As a child
Sue Heap loved reading as a child, “particularly comics. I loved the characters and the world that the artist conjured up from them. It intrigued me how an elephant, a pig and a squirrel could wear clothes and, even more fantastically, live in the same house!” She and her brother were both enthusiastic drawers. “We were particularly keen on drawing aerial maps of zoos and would appoint each other zoo keepers.”
As an adult
Sue studied photography at Hull College of Art. She started her working life as a temporary store person dealing with O rings, cheesehead screws and other valve components, before moving on to Yellow Pages, where she designed layouts for such copy lines as (filed under Plumber) “Mr Onion will fix your leek!” A move into the world of book design followed, beginning with school text books and moving on to picture books, and then book illustration.
As an artist
Sue’s first picture book, Mouse Party (by Alan Durant), was published in 1995. She actually illustrated the book twice, having rejected her first set of “finished” illustrations and then starting all over again! She has since illustrated many more picture books – a number of which she has also written. These include Cowboy Baby, which won the Smarties Book Prize Gold Award in the picture book category, and Danny's Drawing Book.
Things you didn't know about Sue Heap
- Sue’s left-hand thumb is much bigger than her right-hand thumb
- She travelled from Portsmouth to Egypt when she was six months old.
- She’s got a car, two motorbikes, a bicycle and a skateboard.
- Her granny was a clairvoyant.
- Sue got the idea for Cowboy Baby at a cactus park in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
- She went hop-picking one summer and in the first week had her bike run over by a tractor and then fell off the tractor and woke up in hospital with concussion.
- She can cycle using no hands.
- She cries very easily, especially when watching certain films – eg ET.
- Her favourite place is Gott Bay on the Isle of Tiree.
- She doesn’t have a favourite colour because she loves all colours so much, it’s impossible to choose between them.