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In The Studio with Beatrice Blue

last updated 20 May 2021

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Author-illustrator Beatrice Blue’s work has been translated into more than 10 languages so far and she was nominated for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2020 for Once Upon a Unicorn Horn (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books).

We caught up with Beatrice to talk about her process, her approach to work and her inspiration.


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My Love of Stories


Telling stories is something I’ve been in love with ever since I was a child. For years now I’ve been enjoying both writing and illustrating them, at the same time as working in the animation industry.

Stories are everywhere I go; in the past, the present, the impossible and the hypothetical. It feels like an endless ocean where time pauses and I can just swim, and I love that.


title Evolution of artwork


My Inspiration


I’m inspired by authors like Barrie, Roald Dahl, Kipling or Neil Gaiman among so many others. They continue to inspire me every day.


Beatrice’s artistic process



My Approach


With Once Upon a Unicorn Horn my aim was to keep a folktale mood while adding a colour narrative to it which, together with the design, would make a nice modern neo-pourquoi tale about the creatures we apparently know so much about.


title Character sketches for June from Once Upon a Unicorn Horn



My Work


title Books by Beatrice Blue


My aim for Once Upon a Unicorn Horn, as well as the two following books (Once Upon a Dragon’s Fire and Once Upon a Mermaid’s Tail) was to encapsulate certain values that would go together with a folktale story.


title Sketch versus final artwork for Once Upon a Mermaid’s Tail

title Theodore character sketches versus final artwork


I wanted to reinvent magical creatures from a different perspective, while talking about important social, environmental and emotional aspects.



My Process


title Different approaches: traditional and digital


I use both traditional and digital media. Exploring all the different textures and outcomes from each media is fascinating to me. I also get easily bored most times and tend to experiment with what I have handy.


Beatrice’s character detailing process



Art as a Passion


I love every single stage of making picture books, but the ones I enjoy the most are storytelling with colour, and building the story itself.


title Colour development for Once Upon a Dragon’s Fire

title Colour development for Once Upon a Unicorn Horn

title The emotional transitions in Once Upon a Unicorn Horn


I usually start with the story but having some of the visual elements already in mind, I build up around that. Seeing the final book after all the hard work from the whole team is so satisfying - and addictive!


title The evolution of a cover


I hope to bring many more stories into the world in the years to come.


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title A selection of spreads from Once Upon a Mermaid’s Tail


Beatrice Blue is represented by Arabella Stein — to work with Bearice please contact Arabella. You can find out more about Beatrice here.

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