books · Drawing · How to draw animals · Reading and Literacy

How to create new characters – Meet Penni and Benni

Lots of watercolour painting in this video as I introduce the characters and concept of my new project – Penni and Benni.

This has been a long time coming and I’m going to use my new characters, Penni and Benni, to explain lots of things about character design and illustration.

It started with a book idea, but the characters have changed and developed and grown with me over the years and I have now decided to get them launched.

Starting with their Website – – and their instagram

In this video I show you how I draw and paint Penni and Benni whilst chatting and explaining some of what the project is all about.

There will be more about Penni and Benni in the coming weeks as I love towards launching them as a picture book kickstarter project.

Make sure you are subbed on the website here on YouTube and on instagram for updates.

Drawing · People

I’ve been made into a character!

I’ve been turned into a story character!

How can this be you ask?

I’m asking the same thing!

I had a text last night from Adam Frith who is a Creative writer from Manchester, starting a degree in animation in September 2017.

Adam has been writing something major and epic, that I can’t tell you about, but apparently I’ve inspired a character – The King’s Master of Art – apparently a minor character but a catalyst in the major part of the plot!

Sounds fascinating. I can’t wait to see how this progresses and what my alter ego gets up to!

I shall keep you informed. Meanwhile why not follow Adam on Twitter to keep up to date with what it’s all about?


How to create characters for illustrations

Ever wondered how to create characters for illustrations? Shoo has illustrated hundreds of children’s books for major publishers.

In this video he shows his thought process as he redesigns a character he is not happy with in one of his Scaredy Cats stories.

Is there a secret to designing characters? Endless drawing and refining is the answer.

You can copy anime or disney styles, but your work will always look like any other animal or disney work.

Don’t copy, assimilate. Bring the best of other styles into your style. That way you will slowly build up as style that is unique and all your own – a bit like handwriting.

The illustration in the book comes from Scaredy Cats, which Shoo has successfully funded on Kickstarter. Click  if you would like to find out more.