We can't wait to welcome the lovely Holly Sterling this weekend - rising star and award-winning illustrator - as she is let loose in our Studio.

We've loved working with Holly for a number of years now.  Here Holly tells us a little bit about her creative process and the decisions she made when she illustrated for Over the Hills and Far Away - you can ask her more when you pop down to Seven Stories and meet her this weekend.

You might have seen Holly's original artwork in our Rhyme Around the World Exhibition. Photography by Damien Wootten. 

Here's what she has to say: "It was back in 2012, when  I was completing my Masters Degree at Edinburgh College of Art, that I won a national illustration competition run by Seven Stories and Frances Lincoln Children's Books. My winning entry was included in the nursery rhyme collection Over the Hills and Far Away, a special book compiled by Seven Stories co-founder Elizabeth Hammill. I'm sure you all know it well!

The double page spread that I chose to illustrate was based on an African American and a Maori lullaby. After reading the two rhymes over and over again, I had a strong vision of what I wanted to create. I decided to weave the rhymes together in my illustration as they both expressed a similar feeling. I represented the tender relationship between the father and daughter through the shaping and posture of the characters. In order to convey the dream-like quality of the rhymes,  I chose to illustrate the child's tears slowly transforming into the galloping horses from the text. I also made reference to Maori and African art through the patterning on the father's clothing and the horse representation.

Illustration (C) Holly Sterling

On Saturday 9th January I am going to be taking over the Seven Stories Studio space with your help. Together we will create African and Maori inspired art in a printing-making activity, where we can add our designs to a large installation that will grow throughout the day.

I also need your help to create a relaxed reading area fit for a lullaby and fill the space with hanging stars. Look forward to meeting you all there!" Do you think you're up for it? Have a look at all the details on our website.

Holly has her own blog - to find out more click here.

Holly Sterling is a freelance children's author and illustrator based in the North East of England who prefers to work by hand using a variety of different media including watercolour, pencil and different printing processes.  Holly's debut book 15 Things Not to Do With A Baby written by Margaret McAllister has been nominated for the prestigious CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016.