Lollies 2023: Illustrator of the Year Shortlist Q&A
Hear from the creators of our superbly silly titles in the Illustrator of the Year Shortlist for the Laugh Out Loud Awards 2023!
We sat down with Liz Pichon (LP), author and illustrator of the Tom Gates series and Dapo Adeola (DP), illustrator of We’re Going to Find the Monster! and My Dad is a Grizzly Bear to ask them all about her shortlisted works, and why funny books are so important.
Congratulations on being shortlisted for the Laugh Out Loud Awards 2023! How does it feel to have your work recognised by the judges?
LP: I’m extremely happy! All the other authors and illustrators are brilliant too, so being in their company is very special. So a big thanks to the judges and The Lollies.
DP: I’m very honoured to be up for Illustrator of the Year. It’s a bit surprising to be honest because I don’t quite see my work as the “funny haha” type, but I’m really glad people seem to get some joy from it lol.
Why do you think funny books are important?
LP: Funny books get children reading for PLEASURE and who doesn’t like a good laugh?
DP: Because there are more than enough books out about serious things. Not only should there be balance, but laughter and humour is just as important in literature for all ages.
Can you tell us more about your books?
LP: My main character is a boy called Tom Gates, who likes drawing, doodling and annoying his grumpy sister Delia. Tom is based on me when I was a kid. He gets easily distracted by caramel wafers and wishes he had a dog. Luckily his best friend and next door neighbour has a dog called Rooster, so that helps. The books are packed with funny drawings and lots of different fonts to help tell the stories. I like to write about small funny details of school and family life. I like to think my books helped to start a whole genre of middle grade books with lots of pictures in them.
DP: I don’t have a particular book on the shortlist as I’m up for Illustrator of the Year, but my journey so far has been short and pretty full of awesome moments.
Why should children vote for you?
LP: If they voted for me I would do a SPECTACULAR celebratory doodle, be unbelievably jolly, perky and LEAP in the air while doing some impressive joyous dancing. But don’t let that put you off voting. We want EVERYONE to get involved and take part.
DP: Honestly, I don’t know lol. Can I say “because I want to win?” I can’t think of a reason other than because they like my work. So if you do enjoy my work, then please throw me a vote.
What would you say to anyone hoping to one day write or illustrate their own book?
LP: Keep reading, keep drawing and writing your own stories. So many authors I know took a long time to get published, if you really want to do it, don’t give up! Write about things that interest you, finish your stories off and then read them aloud. Keep a diary too – it’s a great way to get into the habit of writing every day and you will forget things. A diary helps you to remember stuff with dates.
DP: It’s the BEST thing you’ll ever do, so start TODAY. Experiment a lot. There’s no such thing as a bad drawing or text, only lessons you’ll hopefully learn from and grow. Enjoy the journey.
Don’t forget to read the shortlisted books and vote for your favourites!Cast your vote
Buy the shortlist
We're Going to Find the Monster!
You Can Draw Tom Gates with Liz Pichon
Tom Gates #20: Happy to Help (eventually)
My Dad is a Grizzly Bear
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam
- Supertato: Night of the Living Veg
- I Spy Island 2