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A bit about me

Hello and welcome!

Many thanks for taking a look at my little website.


My name is Helen Shoesmith & I live in the North West of England with my family & our dog, Bert.

For as long as I can remember I have always loved art and books so being able to combine the two and make a 'job' out of it is an absolute dream come true!


I love the variety that goes with illustrating children's books - one day I can be drawing a cat, then the next, a Queen! 

I feel extremely lucky & fortunate to have worked on the titles that I have so far.  

When it comes to illustrating non-fiction titles, 'everyday is a school day' and I love soaking up new information. Every detail must be researched & accurate so I always put plenty of time aside to thoroughly explore & get a feel for the subject whilst jotting ideas down in my trusty sketchbook. 

I usually think of my sketchbook as a reference book. I'm not one of those people with a lovely neat sketchbook...they are very scrappy and experimental! They do however hold a wealth of useful observations which I refer to constantly. I almost always neaten everything up on loose sheets of paper - it feels less restrictive somehow.

Once I am happy with a sketch, I scan it in to Photoshop to colour it up digitally (though I do sometimes like to scan in watercolour and pencil elements too).

My favourite part of the process is adding in detail. As a child I always loved little hidden extras in books (finding 'goldbug' in the Richard Scarry books was a favourite) and this is something I like to apply to my work today. 

I graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 2006 with a degree in Graphic Arts & went on to do a Masters in Illustration for Children at the North East Wales School of Art & Design in Wrexham in 2008. 

After university, I worked as a graphic designer for many years before plucking up the courage to completely refresh my illustration portfolio to follow my dream of illustrating children's books.  

​I signed up with my wonderful agent in 2018 and have never looked back!

You can see the books I have illustrated here.

Clients include:

• Welbeck Publishing • Hachette • Wren & Rook  • Oxford University Press • Faber & Faber • Simon & Schuster  • Women's Weekly • Photoshop Advanced magazine • SCOPE's 'In the Picture' project 

Represented by Claire Cartey at HolroydeCartey

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