Category: Children’s Books


See Sarah Papworth’s art process!

We’re thrilled to announce the publication of O is for Ossicone, illustrated by our beloved Sarah Papworth. Read our interview with Sarah, below.

Contact us to assign or license art. We’re happy to help you find the perfect artist or gorgeous images for your project!

Sarah Papworth
Sarah writes: “Recently, the kids ABC board book; ‘O is for Ossicone’ launched in stores. I absolutely loved illustrating and working on this project with Simon & Schuster because although I have drawn many animals before, I hadn’t created a whole book of them! “
O is for Ossicone, illustrated by Sarah Papworth, published by Simon & Schuster.

Available now!

Buy it here.

“Did you know that ossicones are the hornlike parts of a giraffe’s head? Introduce young readers to unusual animal facts and new vocabulary like “baleen” in this alphabet book that has flaps on every page!”

What did you enjoy most about working on this book?

I think the thing that I liked most was figuring out how to create a good composition across the main pull out pages of the book. The book is designed with card flaps to lift up and see what’s underneath. So the close-up of an animal and the alphabet letter sits on top with the full animal and facts underneath when revealed. This meant there were two aspects to consider for the composition and I enjoyed the challenge.

What did you learn from doing this project?

I learnt that not all kids books need to be too cutesy, the team at Simon and Schuster had asked me to go slightly more realistic with my style, while keeping the colours cheery, and I enjoyed working this way.

Above: A finished illustration before the Simon & Schuster team added text.
Were there challenges?

With the cardboard flap being a “close-up/zoomed in” part of the whole animal, I needed to make sure I drew the illustrations large enough so that I could enlarge the part that is meant to be on the front section.

I sketched at my usual smaller size with pencil on paper, then I scanned those in to send to the publisher with some rough colour.

When they were approved, I blew the scale up and printed the roughs out at full size. Then I traced them at full size, plus scanned at high resolution, so I could enlarge them further.

This worked well.

Where did you find inspiration for this project?

I spent some time Googling the animals I needed to draw, and the team at Simon & Schuster gave me a great brief with images to show the body parts that had to be included. I wanted to keep the animal shapes as simple as I could, almost like Charlie Harper or Eric Carle – but in my own style. I also wanted the colours to be super gorgeous.

What medium did you use?

I used a fine-line pen for the linear details, and I added in hand-painted textures, but the main shapes and final brush details were created in Photoshop. I love to use a mix of both for speed but also enjoyment.

Above: My initial sketches and how I arrange multiple sketches on a page to scan in.
Above: From sketch to final.


I love how the finished project turned out. The quality of the book is lovely, and I felt really proud to hold it in my hands.

I also loved how I got into the flow of making this book, it was fun to draw in pencil for the roughs, create a colour rough and go to final on Photoshop.

Above: Sarah’s artwork and Studio.
Thanks so much Sarah!

O is for Ossicone is available now. Buy it here.

See more of Sarah Papworth’s gorgeous illustration work here.


be you with You Do You-nicorn. 🦄

We’re thrilled to announce the publication of Erin Vanessa’s debut authored/illustrated picture book, You Do You-nicorn.

Read Erin’s journey of developing this story (which started as a game concept!) and its road to publication, below.


Erin Vanessa
“One of my favorite things to do as an artist is work on my own children’s book stories!”

You Do You-nicorn, written and illustrated by Erin Vanessa,

published by Running Press.

Out September 19th, 2023: Available for pre-order now!

“You Do You-nicorn is a sweet, funny story about inclusivity and staying true to yourself. A gender-fluid child shows their friends that they can be and do whatever they want and feel like–whether it’s playing the digeridoo-nicorn, painting a baboon-icorn, or changing their name to Ruth-icorn! Remember: Only YOU know how to do you! And you can feel like your own unicorn by assembling a sparkly unicorn headband with pieces included at the end of the book.”

You Do You-nicornactually started out as a game concept.

I wanted to make a memory match game that would encourage kids to try new things: swimming, roller skating, playing the saxophone, and so on.  (At the time, I also imagined it would feature unicorn characters.)

Over the next few months, though, words for a manuscript started appearing in my mind as I went for walks or exercised.

After allowing the words to form organically in my brain without writing anything down, I eventually felt compelled to write it all in one sitting, and that’s how the manuscript for You Do You-nicorn was born.

I like to hand-paint my illustrations with watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayon, and then edit in Photoshop.

Julie and Frances, my incredible editor and art director at Running Press, gave me tons of creative freedom, so the process of making the book was a blast and it just flew by!

Below: From sketch to painting to Final Art

Join Erin on September 30th at 1 PM EST for a virtual picture book panel, hosted by Books of Wonder in New York, where she’ll read a snippet of You Do You-nicorn and take questions from the audience.

Copies of You Do You-nicorn (with signed bookplates!) will be available for purchase at the end.

RSVP here!

Thanks Erin!

You Do You-nicorn is available for pre-order now. It releases September 19th, 2023.

You can see more of Erin’s beautiful illustration work here.


Take a deep dive into Brian Lambert’s recently released book.

We’re thrilled to announce the publication of Plants to the Rescue, illustrated by Brian Lambert, published by Neon Squid.

Read our interview with Brian, below.

Brian Lambert
Brian says:

This book was published by Neon Squid who mainly publish STEM-focused books.

It was written by the wonderful Dr. Vikram Baliga, who uses his social media following to teach people about plants, science, and conservation efforts.

I loved working on this book! Plants are just plain fun to draw and color, so getting to do a whole book of them was a blast!

Plants to the Rescue,illustrated by Brian Lambert, published by Neon Squid.

Buy it here.

“From climate change to plastic pollution, this book explores real issues facing the planet and how plants can contribute to solutions.”

Q. What did you learn from doing this project?

A. I learned a whole lot about plants, which you can too if you read the book! I have a whole arsenal of nifty facts that I can trot out at fancy dinner parties now.

Q. What did you love about the theme?

A. The book is about how plants can be used to solve some of our planet’s biggest issues, from huge scale things like global climate change to much smaller things like how you can use a banana peel to help with sunburns and bug bites! Science! It’s just fun to learn about all these kinds of things!

Q. How do you come up with your sketches? Do you do research?

A. For this project the publisher provided me with a very thorough brief and a rough sketch layout that I basically used to just fill in the blanks. So, you can kind of imagine getting a page with a bunch of boxes drawn in to indicate buildings and some little stick figures here and there and then the text is also roughed in so I know where I need to leave open space.

The brief would also have a description of what they want. For the city page they told me they wanted a rooftop garden, a skybridge, and a building that uses hydroponics, etc.
Sometimes I did do a little extra research. For example, I watched some YouTube videos about modern and future construction techniques and what kind of buildings they expected to be able to build in the future so that I felt I was drawing buildings that were at least somewhat plausible.
Q. How do you decide on color palettes?

A. The AD really wanted bright vibrant colors. I also knew I was going to need a lot of different types of greens as this was a book about plants.

The base colors were from a color palette that Lilla Rogers had provided in a class, but I then expanded it.

For each color, I made a lighter version by adding a tinge of yellow, and a darker version by adding a little blue. I’ve found this makes the colors more interesting.

I ended up with an amazing palette that is extremely versatile.

Q. Were there challenges on this project?

A. The biggest challenge came about halfway through the project when I got appendicitis! The publisher was very understanding about giving me more time but it was hard not to feel stressed about getting everything done in time after that.

Q. How long did you work on the book?

It took about 9 months from the first sketch to sending in the final illustrations.


Q. What medium did you use for the illustrations?

I use the Procreate app on a 12.9in iPad Pro from 2021, and I use some slightly altered pencil brushes from

Thanks so much Brian!

Plants to the Rescue is available now: Buy it here!

See more of Brian’s beautiful illustration work here.


See amazing books and products by our artists!

Outstanding books and products for you this month. Fancy learning Procreate? Need a stylish new tote or lunch satchel? We’ve got you covered.


Contact us to assign or license art. We’re happy to help you find the perfect artist or gorgeous images for your project!


Ruth Burrows
The one we’ve all been waiting for– Ruth Burrows’s Procreate Book!
Ruth writes: In this book, I would like to introduce you to the way I make my art and illustration using Procreate. It’s a “how-to” book, but it’s also a “how you might want to” guide.
The Illustrator’s Guide to Procreate (David & Charles)

Written and illustrated by Ruth Burrows.

Buy it here!


Sarah Walsh
Tara Lilly
Who doesn’t want bags like these?
Mushroom Tote by Sarah Walsh (Blue Q)

Buy it here.

Floral Lunch satchel by Tara Lilly

(The Somewhere Co.)

Buy it here.


Åsa Gilland
Introducing the third title in Terra Babies at Home, a board book series that presents plants, animals, and the environment to early readers from the intimacy of their home and helps them connect to the natural world.

Selected by the American Library Association’s Sustainablity Roundtable as one of the top ten sustainability-themed children’s books in 2022!

Published by Duopress.

Buy it here!


Janie Secker
Fabulous portrait of Dolly Parton, as part of Rebel Girls Rock: 25 Tales of Women in Music (Rebel Girls)

Buy it here.


Maruga Koops
Congrats to Maruga for the US release of her picture book Hip Hip Hooray! (Clavis Publishing)

Buy it here.


Maria Gabriela Gama


Cottage Door Press

Buy it here.

Yeehoo Press

Buy it here.


Picture book My Mummy is a Unicorn, illustrated by Kim Fleming is out now!

The very sparkly picture book My Mummy is a Unicorn, illustrated by Kim Fleming and published by Scholastic Australia is out now! Read our interview with Kim, below.
Contact us to assign or license art. We’re happy to help you find the perfect artist or gorgeous images for your project!


Kim writes:
“My Mummy is a Unicorn was so much fun to work on from start to finish.
I get to draw a dragon? A mermaid? A tickle monster!? Total dream project!
Plus it celebrates all of the amazing, creative, caring things that mothers do for their children every day, so what could be better than that? It’s a perfect Mother’s Day book!”
My Mummy is a Unicorn, illustrated by Kim Fleming, published by Scholastic Australia.
From the publisher:
“Join in the fun as mother and child use their imaginations to create a magical day full of fantastical adventures.”
Q: How did this book come about?
A: The publisher saw this personal piece of mine (below), which prompted them to commission me. I do love adding magic realism to my illustrations, and Unicorn is certainly full of that, so it was a great match!
Q: What did you love about this project?
A: In this story, the main character imagines their mother as all sorts of different magical creatures. I absolutely loved that I got to bring that sense of wonder to the page–illustrating a dragon, a robot, a genie, and imagining each of their fantastical environments.
I also loved adding in little details not in the text, such as the purple swath of hair the mother character has in each personification, or the main character’s sidekick mouse friend.
Q: What medium do you use for your illustrations?
A: I use a hybrid traditional-digital workflow.
I hand paint watercolor textures, and hand-carve rubber stamps which I use to make patterns. I scan all of these in and assemble them digitally in Photoshop.
I was really happy with how these illustrations turned out!
Above: The watercolor texture became the spotlight behind the main character in the illustration below.
Right: The stars and rainbow stamps became patterns on the child’s shirt and overalls, and the loopy repeated stamps formed the pattern on the ballerina’s bodice.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Yes, the cover is embossed with sparkles! Can I put in lots of smiley emojis here? And I just wanted to thank the team at Scholastic who were so amazing to work with.
Thanks Kim!
My Mummy is a Unicorn released March 1st, 2023 in Australia, and will hopefully be available worldwide soon. It is available for purchase here.

Erica Root’s beautiful new author/illustrator book is out soon!

We’re thrilled to announce Erica Root’s first authored/illustrated picture book, Close To You From Far Away, published by Running Press Kids.
Below, Erica writes (and illustrates!) about the inspiration behind the book, and how it came to be. Enjoy!
Contact us to assign or license art. We’re happy to help you find the perfect artist or gorgeous images for your project!


Erica writes, “Recently, something amazing happened…I received a copy of my very first authored and illustrated children’s book!
This has been a dream practically four decades in the making.
I’m often asked what it’s like to make a picture book so I hope you enjoy seeing behind the scenes of Close To You From Far Away in this newsletter.”
Close to You from Far Away, written and illustrated by Erica Root, published by Running Press Kids.
Out April 4, 2023.
From the publisher:
“Find out how to maintain a feeling of closeness to someone you love while being far away from them in this delightful book about family, letter writing, and love.”
Erica: “Close to You from Far Away was developed during one of Lilla’s children’s book residencies. We were right in the middle of the Isolation Age (aka: May 2020), which left so many of us craving human connection in a way that we never had before.
At this time, we took my son to visit his grandma. They could only touch from opposite sides of the glass.
I found myself thinking about the unbreakable bond I had with my grandma and about what “connection” looks like from a child’s vantage point.
And that’s when Close to You from Far Away was born.”


Above: The genesis of Close To You From Far Away


Above: Getting published!
Below: Fun facts about Close To You From Far Away.
Above: Erica says, “Seeing and holding the actual book for the first time felt surreal!”
Below: Erica and Riley Wilkinson (toy and game agent/inventor extraordinaire!) worked together to develop the concept of tear-out postcards in the back of the book–one of Erica’s favorite elements!
Thanks Erica!
Close To You From Far Away published by Running Press Kids is available for pre-order now. It releases April 4, 2023.

REVEALED! Some of my favorite brand-new children’s book images by our artists.

Today I’ve gathered some of my favorite children’s book-inspired images by our artists from the Menagerie.
Plus! You can now download a PDF of children’s book images from the Menagerie here.
PDFs also available for Stationery/Greeting Cards; Editorial; Puzzles; and Patterns!

Left: PDF now available for download

If you haven’t checked out the stunning collection of over 200 new images by our artists in our 7th Annual Lilla’s Art Menagerie, don’t wait!
Click on this special link to see all the brand-new work that you’ve been waiting for, available for licensing or for ideas to commission.
If prompted, enter this password: purple
Once in the gallery, be sure to click “View All”.
Check out this selection of inspiring children’s book-style imagery our artists have created to inspire you to commission them for your next book.


Available for license as of this writing.


Available for license as of this writing.


Available for license as of this writing


Available for license as of this writing.


Available for license as of this writing.


Available for license as of this writing.
Hurry! Many of these artists are heavily booked, so contact us now to chat about your project. We’d love to hear about it!
Still haven’t seen the Menagerie gallery?
Click this link (password: purple)

Spotlight on Katie Vernon’s stunning author/illustrated picture book!

We’re thrilled to announce the publication of Katie Vernon’s first authored/illustrated picture book, Ari Arranges Everything, published by Running Press Kids. Read our interview with Katie, below.
Contact us to assign or license art. We’re happy to help you find the perfect artist or gorgeous images for your project!


My first author/illustrated picture book, Ari Arranges Everything is coming out February 21 with Running Press Kids!
From the publisher: Empower young children to let go of control and to embrace a little chaos in this delightful and humorous picture book.
Ari arranges absolutely everything. But when Ari sets out to create the ultimate arrangement at the zoo, things don’t go quite as planned. Will Ari finally figure out the secret to arranging (or perhaps not arranging) everything in this humorous and delightful story?
Q. What was the original inspiration for the book?
A. It mostly came from being a florist for a few years. Actually, I’ve always loved arranging/ rearranging things like my room, shelves, clothes, etc.
Q. What did you love about the characters?
A. I love that the character of Ari is passionate and eccentric. They learn to embrace and manage their obsession rather than feeling like they need to change who they are.
Q. What medium did you use for the illustrations?
A. I used a combination of watercolor, gouache, and an iPad. I painted most of the illustrations separately and then, much like Ari, I arranged everything digitally, adding details in Procreate.
Q. Were there challenges on this project?
A. I think the challenge with any big project is keeping the excitement/momentum going. I learned to find parts in each spread that were really fun to create. From adding in little easter eggs like including our family camper as a toy, to playing around with paint textures, I delighted in the small things that made the bigger project that much more fun!
Q. How long did you work on writing your story?
A. I’ve been sitting on a version of this story for many years. But it all finally came together when I carved out the time and mind space during Lilla’s Children’s Book Pitch Residency in 2020. It was picked up by Running Press Kids and we worked on it from October 2021 to April 2022.
Thanks, Katie! Ari Arranges Everything is out Feb 21st and is available for pre-order here.

A reading adventure, a rainbow puzzle, Christmas stickers and more!

Take a gander at some of our artists’ brilliant new books and products out now.

Contact us to assign or license art. We’re happy to help you find the perfect artist or gorgeous images for your project!

Ruth Burrows & Tequitia Andrews
We love it when our artists get to work on a project together!

Ruth and Tequitia both contributed to this amazing book published by Dorling Kindersley.

Buy it here.

Left: Cover by Ruth Burrows.

Above: Internal illustration by

Ruth Burrows

Below: Internal illustrations by

Tequitia Andrews


Kendra Binney
Amazing 3D advent calendar for Roger la Borde

Buy it here.


Mara Penny
Gorgeous colorful puzzle for Elena Essex.

Buy it here.


Flora Waycott
Gorgeous kidsware print for Vivie and Ash


Sarah Walsh
Fabulous book on climate activism for Barefoot Books.

Buy it here.


Hsinping Pan
Gorgeous sticker set with backgrounds and fun stickers for Apli Paper

Buy it here.


This Week’s Featured Toy Pitch
Our Toy and Games Agent Riley Wilkinson has been working with our artists on some fabulous toy concepts for you. Feast your eyes!
Munch by Mara Penny
This beautifully illustrated card game by Mara Penny is a fresh take on the classic game of War. The fast-paced game play features educational facts about the ecosystem and food chain.
Contact us for more information about this fantastic toy pitch.

See more toy concepts–ready to license–here.


Snap up our artists’ beautiful gift items for the holidays!

Every year, we love to provide our readers with a curated sample of our gorgeous artists’ products for sale on their very own Etsy shops. Dive in, buy art, support artists!
Check out Sarah Papworth’s beautiful giclée prints, Kay Wolfersperger’s kitchen dish towels, and Sarah Walsh’s cool ornaments. Be sure to order now to ensure that the artists can ship them out to you so you receive them for the holidays.
PLUS stay tuned on Monday as we will be announcing our newest artist who we have taken on for representation!
Contact us to assign or license art. We’re happy to help you find the perfect artist or gorgeous images for your project!


A selection of Limited Edition Prints by Sarah Papworth, supplied with a signed, stamped & numbered Certificate of Authenticity. Presented on acid-free, archival textured cotton Giclée Paper by Ilford, one of the world’s oldest fine art paper mills.
“It’s a joy to be able to put these beautifully printed pieces out into the world. You can see each hand-made mark and brush stroke.”


Short Sleeve shirt and joggers design by Sarah Walsh (sold separately).


These 100% cotton kitchen towels measure 17″ x 30″, feature a corner loop for hanging and an original illustration by Kay Wolfersperger.


These aprons contain illustrated patterns printed onto beautiful quality 100% cotton, designed by Kate Mason.
Available in 4 variations: succulent pots, sushi, food dishes & fruit/vegetables.
The original artwork was hand sketched & has a mix of hand painted elements & digital colouring.


But wait there’s more! Here are some books by our artists which would make great gifts, too.




Running Press Kids