Baby Bedtime

Finger painting, knitting and charity shop finds: see how I pieced together the illustrations for Baby Bedtime


This is one of the first sketches I drew after reading Mem Fox’s manuscript for Baby Bedtime. It is quite small – just over 5cm high – but this drawing grew into a whole book.

I used finger painting to colour the elephants. I liked the fact it didn’t allow me to get too fussy about colouring neatly within the lines.

The backgrounds, furniture, bedding and books in the elephants’ house were put together using scans of vintage clothes, lace and crocheted doilies I found in charity shops. I hoped to convey a sense of softness, warmth and envelopment through my choice of colours and shapes, the qualities of the drawn lines and the textured surfaces. 

The criss-cross detail on the lace at the bottom of this apron reminded me of bedtime kisses, so I decided to use the pattern to decorate the parent elephant’s dressing gown.


The decorative edging on the sleeves of this nylon bed jacket made me think of a string of fairy lights, so I strung them up in the baby’s room and made them glow using Photoshop.


My friend, Byrnece, knitted this star for me. I wanted the illustrations in this book to contain lots of curves, textures and patterns, but no straight lines. It was difficult to find a star without straight edges and sharp points. I love the hand-made quality of Byrnece’s star, and I used it over and over again on the beaded curtain hanging in the doorway to the baby’s room and on the front cover.

Here, the elephants are reading their bedtime story, sitting on comfy cushions. Again, this is Byrnece’s knitting, but this time a much-loved ball she made for her grandchildren when they were babies. I squashed the ball down a little and scanned it, then used Photoshop to turn it into seats for sleepy elephants. (And don’t worry – the ball did spring back into shape again as soon as I’d finished with it!)

Can you see where I used the interlocking shapes of this suede belt at the beginning of the book? 

If you look at the photograph of my charity shop finds earlier on this page, you might be able to find the doily I used to make the back of the chair.