Lisa Stickley brings "Handstand" to our Peckham Market

Illustrator and designer Lisa Stickley can now add author to her list of accomplishments, as her childrens book Handstand has just been released. We can't wait to take a peek inside at our upcoming Peckham Autumn Market where Lisa will be signing copies on Sunday 9th October.

We thought we'd catch up with her to hear more about the project and what else she has been up to...

Hi Lisa! Tell me a little more about yourself, what you do, where you live, your products etc...

I am deliriously devoted to designing and creating. Having originally founded Lisa Stickley in 1999 (from my bedroom, using the original Cash’s labels my mum used to sew into my school socks) I was lucky enough to sell my first ever products to Paul Smith, Designers Guild and The Cross. Since then I have collaborated with the likes of Burberry, Harrods, Liberty, Tate, Selfridges, Heals, Boots, Debenhams, John Lewis and Japanese stores Ships, Hankyu & Isetan.

I trained as a printed textile designer at Central Saint Martins and The Royal College Of Art, and my journey so far has taken me on many adventures. I opened my first shop in 2007 in South London which, behind the scenes, doubled up as a bustling print studio and creative hub. I have designed and developed lifestyle brand concepts, and have produced and sold home-wear products and accessories all over the world.

I currently live, and work, as a designer/author & illustrator in the leafy lanes of South East London with my husband and daughters. Some of my latest work includes a range of greetings cards I have just launched with The Art Group. And more recently too, I have been indulging in a new and thoroughly enjoyable venture writing and illustrating children’s books.

Tell us about your new book… What is it about, who is it for…

My new book Handstand has (literally) just been published (with Pavilion Books) so it’s all very exciting at the moment. Handstand is a kind of counting book aimed at 3-5 year olds. The blurb on the back of the book explains a little bit more…

Handstands aren’t easy. Just ask Edith.
From standing on her hands for one second on Monday, she eventually does seven in a row on Sunday. But in between, she’s put off by worms, bees and a cheeky bird.
Count along with Edith as she learns that practice makes perfect.

The main character is loosely based around my eldest daughter Edith, and she has great fun ‘introducing’ all of the other characters as the book progresses, all of whom cause her much grief as she is attempting to perfect her upside down skills!

Have you always wanted to write / illustrate a children’s book?

It is something I fell into a bit by accident really, and I am so very pleased that I did. I had to make rather an abrupt change in career path a couple of years ago, which coincided with having just become a mum.
My mind is always on the go, creating and inventing and I often come up with random scenarios in my head. Marrying that with my love for doodling and colouring-in, and the new daily inspiration from my mini ones, sort of created a few pieces of a puzzle for a new direction. I had some suggestion and encouragement from some of my close friends and family to give writing a go, and the puzzle pieces started to slot into place!

I was then very lucky indeed to find a publisher last year who liked my work, and still can’t quite believe I am now a published author/illustrator. It has all been a bit whirlwind-ish really!

What have been your most challenging and favourite parts of the process?

The tricky bit is coming up with a concept for a story. I have a million ideas constantly buzzing around in my head, but to nail down something that could work for a book requires a good edit.

Once that bit is done it is a challenging yet thoroughly enjoyable process of bringing the book to life in words and pictures. I tend to get the writing as finished as possible first and then the illustration part comes second (albeit I visually map this out in my head at the same time the story emerges). It is then a matter of fitting the words and pictures into the format of the book and this takes quite a bit of too-ing and fro-ing to make it flow well both image and story wise.

In terms of artwork it is all equally good fun. I tend to use my VERY old typewriter to write with (there is something about the ‘clickity clack’ of the letters pounding on the paper that I find quite inspiring). And the illustration comes in the form of a variety of processes from mono-printing, painting, paper-cutting, oil pastel and line drawing with pen and ink.

I produce all of the elements for each picture by hand then scan these into the computer and collage together to create the final compositions. Often some of my textile prints will come into play at this stage too, used as background pattern or to collage a dress or pair of shorts onto a character.

Favourite part… every bit.


What can we expect to see on your stand at the upcoming crafty fox Autumn markets?

I shall be at Crafty Fox with my new book, signing, selling copies and introducing it to the world. I shall also be selling my new cards and some original artwork based on my Handstand Book illustrations.

Any other new projects in the pipeline?

Yes… a few. Some of which are top secret so I can’t tell at the moment.

Other new projects include ongoing collections of cards with The Art Group and two further children’s books with Pavilion Books, which are being published next year. And a PILE of ideas for many more books after that!


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