze a trail, be who you are.” and I think that’s a really good mantra to live your life by. I also wanted to write a story that had a strong female lead character. I just don’t think that there are enough, particularly in books for younger children.
What’s your favourite book?
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I must have read it a dozen times, including once with my eldest daughter. I’ll be sure to read it with the other two when they’re old enough. It just carries such emotion. By the time Scout says “Hey, Boo” I’m a blubbering wreck.
And finally… your favourite place in the whole world?
I love the sea so St Ives in the winter time would have to be right up there. It’s so wild and windy. But, if pushed, I would say it’s in my sitting room on the sofa next to my wife. That’s where I’m happiest.
Before he became a full-time author/illustrator Rob was art director of the Observer Magazine, NME, Uncut, SKY and Just Seventeen. He is a winner of the coveted PPA Designer of the Year award and lives in London with his wife and three daughters.
Connect with Rob
Odd Dog Out
HarperCollins Children’s books
One dog doesn’t quite fit in. It’s lonely being the odd dog out, when all she wants to do is find her place in the world. She’s willing to go to the other side of the world to look for it, but it might take a different kind of journey for her to discover that maybe where she’s meant to be is right back where she started…