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Finn meets Liz Pichon
Author + Illustrator

Finn meets Liz Pichon | Kidspiration

Do you ever make drawings on your homework? Or doodles on little pieces of paper? So did Liz Pichon when she was a kid, and today, she’s a famous designer and author.

Liz Pichon writes the Tom Gates books — the ones with the crazy covers and cool stories — and she’s also written and illustrated My Big Brother Boris, My Little Sister Doris, and Beautiful Bananas. Her books have won four big awards so far.

In this Episode, Finn interviews Liz Pichon at a London book shop!



Finn:
Hey. I’m Finn, and today we’re talking with Liz Pichon. She’s the bestselling author of some of my favorite books, the Tom Gates Series.
I can’t wait to find out how she comes up with her stories and how she illustrates her books. Let’s go and meet her.

—-

Hi, Liz. Nice to meet you. Can you tell me a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Liz:
Well, my name’s Liz Pichon and I’m an illustrator, so I illustrate books, and now I write books as well. So I mostly write about a character called Tom Gates.

Finn:
When did you start turning into an author?

Liz:
Well, when I was younger, I never ever thought that I could even write a book. In fact, I had no idea at all how you would even go about it. So I started illustrating other people’s stories.
After I’d illustrated quite a few, I suddenly started to think I’d really like to illustrate funny books, but nobody was giving me funny books to illustrate. And that’s when I thought, well maybe I could write my own.

Finn:
Can you tell the audience a bit about what the Tom Gates series is about?

Liz:
Well, when I was writing about Tom, I wanted to write a book about the kind of things that I remembered used to happen to me when I was that age as well, and about things that happened to my kids.
But, Tom originally started off as being a picture book, so originally it was for much younger children. So I’ve had about three or four goes at writing the different stories, until finally it came together with all the stories about Tom Gates.

Finn:
Do you ever struggle to get published?

Liz:
I think it’s quite difficult to get published, but if you keep on writing stories, then one day something that you – and you show it to the right people – then they might go, “Oh. Fantastic. This is the book that we want.”
But the main thing to do is keep on writing.

Finn:
How do you do the illustrations?

Liz:
Would you like to see one?

Finn:
Yeah.

—-

Liz:
So to start off, you do a circle –

Finn:
I’m not brilliant at drawing circles.

Liz:
No, you don’t have to be – that’s it. And then I’m going to do two little ears, either side.

Finn:
Right in the middle of it?

Liz:
That’s it. That looks like Tom to me. And then two little eyes, dots for eyes. Okay. And a nose.

Finn:
It looks like a smile a bit.

Liz:
Yeah, it looks – and then a big smiley face there. And that’s it. So how do you think we’re going to do the hair, because he has like a –

Finn:
He has that zig zag thing.

Liz:
Yeah. He has like a fancy haircut, so you just –

Finn:
Just like a “Z”.

Liz:
Straight line up there. So if you do a straight line. That’s it. And then go right across there and then you kind of do like an “M”, but only with an extra. So you just go down up, down up. That’s it. Just a little zig zag.

Finn:
Do you have to illustrate every single day?

Liz:
I probably do drawing every single day, yeah. I would say nearly every single day at the moment because I’m doing two books a year, And even when I’m not, because I really enjoy it. I really love doing it.
So I’m always sort of keeping notes – and sometimes I draw on other things, so as you can see, I’ve drawn on my –

Finn:
On your nails.

Liz:
On my nails and –

Finn:
And your… thing.

Liz:
I’ve got my Tom Gates shoes and everything today, so. Perfect.

Finn:
I drew Tom!

Liz:
Hurray!

—-

Finn:
Is Tom based on any one?

Liz:
He’s very much based on me, actually. I write a lot about my Dad as well, because my Dad was very embarrassing. He would pick me up from school wearing really old, dirty jeans.
He’d come straight from the allotment and instead of a belt around his waist, he would –

Finn:
He wore, like, a measuring tape or something.

Liz:
He used to wear a piece of string underneath. So lots of the things I write about like that are based on things that happened to me.

Finn:
What’s your best advice to kids?

Liz:
Don’t worry about making mistakes, because not everything goes right when you first have a go at things. And if you really have got a passion for something, if you really enjoy something – and that’s what you want to do – then stick at it; because, like I said, I’d never thought about being a writer and I think now –

Finn:
And then you ended up being a really famous one.

Liz:
Exactly. So that would be my advice. If you’ve got passion for something, keep at it.

Finn:
Yeah. It was really nice to meet you, Liz.

Liz:
Finn, It was fantastic. I am going to look forward to reading your stories, because I reckon you’ve definitely got a few books inside you.

Finn:
I’ll send them to you.

Liz:
Yeah. I bet you will. [Laughter] Hey, thank you.

Finn:
It was really fun meeting Liz and seeing how she illustrates her books, and actually doing an illustration. It was really fun. See you next time.