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Lucy Cousins

As a child

Lucy Cousins was born in 1964, attending a school in Kent. After doing a foundation course at Canterbury College, Lucy did a BA Honours in Graphic Design, followed by a postgraduate degree at the Royal College of Art.

As an adult

Maisy, the famous mouse, “drew herself” one day, when Lucy was doodling various animals on a piece of paper, looking for inspiration, and the first Maisy book was published soon after Lucy left college. Maisy, who also stars in her own television show, has become one of the best-loved characters in children’s books, and is recognized the world over. Lucy won the Bologna Ragazzi Non-fiction Prize 1997 for Maisy’s House and has been Highly Commended for the National Art Illustration Award 1997 for Za Za’s Baby Brother, images from which were also used in a publicity campaign by Tommy’s, the baby’s charity. Jazzy in the Jungle won the Smarties Book Prize in 2002. Hooray for Fish!, published in 2005, is a celebration of life under the sea. Lucy lives in Hampshire with her husband and has four children.

As an artist

Lucy finds that illustration comes more easily to her than writing, which tends to work around the drawings. “I draw by heart,” she says. “I think about what children would like by going back to my own childlike instincts.” And what instincts they are! Lucy now has sold more than 31 million books in worldwide, including picture books, sticker books, cloth books, colouring books, board books, pull-the-tab and lift-the-flap books, three-dimensional play sets, a clock book… Where does the prolific Lucy – a mother of four children – find the energy? “I’m quite disciplined,” she says of her productivity. “If I’m having an ‘ideas’ day, I just sit at my desk and draw and write until I feel something is happening – though I admit that this is usually helped by a cup of tea, some lively music, and an abundance of sunshine.” As for outside inspiration, she says she’s sometimes influenced by the work of other artists, as long as those artists are children. Says the author-illustrator, “I get more pleasure and inspiration from walking around a primary school than from any art gallery.”

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