Today, we are excited to share with you a Q & A with Clare Beaton, illustrator of our two new board books, Clare Beaton’s Bedtime Rhymes and Clare Beaton’s Farmyard Rhymes. Clare has created over twenty books with us, and is internationally recognised for her distinctive fabric collages. Read on to learn more about Clare, how she makes her gorgeous illustrations and which rhyme collection themes she would like to work on next!

Q: When you create your illustrations for books, do you think about the babies who will be drooling (quite literally!) over them? What goes through your mind when you create them?
With my larger format books I think about the extra detail with things to spot (over and above the moose in Elusive Moose and seahorse in Secret Seahorse) but with these smaller books there just isn’t the room. So I think more about clarity and clear simple images, and the ways to make the animals and characters appealing.

Q: Of all the rhymes in Clare Beaton’s Bedtime Rhymes and Clare Beaton’s Farmyard Rhymes, which was the most fun to illustrate? Why?
‘Five Little Owls’, with the rather sad disappearance of the owls. I like this as the illustration tells the story and I like stitching owls. I once saw a row of baby owls huddled together on a tree branch, which looked so sweet. I hope they didn’t meet such a sticky end!

Q: If you could choose the theme for a new rhyme collection for babies and toddlers, what would it be?
Oh, so many subjects here. The seaside would be lovely with all the shells, seaweed, fish and other sea creatures, plus boats and sandcastles.

Or weather: leaves blown by the wind, snow and ice (my favourite), rain and puddles, and sunsets, rainbows…

Creepy Crawlies in among the plants. Bees, butterflies and furry caterpillars, busy ants, grasshoppers and many, many more.

Q: Which tool in your studio can you absolutely not live without?
It’s impossible to choose one, as without all of them I couldn’t progress to the next stage. Pencil and paper first, then scissors and pins followed by needle and thread.

Q: Do you ever suffer from artist’s block?
No, not really, as the rhymes are inspiring and conjure up pictures. Sorting out fabrics to use helps me decide the way I’ll illustrate something. I’ll start by sketching ideas and redo them until I’m happy.

Q: If you had to describe your artistic style in only three words, what would they be?
Decorative, friendly (or appealing) and amusing in that I hope my illustrations bring a smile to the reader’s face!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Only that it I find my work most enjoyable most of the time!

What is your favourite Barefoot Books’ Clare Beaton title? Please let us know by sharing a comment below!

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