Neal Layton's Advice for Aspiring Young Authors

We were delighted to interview the brilliant children's illustrator and author, Neal Layton, to discuss friendship, story-writing and perfect pictures! Find out what the first character he ever created was, how he turns words into illustrations, and some important advice for aspiring young authors...

Alt Text

Illustrator Questions

1) What inspired you to become an illustrator?

The stories my dad used to read to me each night in bed: the William books, Biggles books, Enid Blyton adventures, Rupert the Bear annuals - it was always a mix of stories and pictures that appealed to me most.

2) What was the first character you created?

When I was five, I made up a story called 'Space Cat'. I wrote the whole book out twice and stapled two copies together: one for me, and one for my dad!

3) How do you turn words into illustrations?

For me, it's not so much about turning words into illustrations, but more about drawing the ideas and feelings that the words conjure up inside me when I read them.

4) What's your favourite thing about being an illustrator?

Ink!

5) What do you think makes a great bedtime story?

That feeling of being cosy and snug and safe in bed, but venturing out in your imagination to somewhere else...

6) If you could give our young writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Write about your interests, your ideas, your dreams... whatever is inside of the real you. If you manage to get it on paper, you are a true author!

Alt Text

Quick Fire Questions

What's your favourite bedtime storybook?

The Magic Bed by John Burningham.

If you could be best friends with anyone from a book, who would it be?

Frodo Baggins.

Did you have an imaginary friend growing up?

Sometimes sticks I collected from the countryside would become dragons.

What's your favourite word?

Hiss-clunked. That might be two words... I'm not sure! I use it a lot in my Tony Spears books when he is on board his spaceship.

Who's your best friend? What makes them so good?

My wife - she inspired me to become an artist!

Tell us something we didn't know about you...

I used to skateboard and once represented the UK at a World Cup Race in Switzerland. I came 72nd out of about 75 riders. It was never going to be a career choice for me.

Check out our range of Neal Layton books to see why they're so popular with kids!

  • AGYTC
    Neal Layton
    • £6.89
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £0.10Save 1.0000000000000000621724893790087662637233734130859375%
    'Layton's wildly exuberant illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment to the four legged narrator's refreshing brand of humour' The Guardian A completely topsy-turvey view of a world seen from a dog's eye point of view - a very funny story which turns to real drama when the little girl gets lost on the beach and the search is on to find her ...
  • ARGDG
    • £4.49
    • RRP £4.99
    • Save £0.50Save 10.00%
    There's not much worse than having to go back to school after the holidays. Except perhaps if you return and there's graffiti all over the school! And then a flea epidemic! Things are getting pretty hairy for the students of the Mammoth Academy. The heaviest snowfall in history means lots of hungry humans and soon the Academy is surrounded. How will they get out of this one?
  • AJDGX Toddlers
    Toddlers
    • £5.89
    • RRP £5.99
    • Save £0.10Save 1.0000000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125%
    This is a delightfully fun first concept book from the acclaimed Neal Layton, designed to encourage early development. Designed to stimulate early development and literacy by describing everyday routines in a funny and accessible way, this first concept Baby Walker title from the acclaimed author/illustrator Neal Layton is a joy to share together. Googly eyes on the front cover and a transforming flap surprise at the end will be sure to grab any baby or toddler's attention and bring a smile to their face. Neal's daughter, Betsy, co-wrote this book. Googly eyes on the front cover for a truly interactive experience. Transforming flap surprise on the final spread reveals the hilarious child's perspective. See also, This Is Me! Eating! (9781406349443).
  • AJDGW Babies
    Babies
    • £5.89
    • RRP £5.99
    • Save £0.10Save 1.0000000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125%
    This is a delightfully fun first concept book from the acclaimed Neal Layton, designed to encourage early development. Designed to stimulate early development and literacy by describing every day routines in a funny and accessible way, this first concept Baby Walker title from acclaimed author/illustrator Neal Layton is a joy to share together. Googly eyes on the front cover and a transforming flap surprise at the end will be sure to grab any baby or toddler's attention and bring a smile to their face. Neal's daughter, Betsy, co-wrote this book. It features Googly eyes on the front cover for a truly interactive experience. Transforming flap surprise on the final spread reveals the hilarious child's perspective. See also This Is Me, Dressing Up! (9781406349436).
  • AUKLE
    • £7.19
    • RRP £7.99
    • Save £0.80Save 10.00%
    Perfect for every child who has ever dreamed of travelling to space...Making new friends is never easy, but seems impossible when Tony moves to a new town and school mid-term. But when he finds a round red button hidden in a cupboard, all his worries are forgotten. The button transforms his dull kitchen into a spaceship, called The Invincible. There's nothing more exciting than cruising the universe for adventure, but what about school and his mum? Tony Spears' epic-galactic-space-adventures and his earthly life begin to converge. The universe is in danger, 'Sports Morning' is looming at school and Tony's mum won't have a messy kitchen! Will Tony find a way to save the universe, and also deal with the difficulties in his 'real' life? Inspired by Tim Peake and Major Tom ...
  • BDSY 3 years +
    3 years +
    (6)
    • £4.99
    • RRP £11.99
    • Save £7.00Save 58.0000000000000017053025658242404460906982421875%
    The winner of Book People's Bedtime Story Competition 2016, Isabel Harris' The Moon Man is an exciting book and truly is one of a kind. It tells the tale of two sets of animal friends who view a scarecrow in very different ways...

    We asked children aged between 5 and 11 to let their imaginations run wild and write a picture book of between 200 and 800 words based around animals. This fantastic story, chosen by a panel of celebrity parents and publishing experts and illustrated by Ada Grey, is the judges' favourite and is perfect for reading at bedtime.

    Sold exclusively at BookPeople.co.uk, proceeds from this book will be donated to Action for Children, a UK charity which provides vital services, support and campaigns for disadvantaged children, young people and their families.
  • AZMTV 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £6.89
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £0.10Save 1.0000000000000000621724893790087662637233734130859375%
    A delightful picture book with a wonderful twist which encourages young children to think about the way animals and humans live side by side. The tree. Home to a family of birds in their nest, squirrels in their drey and rabbits in their burrow. But what happens to the animals when a man and woman decide to cut it down and use it for their dream house? Can the tree be home to both the animals and the humans? A simple yet fun and distinctive picture book, with a strong environmental message about the importance of respecting animal habitats, by the award-winning Neal Layton.