My Job in 5: Helen Chapman, Picture book designer, Penguin Random House UK

My Job in 5: Helen Chapman, Picture book designer, Penguin Random House UK

Describe your role

My job title is picture book designer but people outside the industry always think that I must illustrate all the books! Unfortunately I’m not that talented (though I do a mean stick man) so I end up describing my job as being an editor for the illustrators. Working in close partnership with our editorial team I help illustrators evolve their work from the initial roughs to the finished book, picking fonts, designing covers and logos, and creating the document that is sent to our printers etc. The team (and myself) also keep a keen eye out for talented illustrators to bring to our list either from existing work in the market, graduates or just out and about.

What do you like best about your role?

The variety! I can spend a day going from a discussion on the colours of dinosaur poop to working out what the next hairstyle a fairytale princess should have.

What new projects are you working on?

I’m juggling around a dozen new projects and they are full of glitter, poop, hamsters, dragons, animals, princesses but not all in the same book (how wonderful would it be if they were?).

What unique skills do you need in children’s book design?

As with all design jobs you need to be able to use the Adobe suite etc but with children’s design I think you need to be passionate about the books. Also being able to network and communicate well is vital.

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?

Network and get your face and portfolio out there as much a possible. Get work placements, go for

internships, be willing to move home to get your foot in the door!