A new series at The Story of Books opens up the process of making books. In these workshops we invite an expert to share insights into their work, and give you the opportunity to have a go. It is a mini work experience, in our beautiful space in Hay-on-Wye. We have invited Lizzie Harper, a botanical illustrator who has worked on several books, to lead the first workshop. 

Meet a Book Worker #1 – Drawing for Books with illustrator Lizzie Harper

Workshop overview

This brief session will show you how an illustration goes from being an idea, to being included on the pages of a published book.  Lizzie will show original illustrations, roughs, and commissions from books she has worked on. You will have the chance to do your own drawing to fit a brief, and to preserve it in one of The Story of Books’ Hay Cartoneras cardboard books.


Workshop format

First 30 minutes: Lizzie will show original briefing documents/ emails from art directors, along with pencil roughs that get sent for approval.  She will explain how these get turned into final art for use in the book, and explain how different companies require these illustrations in different formats, sometimes digital files and sometimes original paper works.

She will also show you the illustrations as they appear in the published book, and give you the chance to compare the two, and see where the magic of the designer and art director comes in.


Second half: You will get to work on a rough pencil illustration of a wild plant, to exactly the same brief as Lizzie received (all materials provide, and a choice of three briefs).  

You will have the chance to brainstorm on where you can get reference to work from when a plant isn’t in flower, and to see some of the resources Lizzie regularly turns to.

Lizzie will give you active encouragement and feedback as you draw and on your work, and if there is time you can transform your drawing into a finished pen and ink illustration (like the ones in Foraging with Kids by Adele Nozedar).

…and finally

As part of the workshop you will also learn about the cardboard publishing movement in Latin America, and be shown you how to save your drawing into one of these books. There will also be the opportunity to look at Lizzie’s sketchbooks and original artwork, and to purchase copies of books she has illustrated (with a special one-off discount for all workshop participants), greetings cards, or even an original illustration. 

All this for just £10 per person. Places are limited, so please get in touch with Emma Balch on 07879 373431 or by email at to reserve your place.  

Date: Friday 12th October 2018

Times: choose from 11am. Workshop will last approximately 1.5 hours.

Location: The Story of Books, 20 Castle Street, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DF, Wales

Cost: £10 per person

We are also offering the same workshop for schools at a flat rate of £100 per session for up to 12 students (workshop suitable from Year 5 upwards). 





Lizzie Harper’s ‘Book Worker’s Table’ at The Story of Books