Emma Randall’s illustrations are practically bursting with color and joy. In Over the River and Through the Wood and The Twelve Days of Christmas, she turns classic holiday songs into a fresh, vibrant, and delightful read. The result is gorgeous books that little ones and their parents will love adding to their holiday reading traditions. In this installment of Meet the Illustrator, Emma shares a behind-the-scenes look at her illustration process, a simple way that parents can help their kids draw, and an absolutely adorable illustration of her new baby.
What first made you excited about art?
When I was little my mum and dad used to encourage my drawing a lot. I remember getting them to draw me animals and things that I could copy — especially unicorns! I think seeing my mum draw would get me excited about art; she was very good at it. I also loved my picture books, especially the Angelina Ballerina series by Katharine Holabird. They were amazing and I used to copy out the illustrations — one time I even wrote and illustrated my own Angelina book! I think this is what first got me into illustrating stories.
What’s your favorite thing to draw at the moment?
Probably my little baby boy Herbie who is three months old. He is my main inspiration at the moment, such chubby cheeks!
Which illustration from your latest book did you especially enjoy creating?
I really enjoyed creating the spread with the lords a’leaping, drawing all of their jumping poses did make me laugh a lot. I also had fun creating their outfits; they are a little bit pompous! My favourite is the lord in a red top with the black moustache.
Which characters from your books would you like to spend time with?
I imagine that the cheeky Liam the Leprechaun from How to Trap a Leprechaun would be a lot fun to hang out with. I’m sure he would keep me on my toes! He’s a bit of a rascal — I would have to watch out for anything shiny I own though…
Can you draw us a self-portrait?
What illustrated book have you read recently and been wowed by?
I loved The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton. I found the illustrations mesmerising, particularly the parts which reveal cutaways under the sea. I loved the detail and page layouts created by Joe, and the characters are really engaging.
Why do you think art is important for kids? What can grown-ups do to encourage kids to engage with art?
Art is so important for kids because it is a way in which they can express themselves. There are so many forms of art, all children can find a way that they can enjoy being creative. Grown-ups can set aside time and space for children to play and experiment with different art materials, and just by being really supportive can encourage children to express themselves through art. My mum used to draw pictures for me to colour in, a great example for how we can help kids to draw if they would like.
What’s the best name for a color that you’ve ever heard?
Hmmm tough one… I’ve heard of a Pantone colour called Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown which made me chuckle.
Books Illustrated by Emma Randall