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.

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