Q&A with Bedtime Story Competition 2018 Illustrator Sara Sanchez

The brilliant Sara Sanchez will be bringing our Bedtime Story Competition 2018 winner's story to life by providing the illustrations for the book. The competition this year is open to UK children aged between 5-11 and stories must be between 200-800 words on the theme of imagination. The winner will then see their story turned into a real picture book, published by Little Tiger and sold exclusively through us at Book People. 

Sara answered a few questions for us about how she decides what characters should look like, her advice on developing characters and what she'd love to see in this year's winning story. 


1) How do you create the characters for a picture book?

The first thing I do is read the text. This helps me to understand the mood of the story and gives me a sense of the characters' personalities.

2) What goes in your sketchbook?

The first thing I try to do is portray the personality of the character. Most of the time, I start by sketching the face or a movement that really represents how they behave and interact with the world. Later, I can add the details.

3) Do you get an idea of what the characters will look like as soon as you read a story?

Yes! I work with really great authors so it is easy from their text to get an accurate idea about how the characters should look. Of course I also tend to add details of my own, because I think that the illustrator should always add some ideas to the characters and the story.

4) What advice would you give to young writers developing their characters?

Try to do things differently. Do not fall into cliches, just try to put your own ideas into what you are doing. Try to develop interesting side characters. Those are the ones that really add flavour to your story. If you have interesting side characters the story will be much richer.

5) Why are you excited to be a part of Book People's Bedtime Story Competition?

What really excites me is to get feedback on my art, so I can really know that what I do connects with my audience. I'm looking forward to working with a brand new young storyteller and can't wait to see what talent we find.


6) With the theme being imagination, what things would you like to see in the stories?

Something outside the box. I am tired of the regular stories and characters. We don't need princesses in peril anymore. I would prefer a princess with a huge sword saving the kingdom. I would love to draw a story about a prince wearing pink clothes that has to learn how to dance.

7) What's your favourite bedtime book?

When I was a child, my father, instead of reading me a book, created new stories for me. He made up really fantastic stories in which my sisters and I were the protagonists. I would love to go back in time and draw one of his stories.

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

Max from Where the Wild Things Are. He would bring out my wild side, and I am sure I would be running around and climbing trees with him.

9) Did you have any imaginary friends?

I have 4 brothers!! I did not have time enough to have imaginary friends! 

10) What's your favourite word?

I cannot decide between DREAM or FLY!

11) Tell us something we don't know about you...

I am a ninja-illustrator! I hide in the shadows with my pens and pencils just waiting for the right moment to strike! I am really a shy person. I feel nervous when I have to show others my work.


Don't forget the competition closes on the 29th October so you don't have long to get your entries in now. We can't wait to read the winning story and look forward to seeing it as a real picture book, complete with Sara's illustrations!