Hello there! I'm Helen, I write and illustrate books for children. I live on the windy Northumberland coast with my partner, fellow illustrator Gerry Turley, our daughter, and our scruffy mutt Peggy.
Making beautiful picture books is my passion. Honing a book into it's perfect shape, making words and pictures sing together is the most exciting thing for me. It can take aaages, and many failed attempts... but when it all comes together, it is so satisfying.
I have writen and illustrated about 50 books and illustrated a whole bunch more. I am fortunate to have worked with some of my favourite authors including Roger McGough, Michael Morpurgo and Sophie Hannah.
One of the nicest aspects of my job is visiting schools and book festivals to read my books. You can read more about my book festival experiences and how to book me on my blog here. One of the worst parts of my job is how cold I get sitting at my desk, I wear hats and scarves and often a dressing gown over eveything, even in summer.
I have taught on the Cambridge School of Art 'MA in illustrating for Children' and have given lectures for the Association of Illustrators, and the Society of Children's Book Writers. This year I am a mentor on the PIcture Hooks Scheme.
Some of the places my work has been exhibited include The Bowes Museum, The Story Museum, Gallery Oldham 'In Pictures' exhibition and the Hartlepool Festival of Illustration. You can buy original artwork and prints at The Watermark Gallery.
Zoe Tucker, Art Director wrote this nice thing:
'Helen Stephens is my hero! Her work is beautiful, straddling a modern world with a nostalgic style. She has a good sense of humour and an amazing work ethic and most of all she challenges me all the time. She responds to my comments but always pulls a blinder with something better!'
'How to Hide a Lion' was nominated for The Kate Greenaway Medal and The Redhouse Book Awards. The New York Times wrote a lovely review here. It has been adapted for stage by The Polka Theatre who are the talented people behind the stage adaptation of 'We're going on a Bear Hunt' by Helen Oxenbury. The Guardian wrote some nice stuff about it here. You can see a clip here.
Julia Donaldson, the author of The Gruffalo and former childrens laureate named my book 'Fleabag' as her favourite bedtime read here.
My favourite picture books always have a strong sense of place, so drawing from life is an important aspect of my work. You can see some of my sketchbooks here.
I have a bit of a thing for Instagram, are we friends over there yet? You can witness my unhealthy obsession with dip pens and meet my smelly dog Peggy.