Elisabetta is a Senior Fiction Designer with over 15 years of experience working within publishing. She has held positions at Scholastic Children’s Books, Usborne Publishing, HarperCollins and currently, she is working at Nosy Crow. During this time, she had the pleasure of working on books for authors such as Michael Morpurgo, David Walliams, Carlie Sorosiak, Holly Bourne, Holly Smale as well as big brands such as Paddington and Narnia. Elisabetta is thrilled to now be working on Nosy Crow’s wonderful fiction list and is always looking out for new illustration talent.
Anna Billson is Art Director for Penguin Random House Children’s, home to the iconic Puffin and Ladybird publishing brands. Anna leads a fabulously talented team of designers who work with a brilliant array of illustrators and authors to create books for everyone. Anna didn’t study art at school but went on to do an art foundation course and a degree in graphic design at Middlesex Polytechnic, where she spent most of her time printmaking and producing handmade books. After a bit of travelling, she ended up in the newsroom at ITN where she worked as a general assistant for a couple of years before moving into publishing and was able to turn her love of design and her love of books into her dream career. Many years and thousands of books later, discovering and nurturing new illustration talent is still the most rewarding part of the job and being involved with Pathways – working with the talented mentees, watching them develop their skills and go on to forge their careers as the next generation of children’s illustrators – is a joy.
With over twenty years of experience in Children’s publishing, Jane has worked for a wealth of publishers including Penguin Random House, Little Tiger Press, Kingfisher, and Dorling Kindersley. Throughout her career, she’s worked with a variety of award-winning illustrators such as Benji Davies, Sara Ogilvie, Liz Pichon, and Kate Hindley. Jane started her journey studying Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, as a painter and filmmaker with a keen eye for a good story, the picture book world soon beckoned. Through her determination and hard work – she now finds herself as the British Book Awards Designer of the Year winner, Art Director of Picture Books and Novelty at Simon & Schuster Children’s Books.
Paula currently holds the position of Group Art Director for Pre-School and Picture Books at Hachette Children’s Group, predominantly working on the Orchard, Hodder and Pat-a-Cake imprints. Since starting out in the 90s, she has had the privilege of working with many established and well-loved illustrators, such as Lauren Child, Liz Pichon, Ross Collins, Nick Sharratt, Babette Cole and Britta Teckentrup, to name but a few – but she believes that nothing compares to the thrill of working with a new illustrator and helping them to explore their style and place in this very creative industry.
Elorine has been working in publishing for over 30 years. She is currently Deputy Art Director for HarperCollins Children’s Department. She has the great privilege of working with some of the most talented authors and illustrators in the business: Michael Morpurgo, Judith Kerr, David Walliams, Michael Foreman and Steven Lenton to name a few. She feels passionate about children’s literacy. She has recently become a foster parent. She believes a book is a’pathway’ to the world and beyond so they should reflect a diverse range of people and experiences.
Kate is the Children’s Design Lead at Thames & Hudson, and has over 15 years of experience in designing highly illustrated non-fiction titles. She is passionate about creating opportunities for inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability throughout the publishing industry. She is happiest when creating eye-catching and innovative concepts with a playful design sensibility. She has been fortunate to learn from many experienced designers and art directors in her career, and looks forward to supporting the next generation of illustrators and helping them to flourish.
Izzie is Children’s Editor at Thames & Hudson. She studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, gaining a First, and has seven years’ experience in highly illustrated book publishing. She enjoys harnessing the power of books to expand children’s verbal, visual and emotional literacy, and loves working closely with authors and illustrators. Izzie is committed to inclusive editing and is passionate about creating a more inclusive publishing sector. It is a pleasure to be involved with the Pathways into Children’s Publishing programme; she can’t wait to meet the mentees.
Anna Howorth has been with Usborne – the UK’s leading children’s specialist publisher – for over 15 years. She looks after the Usborne brand and brings together multiple teams whose aim is to spark curiosity through marketing, publicity and digital. She’s recently been involved with the Fawcett Society ‘Smash Stereotypes’ campaign focusing on gender stereotypes in early childhood, and has worked with colleagues to set up a programme of inspiring and informative speaker sessions for staff called ‘The Learning Table’. Anna has been involved with Pathways Into Publishing from the start and is excited to play a part in introducing more talented illustrators to the world of children’s books.
Ben was born in London and studied Fine Art at the Slade School and the Royal College of Art. He has worked as a practising artist, musician, and lecturer but throughout all of his working life he has spent the majority of his time designing and art directing children’s books as an employee of Walker Books Ltd, where he is currently Executive Art Director.
After a brief stint in advertising, Alison began her publishing career as a designer of adult fiction. However, she soon realised her true ambition and moved into children’s book publishing where she has worked for over 15 years. One of the best parts of her job is finding and developing new talent. She is passionate about children’s fiction because every project is different and fresh and exciting. She has worked on amazing books throughout her career, including designing The Hunger Games trilogy, Toto the Ninja Cat, a refresh of The Famous Five and Malory Towers covers, and most recently a breathtaking YA novel based on the brides of Dracula called The Deathless Girls.
Avni studied design at Goldsmiths College and the Royal College of Art. She has worked as a practicing designer and lecturer over the last two decades, mostly in London but also with a short spell in New York. She has spent most of her working life in publishing and is Art Director of Thames & Hudson’s Children’s and Museums lists, partnering on titles with the V&A, The British Museum and more recently M+ in Hong Kong. The versatility of the two strands means that no two days are the same! Avni is a keen advocate of design mentoring and working towards a more inclusive design sector. She is involved in UAL’s mentoring programme and is part of Thames & Hudson’s D&I steering group. She is excited to be working with Pathways and can’t wait to meet the mentees and dive in.
Anna is the Commissioning & Managing Editor for Children’s Publishing at Thames & Hudson. In this capacity she is constantly on the lookout for artists and writers who have an original perspective on the world. Prior to joining T&H, Anna was Commissioning Editor for children’s books at Tate and over the course of a decade of working in art publishing has had the pleasure of working with some of the most highly celebrated creatives at work today, including Beatrice Alemagna, Rose Blake, Sharna Jackson and Yuval Zommer, to name a few. Anna is a volunteer with Into University, a charity that works with schools in economically disadvantaged areas, delivering workshops that are aimed at inspiring students to realise their potential as the authors, illustrators and publishing professionals of tomorrow.
In her current role as Senior Designer for Nosy Crow, Manda specialises in designing picture books. However, she has also worked on non-fiction, fiction and licensing. She is passionate about illustration and has worked with many talented and established authors and illustrators. She has a real soft spot for helping find and guide new illustrators as they explore their style and find their place in this industry.
Nicola Usborne is Deputy Managing Director of the UK’s leading specialist children’s publisher, Usborne Publishing (founded by Nicola’s father, Peter, in 1973). Previously, she worked as a Vice President at Scholastic, in New York, developing award-winning technology products to build literacy; the transmedia online game, book and collectible card property “The 39 Clues”, and magazines for the classroom. She was also a BAFTA-winning film producer. Nicola runs, with her father and brother, the Usborne Foundation, a family charity focussing on developing early literacy. The foundation has developed and funded ‘Teach Your Monster to Read’, an award-winning suite of literacy games, which have been played over 120 million times by worldwide users. Nicola has a BA from Oxford University in English Literature, a MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, an MBA from the Open University and studied at London Business School.
Marc Baines is an illustrator, cartoonist and printmaker who has made comics for Ugly Mug magazine, record sleeves for the Sonagraph Sound Effects series and posters for Matchbox Cinema. He has also been involved, with artist Rob Churm, in programming film and music events for Glasgow International Festival. In the 2000s he ran the publishing imprint Kingly Books, publishing new graphic novels and reissuing novels by film-makers such as Samuel Fuller and Val Lewton. He started the independent record label Vesuvius in Glasgow in the mid-nineties with Pat Laureate and Brian McDougall, issuing records by acts such as Yummy Fur, Lung Leg, Ganger, Jad Fair and The Make Up. Baines has been a lecturer on the Illustration pathway of the Communication Design BA(Hons) course at Glasgow School of Art since 2006.
Principal Lecturer in Visual Communication in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Art and Design. Kathryn is an educator, author and practitioner with a background in design and commissioning for publishing. She currently leads the BA and MA course teams delivering the Graphic Design and Illustration programmes within the Visual Communication Department of the School of Art and Design.
John Dargan is an artist who’s primary medium is drawing and works mainly with documentary ideas and processes. His work consists of self-generated projects and commissions. He lectures at the University for the Creative Arts on the Illustration and Animation degree programme.
Ian is the Deputy Course Director of BA (Hons) Illustration at Birmingham City University, and has been teaching illustration since 2008.
Ian has worked as a commercial illustrator for over 20 years, attracting work from a host of worldwide clients in areas such as advertising, publishing, design and editorial such as Radio Times, Guardian, Cycling Plus Magazine, The Japan Times, Red Active, Gibson Square Books, The Economist, Institute of Directors, Financial Times, Independent on Sunday to name but a few.
This is the second time Ian has contributed to Pathways, an initiative that he has been involved in from the outset of the programme.
Christian is currently the Programme Director for the BA (Hons) Illustration course at the Arts University Bournemouth, where we foster an environment that encourages illustrators to develop confident and personal approaches to their subject.
He is an active researcher and theorist within the creative arts, with a particular interest in the spaces and structures that allow creative work to happen. This is one reason why he is interested in the way that the Pathways Into Children’s Publishing creates imaginative learning spaces that work in connection with the more formal settings of the university or college.
Rachel is an illustrator, educator and currently Head of Department for Illustration Animation at Kingston University. Her interests lie in the potential of the discipline, its shifting landscape and innovative approaches to illustration methodologies. She has written and presented for Varoom Magazine, Illustration Research and Association of Illustrators Journal. Her practice as an illustrator professionally has seen her work for The Guardian, The Natural History Museum, Tate Modern and Condé Nast. She has had experience at numerous educational institutions including Camberwell College of the Arts, Norwich University of the Arts and University of East London.
Rachel’s recent research has culminated in the publication of Illustration Research Methods (Fauchon, Gannon 2021), an academic text dedicated to developing illustration specific critical theory.
Nick Lewis has 20 years’ experience in the illustration, games and animation industry, working on projects ranging from concept art, character design and 3D modelling, to art management and 2D animation. In his early career, Nick designed and modelled characters for console games, including ‘Call of Cthulhu’ and ‘Futurama the Game’ before becoming a Lead Artist and eventually, Art Manager. Nick managed concept art projects for clients including Sony, Microsoft, Warner Bros Games and Lego. Most recently, Nick has written over 40 BBC Bitesize animation episodes for Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils.
Natalie Russell is a lecturer of Illustration at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, and an Author / Illustrator of children’s picture books. Her work has been published within the UK, USA, Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, Germany and Turkey.
Natalie’s research focuses on the process of composing children’s narratives – with particular interest in the writing process and the influential factors that shape each story and resolve her animal character’s individual dilemmas. She believes it is important to get to know each character intimately through crafting the narrative over time.
Since the publication of her first book Hamish the Highland Cow (Bloomsbury) in 2003, Natalie has published eight solo titles with leading international publishing houses including Bloomsbury Publishing, Macmillan Children’s Books and recently collaborated with Kobi Yamada on a new series of books, Because I had a Teacher, Because of You, Mom and Because of You, Dad for Compendium Inc. in Seattle, USA.
Natalie was nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal in 2009 with Moon Rabbit (Macmillan) and Lost for Words (Macmillan) became runner up in the Scottish Children’s Book Awards in 2015.
Natalie was a mentor on the successful Picturehooks Mentoring Scheme for emerging Scottish Illustrators and regularly attends literary events at learning institutions, libraries and book festivals to promote books, literacy skills and related image-making processes.
Suzy Roan is a lecturer and researcher in Communication Design and Illustration at The Glasgow School of Art and an SGSAH funded PhD researcher at The Glasgow School of Art. Working predominantly in drawing, collage, audio and book works, her interests lie in expanded drawing practice, oral history in the visual arts, philosophy and the maternal body and children’s book illustration.
She’s delighted to be involved in the Pathways Into Children’s Publishing programme to be part of addressing a more inclusive and diverse range of role models and characters in contemporary children’s books.
Jenni is an award winning, Finnish illustrator and designer based in the UK. She specialises in colourful and bold surface design, editorial and children’s illustration, creating work both digitally and traditionally, utilising paper cutting techniques, hand lettering and animation in my practice.
She’s excited to be involved in the Pathways Into Children’s Publishing programme as she is passionate about illustration and happy to share her expertise in professional practice and working in the industry.
Martin Ursell has illustrated many books for children including the award winning Song of Pentecost by W.J. Corbett. He has illustrated books by Roald Dahl, Marina Warner, Ted Hughes, Pippa Goodhart and Dick King Smith and is the illustrator of the bestselling ‘Gruesome’ series. Martin was a regular illustrator for the children’s TV programme Jackanory, and his own story Hairy Hairy was televised by the BBC.
Martin has taught at many art schools and Universities and is currently the programme leader for the Children’s Book Illustration and Graphic Novels Masters at Middlesex University where he also teaches BA Illustration. He was a visiting lecturer for South East Arts, Kent Arts and Library services for young people and the National Federation of Children’s Books.
Martin’s many picture books include Fred’s Garden by Linda M. Jennings and a book with bestselling children’s author Julia Donaldson called Follow the Swallow. In addition he has written two books for The Crowood Press, Illustrating Children’s Books and Keeping Sketchbooks. Most of his books have sold internationally.
His interests include reading, running and gardening and he grows most of his own food.
Ian has been in his current position as full time senior lecturer at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University since 2015. He is currently engaged across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Illustration and animation, including supervision of MFA and more recently PhD candidates. He also has responsibility for developing postgraduate links and lead the final year of the BA programme, including coordination of the annual New Designers show in London. Previous to this he worked in industry for a range of clients as a freelance illustrator for 25 years working internationally across design, publishing and advertising. This work was recognised by a series of awards from the Association of Illustrators. From the first discussions it was clear that HOI/Pathways initiative was a programme MMU needed to be a partner with and he looks forward to contributing to and learning from this relationship.
Helen is the Course Director of BA (Hons) Illustration at Birmingham City University. She has been teaching illustration since 2009.
Her illustration career had a commercial start, working as an in-house artist for two major greeting card companies. Her current practice is heavily engaged in narrative, drawing upon real-life experiences and observational humour. She has always been a varied and experimental practitioner.
Helen is excited to be working with Pathways for the second time. Having the opportunity to support a programme which is making such great strides in tackling diversity and inclusion within the publishing industry is extremely important to her, and her work within teaching.
Debbie Williams is a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. She teaches Publishing and Writing and Illustrating Picturebooks. She has over twenty years’ experience in the publishing and bookselling industry. After starting on the shopfloor at Waterstones, she went on to become Children’s Buyer at Waterstones Head Office, with responsibility for books such as Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games and many more.
She moved into education fifteen years ago and founded the first publishing course in the North, and UCLan Publishing – the only student-led publishing house in the world. She was Chair of the Association for Publishing Education and won the Times Higher Award for Innovation in the Arts and the Newcomer Award Independent Publisher of the Year in 2019.