Bookbug Author Spotlight: Stella Baggott
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 month, illustrator Stella Baggott answers some questions about her work. Stella is the illustrator of Baby's Very First Black and White Book: Babies, which is currently included in our Bookbug Baby Bag.
Tell us a bit more about your work
My illustrations for Usborne’s ‘Baby's Very First’ books are bold and fun. I want them to be clear and eye-catching for babies but also add little fun details for parents to notice.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspiration from everywhere - biscuit packaging, foreign picture books, films, and lots more. I'm a big fan of Scandinavian design for its simple, bold use of pattern and colour.
What inspired Baby’s Very First Black and White Book: Babies?
Well, since it's about babies, I guess babies did! I don’t have my own children but have plenty of kids in my life. When illustrating children I think you need to capture a bit of character - make them a bit cheeky - which hopefully I have done.
What’s your top tip for sharing Baby’s Very First Black and White Book: Babies with little ones?
As there aren’t many words in this book I think it provides an excellent opportunity to make up your own words and be inventive about what you see on the page. It encourages you to talk about the illustrations rather than just reading the text. You can talk about the babies: what they are doing, how they are feeling and the colours on each page.
As there aren’t many words in this book I think it provides an excellent opportunity to make up your own words and be inventive about what you see on the page
Which books did you love as a child?
We actually didn’t have that many books growing up, we were more outdoor kids and spent all day in the garden, but my dad used to read us fairy tales at night from a big bound book with illustrated plates which my sisters and I found very magical. I also had some original copies of Enid Blyton books from my uncle, and loved reading about the fairies at the end of the garden – although I never found one!
Describe your typical working day
I’m not really a morning person, so I often get up late at - around 9am - then go for a walk or bike ride along the seafront in Brighton. I work on my illustrations for a few hours and then usually stop to make a nice lunch in the garden. Then I go to my pottery studio for a few hours in the afternoon. I often start illustrating again after dinner as I find I do my best work in the evening, often staying up until after midnight to get work finished - I guess I'm a bit of a night owl!
What’s your top tip for budding authors or illustrators?
Go for it! I have lots of old sketch books from when I was a kid - I used to copy cartoon characters like Garfield and Mickey mouse. I think when you are starting out, copying is a good way of learning how to draw and then when you are confident you can come up with your own style and characters.
Is there a picture book you wish you’d written or illustrated?
I’m a big fan of Miffy by Dick Bruna (pictured). I love the simplicity and the fact it never seems to date - so I would have loved to come up with that one!
How do you get over a creative block?
I never get creative block, in fact I seem to get the opposite - I have so many ideas bursting to get out that sometimes it is hard to reign it all in and not get carried away!
Which piece of your work are you most proud of?
I'm really proud of the series of books called Lots of Things to Find and Colour. It was one of those concepts that just came to me - kids like to spot, and to colour things in, so why not combine the two? They are great books, jam-packed with fun activities, and they have been really popular - particularly in Japan! It was great fun to illustrate and gave my free rein to come up with lots of fun ideas such as surfing penguins.
If there's one thing that makes babies happy it's pictures of other babies! Here are 10 more Books about Babies for you and your little one to enjoy.