A Visit with Author-Illustrator William Bee

h1 May 19th, 2015 by jules

Where is Stanley going over there? COME BACK, STANLEY. Ah well. He has some mail to deliver, so he’s off.

British author-illustrator and commercial designer William Bee visits 7-Imp today to share some images from two of his 2015 picture books. (Bee visited 7-Imp back in the day for one of my favorite “breakfast” interviews.)

Migloo’s Day, released by Candlewick earlier this year (March), is a search-and-find adventure for young children. Migloo is a dog, and readers follow him throughout a day and busy, detailed spreads, as he explores his community. “There’s definitely a new ‘Busytown’ in town,” writes the Kirkus review. Yes, it’s Richard Scarry-esque and a lot like Busytown on stimulants. It’s good stuff, rendered in Bee’s signature style.

Also, from Peachtree, Bee has his Stanley series for very young readers. Stanley (pictured above, ready to deliver that mail) is a hamster — and the star of this series, which explores occupations in sweet, but never cloying, stories that emphasize friendship and hard work.

Today, William shares some images from the books, including some process shots. I thank him for sharing.


Art from the Stanley books:


William: “[These are] early roughs. Goodness, some of these are ugly. I drew Stanley, as he became, and his friends with the computer mouse. I do not use a tablet. My earlier children’s books were all drawn on paper with a pen. … My team at Jonathan Cape are Sue Buswell, the boss; Andrea MacDonald, editor; and Helen Chapman, designer. Kids’ books are a team effort!
(Audrey Keri-Nagy and Maria Tunney worked on


William: “Shamus and Little Woo are meant to be shrew-like creatures. Once the hamster was working, I used him as a starting point. They got darker, and the child shrew had the extra bit of colour. A lot of young animals have markings
they lose as they get older.”


William: “We found that our original name ‘Harry’ had already been used for a hamster, so here are a few names we tried. [It’s] important to see what they look like.”


William: “In Stanley the Builder, we have a cement mixer. As you can see, it changed quite a bit. The last one (blue) is the actual artwork.”


William: “In each book, preceding the title page,
we have what we call the ‘tool pages.’ For the cafe, shop, and post books,
we do not actually have any tools, of course.”


William: “Stanley has a different job in each book. Garage mechanic, builder, chef, farmer, postie, shopkeeper. We are working on Stanley’s School,
followed (I think) by
Stanley’s Train.”


William: “Here is a finished cover — and the various rough ones.
Things develop quite quickly.”


(Released in 2014)


(Released in March 2015)


(Coming later this year)


Art from Migloo’s Day:


(Click to enlarge)


At the Market
(Click to enlarge)


At the Factory
(Click each to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


Taxi reference
(Click to enlarge)



Test spread lay-out
(Click to enlarge)



* * * * * * *

All images here are used by permission of William Bee.

One comment to “A Visit with Author-Illustrator William Bee”

  1. Love these! My boy is sure to be inspired by this post! (He’s always coming up with characters and vehicles and buildings.) Thanks for the peek at the process!

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