Can You Ever Have Too Many Carrots?! Behind the Book with Katy Hudson.
last updated 06 January 2017
As a little girl, Katy Hudson took to expressing her artistic flair by drawing on her parents’ freshly emulsioned walls…
They swiftly encouraged her to try paper instead, and it’s from there that her passion for creativity grew. At art school Katy found she had a natural ability for illustration and there began to develop her signature style; now with two published author/illustrated picture books, and a new book due out later this month!
Katy’s picture book Too Many Carrots, published with Capstone — is an inspired tale of Rabbit, and his passion for collecting things — well carrots, to be precise. His carrot-hoarding ways soon become an issue, and there’s a lesson to be learned for Rabbit and his kind and generous friends!
Here’s a bit more about the very lovely Katy and how she created this author illustrated work… LM
What can happen when you have too many carrots… From ‘Too Many Carrots’, by Katy Hudson, Published by Curious Fox Books.
I love this story, it’s charming and also greatly comforting – a journey with a life lesson for Rabbit! What inspired the tale, and what came first, the characters or the story?
Thank you so much, I think the characters came first.
I had been developing the Tortoise character and had an idea of putting another animal in the shell with him. I thought it would make a fun visual and a rabbit seemed about the right size to fit in there with him! Rabbit was developed from this point and we started brain-storming why Rabbit might have ended up in Tortoise’s shell. An obvious move was he needed somewhere new to sleep and the reason was because he had too much stuff in his current home.
The chance to draw an absurd amount of carrots in each scene was far to tempting an idea to let go…
Work in progress! The cover artwork for ‘Too Many Carrots’.
One of the first things my nephew learnt at nursery was to share. It feels like a concept that can’t be overstressed with children — and adults alike! Rabbit can be quite a selfish character in the book but I think he needed to be, as it then opens up a conversation on how he needs to learn to share and empathise with his friends.
Katy’s books: Too Many Carrots, published by Curious Fox; The Runaway Egg, publishing 24th January with Random House; Bear and Duck, published by HarperCollins.
Who or what inspired you to become and illustrator?
Despite constantly writing stories and drawing pictures from books as a child, I can’t remember anything specific. My only plan was to earn a living drawing!
I went to Disney World when I was a child and I remember there being an attraction where you could go into the animation studios and one of the animators did a five minute demonstration on how to draw Mickey Mouse. I looked at his big drawing board, his wonderful collection of pencils and his brilliant, spinny chair! I remember thinking that was all I wanted to do when I grew up — sit at a big drawing board and paint pictures.
By the time I got to art college, I knew I wanted to be an illustrator. It wasn’t until I was with Bright that I believed I could ever write and illustrate for children.
One of Katy’s many picture book events for children.
Did you have a favourite picture book when you were little?
I’m not sure I had a favourite. I loved looking at pictures — anything with a lot of detail. I had a large collection of Beatrix Potter books and loved the Brambly Hedge books by Jill Barklem. I remember reading The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Judith Kerr) a lot, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle) I loved anything by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Each, Peach, Pear, Plum) when I was younger.
Books from childhood, clockwise from top left: The Amiable Guinea-Pig, from Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes, by Beatrix Potter; a scene from Each, Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg; The Brambley Hedge mice by Jill Barklem; Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
What’s your creative process? (I think you work traditionally – which is fantastic as it’s not something so widely practiced now. It might be inspiring for anyone who is still not quite confident with tools such as photoshop)
I’ve always been quite late to the party regarding technology! However I was introduced to photoshop and a scanner at art college and can’t imagine my process without it. I hand draw and paint all the different elements of the picture in watercolour and indian ink, then scan and arrange it all in photoshop. I try to avoid over-editing in photoshop. If I’ve been tinkering too long I’ll often just paint the whole thing again from scratch.
The characters come to life, as Katy documents each progression in her illustrative process.
What advice can you give to budding illustrators?
Be patient, get an agent, keep drawing. Use social media in a productive way. Inspire and delight your audience, don’t mix your artwork accounts with personal ones, or at least, if you do, be professional. Be calm and endeavour to be as organised and motivated as you can possibly be.
An extra note from us:
Since first answering our questions, Katy Hudson’s title Too Many Carrots has sold ten’s of thousands of copies, and was the number-one bestselling children’s book in the US by December 2017 according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks trade sell-through to consumers. It’s reached no #7 book overall in the country. With its follow up title A Loud Winter’s Nap straight in at #2 on the bestseller list!
Cover artwork for A Loud Winters Nap, published by Capstone.
About the book:Every year Tortoise sleeps through winter. He assumes he isn’t missing much. However, his friends are determined to prove otherwise! Will Tortoise go to sleep or will his friends convince him to stay awake and experience the frosty fun of the season? Best-selling author Katy Hudson’s charming picture book will convince even the biggest grouch that winter can be magical if you have friends by your side. Watch the trailer here: