Tuesday 9 July 2013

Introducing Belle & Boo and their creator Mandy Sutcliffe

This month sees the launch of two brand new utterly fabulous Belle & Boo sticker and activity books "Play Day" and "My Favorite Things"- If you can imagine french fancies in book form you are almost there - they are literally brimming (BRIMMING I TELL YOU) with fun and inventive things to do - From colouring in, spot the difference and other traditional activities to sticker cupcake decorating and dress-up. 
There is also a subtle educational strand which will help keep the older readers stimulated. 

Children will be entranced by Belle & Boo and their magical friendship and these books allow fans to literally play alongside these two charming characters. 

The treatment of Mandy's sublime artwork has been sensitively adapted to create two content rich books which epitomise the essence of the Belle and Boo brand. 

Perfect for sunny days under a tree, rainy days under a blanket and everyday in between. 


We are lucky enough to have been granted an interview with the ever so talented creator of Belle & Boo so here is our Q&A for your delectation.  

Which living illustrator would you most like your portrait painted by?
Jen Corace - I love her work
(You can read more about Jen's stunning work on her website here - http://jencorace.com/ ) 
What are the three most invaluable tools of your trade? 
 my pencil, scanner and wacom tablet
Do you keep sketch books?
 I don't anymore, I keep inspirational folders on my computer that are a collection of things I like and sketches I have done and scanned in.
What is the best part of your job?
There are so many it is hard to choose, working with my friends, getting paid to draw children, seeing my drawings on beautiful products but the best thing must be when I get emails from parents telling me how much Belle & Boo means to them and their little ones.
 Which item other than the books in the Belle and Boo range are you most proud if and why?
 I really love the large dress up Belle & Boo doll we sell as I used to spend hours playing with dress up dolls when I was little and I love the idea that children now are playing with my Belle & Boo.

Do you have any find childhood memories involving books or storytelling?
I have a lovely memory of a rainy afternoon spent in our family tent with my sister and other friends making a story book about a Welsh dragon, my dad art directed the whole thing and we ended up with a really fantastic book, it was a wonderful cosy creative time.
 Which illustrators do you most admire?
 Mary Cicely Barker, E H Shepard & Joyce Lankester Brisley

What is the best gift you have ever received?
It was probably last weekend when my sister looked after my 16 month old twin boys and lent me and my partner Russ her retro camper van for the weekend, we went to the Yorkshire Dales and walked and ate and slept!
 Have you brought any good children's books lately? Which have been. Your favourites? 
 I bought my boys 'The Tiger who Came to Tea' I wish I had filmed their reaction they were "ooohhhhhhh" every time I turned a page and they saw the tiger. We bought them 'I Want my Hat Back" by Jon Klassen and now are a little bit addicted by his books. I also love Miffy and pretty much everything by Maurice Sendak

Who should we follow on Twitter?
oohh you are asking the wrong person I don't even know how it works, our lovely designer Clare is in charge of Twitter but I have just become a big fan of Instagram so follow me at Belle & Boo!

What would your ideal picnic consist of and do you have a favourite picnic spot
 We used to live near Hampstead Heath and had lovely sunny lazy picnics there, I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to picnics, french bread, cheese, pink bubbles and a vanilla slice from Patisserie Valerie

What is your favourite thing to do on a rainy day?
Lie on my bed in the attic under the sky light and watch the rain falling on top of me, I will never get tired of the sound of rain.
 What does your studio look like?
 Very corporate I am afraid, I have a glass desk in a corner of an office with a computer, printer and scanner, I imagine I can make it look a lot prettier but when I am at work I always have too much work to do.
Is Belle based on anyone real and did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
I think she is based a little on me as a child as I had the same hair style, no I didn't have an imaginary friend but I believed my toys were real and I still believe in fairies.

What is next for Belle and Boo?
 We hope Belle & Boo get to travel, we have friends all over the world and we want that to grow.
 You can find out more about Bell & Boo by visiting their website http://belleandboo.com/ 

I heartily reccomend you have a look at the entire Belle & Boo story book range - they are utterly divine - you can check them out here 

THANK YOU to Orchard Books and the delightful Sarah Mays for including us on this wonderful blog tour, for sending us such sublime books and for letting us quiz Mandy! 

You can follow Orchard Books on Twitter @orchardbooks

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mandy, I enjoyed your interview. I loved dress up dolls and cutouts when I was little, and in fact used to make them myself from my Christmas wrapping paper -- often had more fun with the paper than the presents, to my parents chagrin. I also had to write because you will appreciate this -- I am getting my portrait painted by Jen Corace. I haven't seen it yet but I agree, it's a dream come true!


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