It appears you're viewing content from a territory other than your own — switch territory?

In the Studio with Gareth Conway

last updated 19 November 2021


Since graduating from The Surrey Institute of Art and Design with a degree in animation, Gareth Conway has been working both in children’s animation television and children’s illustration. He lives in Devon with his wife and daughter who he says are his “biggest inspiration and harshest critics in equal measure.”

In this month’s blog, Gareth talks us through his artistic process and approach to Greg the Sausage Roll: Santa’s Little Helper, written by Mark and Roxanne Hoyle, published by Puffin, which is out now!

Hi, I’m Gareth!

I trained as an animator and spent the first 9 years of my career working in an animation studio (and I’ve been freelancing in the animation industry ever since) so I always try to look at my artwork, and particularly my characters, as if they are animated and moving in a 3 dimensional space.

title Character sketches for Greg the Sausage Roll

Working on Educational artwork, puzzle books, fiction or picture books can dictate what style I use for a particular project. Sometimes it’s more flat colour with little shading, sometimes it has an outline, sometimes it doesn’t, it really depends on what the project needs and also what time I have to produce the work. What ever style I choose I always like to put plenty of humour into my work.

title Character sketches for Greg the Sausage Roll

Greg the Sausage Roll was always going to be a funny book (come on, it’s a walking talking sausage roll!) so I had to compliment the humour of the story with some hilarious visuals BUT I also had to make sure it was cute too.

title Character sketches for Greg the Sausage Roll

I always work completely digitally from initial thumbnail sketches to final colour art using Photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq drawing screen, I find this is the easiest and most efficient way to work for me.

title Character sketches for Greg the Sausage Roll


To get the job I created a few sample poses of what I thought Greg would look like and also a colour vignette (which everyone liked so much that after a little tweak it made it into the finished book). These character sketches led into the design of the other characters in the story so I spent time trying a couple of designs for each character and created loose colour charts for them.

title An example of a colour chart for the character of Greg


My first task with any project is to do a thumbnail version of the story where I go through the script and brief and VERY loosely sketch my initial thoughts of the characters, locations and compositions.

title From start to finish


Once approved I can get scribbling on the proper roughs, I tend to produce quite neat roughs, this way the client can see exactly what I’m on about and there is less room for confusion over what a particular squiggle is.

title Another example of a spread in development


The last stage is the artwork, I really enjoy adding colour and texture to my work (usually quite bright, vibrant colour), it helps to give it depth and really brings it to life and for a book like Greg the Sausage Roll I can add lots of Christmassy details and magical sparkles.

The lighting for this book was fun to do. It starts on a winter’s afternoon then moves into early evening and night time. I also had to differentiate between the interiors being lit by Christmas tree lights and the exteriors being lit by the moon and street lights which was great fun to play with.

title A start to finish art process featuring Santa’s new helper!

I also really enjoyed designing the Christmas jumpers for Greg and Gloria, that was a first for me and as someone who adores all things Christmas (especially Christmassy baked goods) this really was a dream job.

For Picture Books, Gareth Conway is represented by Susan Penny — please contact Susan here. You can find out more about Gareth here.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website — see our privacy policy for more.