Friday, 13 November 2015

How To Draw for Children - A Christmas Reindeer face! (10 simple steps)

How To Draw A Christmas Reindeer face in ten simple steps

A Step by Step Guide for kids!

Last week we drew this cute Christmas penguin;

This week, we're going to draw his friend Rudolph! 

This guide is designed as a step-by-step tutorial that you can use along with your kids. Simply load the blog post, and scroll down - it's not only a great way to keep your children entertained over the Christmas holidays, but it also promotes creativity in children and helps you bond together! 

Kids of all ages can join in, if they're too young to follow the guide there is a free downloadable colour in sheet at the end of the guide for you to print off and use.

Are you ready? 
You will need a piece of paper and your favourite tool - whether that is a pen, pencil, paint or felt tip!
Let's go!

Step One 

Draw a U shape 

Make it wider at the bottom

Step Two 

Attach a circle to the top of the line

Start at the top of your U shape, and leave a little gap at the bottom of the circle. 

Step Three 

Do the same on the other side

Can you guess what these will be?

Step Four 

Make a V shape Make a V shape in the middle of the circles

Step Five 

Add the antlers
You can be creative and design your own antlers! 

Step Six 

Add a big circle in the middle
This will be Rudolph's nose!

Step Seven 

Add a little U shape
This will be Rudolph's mouth. 
You can use your imagination here and make him have a big smile, a sad mouth, 
or even a wobbly line for a mouth! See which one you like best.

Step Eight 

Add two circles
Draw two circles inside Rudolph's ears

Step Nine 

Add two little dots
These will be Rudolph's eyes - so add them just above his nose, at either side

Step Ten 

One more line
Finally, add one line that connects the ears in the middle to complete your face.

Well done! You've just drawn Rudolph the Red Nose reindeer's face! Did you have fun?

Now you can colour in your picture, and give it to someone you love this Christmas.

If you used this guide, I' love to see how you did! 
Send a photo of him to and I'll upload your work online!

Here is a large version of the Reindeer face, you can download him, print him out and hand him out to kids to colour in! Just right click and 'Save Picture'

Thursday, 5 November 2015

How To Draw A Cute Christmas Penguin - A Step by Step activity for kids!

How To Draw A Cute Christmas Penguin - Step by Step Guide

A great Christmas themed creative activity for kids!

When I was young, Christmas meant a lot of things; family, school plays and re-runs of The Vicar Of Dibley on the T.V to name a few! But one of the things I looked forward to the most, was sitting down at the family table for hours with a bucket of colouring pencils and a stack of white paper and drawing page after page of Christmas themed pictures. Penguins, reindeer, Santa, Snowmen - you name it, I drew it!

Twenty odd years later, and I'm sitting at my own table with my nephews and nieces doing the very same thing.

This November, I'll be creating four Christmas themed step-by-step guides that you can draw with the children in your family. Try igniting the imagination of children of all ages by helping them draw, and for the younger kids, scroll to the bottom of each guide to download the full picture to print out and colour in!

The first guide is our cute Christmas Penguin! Are you ready?

Step One 

Draw an egg shape with the top cut off

You can use crayons, pens, pencils or even paint!
Draw an egg that is missing the top.

Step Two 

Add a flipper

You can make the flipper point upwards or downwards - do you want him to be waving?

Step Three 

Add another flipper!

Draw another flipper on the other side.
You can make them symmetrical or have this one pointing a different way.

Step Four 

Add a line across the top of the egg

This is going to be his hat

Step Five 

Draw the bottom of the hat

This penguin is wearing a hat like Santa!

Step Six 

Draw a wavy line across the top

Don't worry if your wavy line looks a little different from mine, that's all part of being creative!

Step Seven 

Connect it with a little line

Make sure there are no gaps!

Step Eight 

Add a bobble on the end!

Draw a circle on the end of the hat for your bobble

Step Nine 

Draw a U shape in the middle

Can you guess what this will be?

Step Ten 

Draw a line across the top of your U shape

That's right, it is the penguin's beak!

Step Eleven 

Draw a line either side of the beak

Remember to connect them so there are no gaps.

Step Twelve 

Draw a foot on each side

Try making a W shape for the foot, and connect it to the penguin's body.
You can give him big feet, or little feet - it's up to you!

Step Thirteen 

Add the eyes

Draw two little dots for the penguin's eyes.

Well done! You've just drawn a cute little Christmas penguin. Isn't he great?! 

How about now you try and colour him in?

If you drew a penguin, I' love to see how you did! 
Send a photo of him to and I'll upload your work online!

Keep your eye out for our next Christmas Activity - coming next week!

Here is a large version of the penguin, you can download him, print him out and hand him out to kids to colour in! Just right click and 'Save Picture'

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Izzy Bean's Top Ten Tips for Self Publishing Your Children's Book!

Self-publishing a children’s book is easy peasy, lemon squeezy! Almost anyone with a computer and some free time can do it. What is not easy, however, is self-publishing a children’s book that is actually good, and that sells well. 

I’ve been illustrating children’s books professionally for almost nine years, and along the way I’ve dealt with my fair share of first time self publishers. I’ve enjoyed every single one of them, but I have also realised that while most self published newbie authors never make their dream of being the next Roald Dahl, there are some essential tips that increase their chances of being read, reviewed and possibly even picked up by a big name publishing house. So before you reach for the pen or your laptop, here are my top ten tips to bear in mind when self publishing your first children’s book.

1. Read, Read and Read Some More

Chances are, if you’re passionate about writing, you’re passionate about reading. So you’ve probably already got this one covered. Just in case, read some more anyway! Reading any genre for any audience will help your writing skills regardless, but focusing on books that are written for your intended target audience is a must. Don’t just read them though, analyse them too. How many words are on each page? How many words in total? Are they complicated words? Do they have illustrations?

2. The PPP system, or POINT PER PAGE

I invented the PPP system to help authors focus on quality, not quantity. Each page of your book should have one major point that is essential to your story. It could be introducing a major character, an action that moves the story forward, or another event that is an important part of your story. If you have a page which you could take out without affecting the storyline, then leave it out. Tackle each page individually and ask; What is the point to this page? A 14 page book should have 14 points to the story. If one page has two points, consider separating it into two pages. (Without going into too much detail in this blog post, you can have secondry points that accompany your main point on each page, but more about that another day…)

3. Don’t Quit While You’re Ahead

You’ve spent countless hours writing your first story and you’ve finally finished! Right? Wrong! This is only the beginning, what you have just finished, is the first of many drafts. It may seem daunting, but you’re going to be re-writing this draft over and over, and only after you’ve re-written it enough to know it off by heart, and are possible even sick of the sight of it, then you’ll finally be ready to let people see it. Which leads us nicely onto the next tip…

4. Rely on Feedback from more than your friends and family

Your nearest and dearest love you to bits and everything you do in their eyes will always be great! While having them read your story and give you their opinion is not a bad thing, don’t rely on their feedback alone. Reach out to people who may be a little more honest and critical, maybe even find someone who you know will pick faults with your work. Why? Because you will get readers who will do just that, and you’re looking for honest feedback so you can test your story on a real person and use their feedback to improve your writing. As an additional tip, it’s worth noting that not all critiques could actually lead you to improve your story. There will always be someone who will find errors or have something negative to say about your work, even Harry Potter was turned down for being ’too complicated for children to follow’ by many publishers before being picked up by Bloomsbury. Your job is to listen to that feedback without feeling too offended, and also be the judge of whether it is useful or not.

5. Think Ahead / Do your Research

At least half of the first time authors I work for don’t think about who they are going to publish their book with until after it’s finished. There are many benefits to planning ahead, such as being able to save enough money, setting your launch around popular holidays or spreading some of the work to make it less stressful, but sometimes it will also cost you more money and effort if you don’t plan ahead. There are publishers who will only accept certain book sizes, and page numbers, which would mean a lot of wasted time if you create a beautiful book only to find you have to re-draw all the illustrations to fit a different ratio or cut out some of your pages.

Things to consider;
Hardback, paperback or Ebook?
Is the company charging you per book, or taking a percentage of sales?
Will the company let you distribute with other companies or are you limited to their customers only?
Do you need an ISBN number?

If you’re unsure who to self publish with, you can read my previous blog about Self Publishing here.

6. Make your characters relatable

Children come in all shapes and sizes, and no two children are the same. As an illustrator I’m very aware of making the characters appealing to real children.
Children have a strange sense of fashion – think trainers with fairy dresses, bright stripy socks with polka dot jumpers. Children wear glasses, have plasters on their knees, their noses are always running, they have paint on their hands. Some children have afros, some children have an abundance of bright red hair, others have ponytails. All of these details make your characters not only more believable, but a child will subconsciously be hunting for someone in the book who looks like them, and if they can’t find anyone to relate to, they might not be interested. So don’t limit yourself – let your imagination run wild!

It’s worth noting that in order to be realistic and relatable, you shouldn’t focus too much on gender specifics. While a lot of little girls love pink, there are plenty who are also obsessed with dinosaurs and play football. Children are more complex then gender stereotypes.

7. Make your title stand out

Aside from your cover, it’s the one thing that people will judge your book on. It’s the first thing they read, and your first chance to grab their attention among all the other titles. Make it fresh, catchy and different! There are a lot of books along the lines of ‘Simon Goes to the Park,’ but not so many named ‘Kit Kitten and the Topsy, Turvy feelings.’ If your title has three words, one of those should be your main theme, and one of them should be your character’s name. Ideally, we should get the general idea of what your story is about, just by your title alone. Here are three titles I recently illustrated, can you guess what the stories might be about?

1.    I Have Asthma, What Does That mean?
2.    Little Meerkat’s Big Panic
3.    The Lion Who Could Swim

8. Promote Your book… without paying a penny

You may dislike Facebook and all it stands for, but if you’re not utilizing it to promote your book, you’re missing out on one of the biggest advertising outlets available to you, which also just happens to be completely free. Sign up, create a pgae for your book, and start sharing! The same goes for Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Google Pages and more. While it may seem pointless at first, the trick is to interact with other authors and those who share similar interests, and post regularly. Try not to make everything you share about your book, alternate it with relevant articles and share other author’s books to gain interest within the community.

Aside from social media, there are plenty of other ways to promote your book on a budget, a lot of them far more effective than paid advertising. Such as arranging book signings or visiting local children. Teachers and Carers are always looking for guests to read to children in a safe environment. Get your illustrator to create some colouring and activity sheets and visit a local school, nursery, club or church to spread the word about your book whilst also helping your local community.

9. Join the Club

There are some great societies, clubs and groups for authors that are both free and paid for. The benefits of joining these groups is that you can learn a lot of tips and tricks direct from those who have been there and done that, and share your own experiences too. Make friends, chat and listen to others without trying to sell your book to learn invaluable advice and have real-life support. Check out the links below to find what groups I, and some of my clients regularly contribute to.

10. Get a great illustrator

If you’ve written a brilliant story, you need brilliant illustrations to go with it. Don’t undo all your hard work by settling for less than average illustrations because you know someone who will do it for free. It’s a common phrase, but you really do get what you pay for. Luckily, if you’re on a budget, there are ways to cut costs and still end up with a great illustrator!

Negotiate on price – an illustrator who really likes your script may be willing to drop their price to suit your budget.

Use one of your internal illustrations as the front cover

Use ‘spot’ illustrations instead of full page illustrations

Have less illustrations in your book and use illustrated borders around the text only pages

Find an illustrator that will allow you to pay in installments rather than all up front

Most importantly, your cover should really, really stand out. It is the first thing your customers will see, and yes, they will be judging your book by it! Take a look at some of these covers I illustrated, and if you like, you can contact me for a quote by emailing me at or see more of my work on my website at 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Kittens, Asthma and new sketches!

I have to admit, I love my job. 

Working late into the night, eating dinner at my desk while I work and working weekends - it's all worth it to be doing what I love every day. 

Here's what I've been up to recently...


    It was such a privilege to illustrate for Jane Evans for her book 'Kit Kitten and the Topsy-Turvy Feelings' and I felt as if I had learnt something new whilst doing so. Jane is a trauma parenting specialist and her books are not your average children's books, they are carefully written stories about parents who aren't always able to care, or children who come from homes with violence. Each book features questions, games, advice and suggestions that encourage the adults to listen and the kids to talk in a way that they feel safe and without pressure. Something that makes Jane's books unique and essential in so many ways.

When I received my copies of the book in the post, I was delighted to see they were of a very high quality and felt great to read. The pages were thick and glossy, and the hardback cover works wonders for little hands to hold. 

Jane is currently releasing her third book, 'Little Meerkat's Big Panic' which I am proud to have illustrated also. To find out more about Jane and her incredible work, you can visit her via;

You can order Jane's first two books through her publisher Jessica Kingsley or with Amazon.


Wendy Chen's book was inspired by her own family, but is perfect for any child who might know someone with asthma. It's explains what happens during an asthma attack, how it is managed and how it can be part of a normal, active lifestyle. What a great idea!

You can find more about Wendy by visiting her website;

And you can buy Wendy's book on Amazon.


I should really share more sketches of new projects with you, I absolutely love sketching and the process behind designing a new character. It's so fun! Here are some friendly faces you will be seeing more of soon!



I've been busy re-vamping Izzy Bean Illustrations with a brand new logo, and a new website too! 
A lot of you loved the old logo and it got a lot of positive comments, but I felt it was time for a re-fresh and a change... plus I love the new logo a million times more! What do you think?

Thanks for looking, as always!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Author Interview - GRANDMA PAINT POT talks about her process, inspiration and hurdles!

Author Interview

Grandma Paint Pot

Grandma Paint Pot (named so by her Grandchildren) was born and raised in South Wales, but now resides in Cornwall which gives her the inspiration for her book series - 'The Sea Creatures'.

A keen writer, poet and outdoor walker; Grandma Paint Pot is a nature lover and this shows in her beautiful writing which features an array of adorable characters from a Selfish Shellfish to a Starfish with a missing leg! 

Thankyou for taking the time to talk to us, can you start by telling us more about yourself?

I’m a mother of three and a grandmother to four lovely grandchildren. I was born and raised in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales. Now, I live in Cornwall, in a caravan. I love to spend time out of doors walking the coastal path and feeling close to nature. I have two Border Terriers - Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde - and in June will be having a Springer Spaniel puppy. She will be called Lizzie Lou after the heroine in the novel I am currently writing. I have a BA (hons) in Literature and an MA in Professional Writing.

Great names! How did you start writing for children?

I’ve written poetry since the age of thirteen or fourteen. When my children were quite young I started rewriting nursery rhymes such as: What was Humpty doing, sitting on the wall, he shouldn’t have been up there, it was obvious he’d fall... My children attended the Welsh school and had several cousins around the same age. I wrote my first children’s story for them. It was handwritten into a blue scrapbook in the Welsh Language and every character in the story was named after the children. I drew all the illustrations. I have since translated it into English and changed the names accordingly to suit newer, younger family members. I might use elements of it in a future publication.

Do you have a process you follow when writing?

Usually, a germ of an idea might take hold and I play around with it in my head for some time. With my publication The Selfish Shellfish, I was playing around with this title for a poem, focusing on the tongue twisting alliteration. I then thought I could make up some other sea creature characters. When I had several characters the idea grew into something bigger. In my head, each character had a voice.

            I don’t commit anything to paper until I’ve thought out the entire story. Then I write it up, and after that I type it on the computer. More often than not the word count is far too much and that’s when I begin to edit it down and structure it.

What or who gives you inspiration?

Nature is the most inspirational thing there is. I can look at the sea, a river, flowers, trees, the earth, the sky and never fail to be moved. I love watching the birds and animals and life in general. The world seems so simple and straight forward and breathtaking and mysterious. It is lifetime of study.

I admire so many writers but, in my eyes, Julia Donaldson is a children’s writing phenomenon. She creates beautiful characters, beautiful stories, empathetic scenarios and puts them together in verse.

Did you encounter any problems when releasing your books?

As a self-publishing author (as with any author, I suppose) I have to create interest in my book via social media. This is something that causes me a few problems. How to connect with the right people? How to reach people other than friends and family? How to pitch your posts and blog in such a way that will engage and draw interest without coming across as pushy, boring and completely self-indulgent?  

What was the BEST part of releasing your book?

The best part about releasing my books was (firstly) holding a physical copy and then seeing copies on the shelf in bookstores. It gives a wonderful sense of achievement. Also, it’s an amazing feeling when people come up to me and say: my child loves your book. When asked what book they want at bedtime they always want to read The Selfish Shellfish.

...and the worst?

The worst part is facing rejection from some booksellers. It’s tough to take when someone says they don’t want to stock your book - for whatever reason. Some places will order my book for a customer if they ask for it specifically but the chances of that happening is unlikely. As a new, independent author my book needs to be on display to stand any sort of chance in such a saturated market.

It sounds like you love doing what you do! 
What were your favourite books when you were a child?

I grew up in the world of Enid Blyton. I loved everything from Noddy and Big Ears, The Famous Five to Mr Meddles Muddles and Brer Rabbit. But, if I had to pick one book from my childhood, it would be Joanna Spyri’s Heidi. I always wanted to live on top of a mountain, sleep in a bed of straw, eat fresh bread and cheese and run wild all day. It was my kind of heaven.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I love going somewhere to write rather than staying at home. Often, I write in The Falmouth Hotel. I order a pot of coffee, sit in the window overlooking Castle Beach and write the morning away. This is one of the reasons I set The Selfish Shellfish on Castle Beach and some wonderful illustrations of the Hotel feature in the book.
            I also like to write in cafes or libraries or anywhere I’m not distracted by thoughts of chores I should be attending to.

Finally... 'The big debate'; physical books or eBooks - which do you prefer?

I much prefer a physical book. I buy ebooks for convenience. They make ideal traveling companions and, as I live in a caravan, they don’t clutter up my cubby holes. My books are also available as ebooks for these very same reasons, and because I want to cater for the ebook market. But physical books are special. They are personal and intimate. In my opinion, a person - young or not so young - is more likely to flick back through the pages of a physical book time and time again to enjoy the feel and colour of the book and to linger over the words, and each time the book is revisited they will see and understand something different and gain a bigger picture. 

Thanks for sharing with us Grandma Paint Pot!

Grandma Paint Pot is currently launching her latest book; Stanley Penwellington and the Exploding Seagulls

Until then, you can check out her books below!

The Selfish Shellfish (ISBN 9781781322147) is £7.99 
The Selfish Shellfish ebook (ISBN 9781781322154) is £5.99
Leonard Limpet Lost at Sea (ISBN 9780993090707) is £7.99

Leonard Limpet Lost at Sea ebook (ISBN 9780993090714) is £5.99

Buy from...

Or on sale locally in Falmouth at;

Falmouth Bookseller
The Falmouth Hotel
The Maritime Museum
Cornish Maid, Mawnan Smith
Meudon Hotel, Mawnan Smith

The Kingsley Village
Seawitch Stores, Mousehole
The End of the Earth, Hayle

Visit Grandma Paint Pot and find out more!