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Where I work: Elys Dolan

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This is the latest instalment in an occasional series of blogposts, in which some of our authors and illustrators share their favourite writing spots. Today Elys Dolan, author and illustrator of Weasels, takes us inside her writing shed…

When I’m writing or illustrating I’m wisely banished to the shed in the garden so that the other occupants of my house are not bothered by the occasional shouts of ‘mwaha! I am a picturebook genius!’ when I think things are going well, or the sound of gentle weeping when things are not.

If I’m honest it is a fairly palatial shed and the weeping is only very occasional. I have tidied my desk (yes this is tidy) for the sake of this blog because if my mother sees it in its usual paper and cake crumb covered state I’ll be in trouble. As you can see I have various essentials surrounding me such as the ubiquitous flashy laptop and graphics tablet, many hundreds of coloured pencils and mini henry hoover. It is also important to note that in an arrangement that I believe conforms strongly to the rules of feng shui the tea point is directly behind me so I don’t need to get out of my swivelly chair to concoct a hot beverage.

Essential to the creative process as all this is, it pales in comparison to having certain friends and supporters around to aid me. Before I continue I think it’s important to point out that authors and illustrators inevitably spend a lot of time alone and essentially make stuff up for a living. Therefore, firstly, you can go many hours without seeing a real person, and secondly, I dare anyone to live this lifestyle without becoming a little odd.

So without further ado I’d like to introduce you to my posse.

On the left meet Sargent Dave: Military Monkey seen wearing his medal of honour. He is my enforcer and main source of motivation. Never have I missed a deadline under the watchful eye of Dave. Next you can see Jumper Monster on the right, whose more louche attitude reminds me of freedom of creativity and provides both comfort and solace. He’s also really, really furry. Lastly in the foreground there’s the Rainbow Dinosaur Parade who, frankly, are there just for fun.

You can take a look inside Weasels below or order the book online for half price from Foyles here.

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  • You may go many hours without seeing a real person, but real snakes and monkeys are sure to pass your window in that rain forest garden! Cool view.

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