Hello there! I'm Helen, I write and illustrate books for children. My partner and fellow illustrator, Gerry Turley and I left London, our home for seventeen years, to live on the windy Northumberland coast. We have a daughter, who is Iris in my book How to Hide a Lion, and a scruffy mutt called Peggy.
Making beautiful picture books is my passion. Honing a book into it's perfect shape, making words and pictures sing together is difficult and thrilling in equal measures. It can take aaages, and many failed attempts... but when it all comes together, it is so satisfying.
I have writen and illustrated a whole bunch of books, at least 50, I have lost count. And I have worked with some of my favourite authors including Cecile Aubry, Michael Morpurgo and Sophie Hannah.
I like to draw from life, and those drawings often inspire new book ideas. I sit on the ground surrounded by art materials, and the more uncomfortable I am, the better. If I am too cold, being soaked by a downpour, or getting in people's way I draw more freely because I can't over think.
One of the nicest aspects of my job is visiting schools and book festivals to read my books, or running picture book workshops for adults. One of the worst parts of my job is how cold I get sitting at my desk, I wear a hat and scarf, and often a dressing gown over eveything, even in summer.
Gerry Turley and I have an online shop here, where you can buy sketchbookzines of our drawings, as well as signed copies of our picture books, Gerry's Whale prints and lots of other goodies. Exciting news: our shop will be featured in The Guardian on 3rd Feb 2018.
House rule: Every day, whatever the weather, we walk on the beach. It blows away the cobwebs and stops cabin fever setting in during deadlines. (There are two otters swimming at the bottom right of this pic, just above the island, we have looked for them every day since and have never seen them again...)
On social media:
My favourite place to show behind the scenes stuff is instagram, I am helenstephenslion over there.