children’s book

Cinderella and Resilience

Today I’m introducing the latest two books I had the pleasure of working on. Both have really meaningful and empowering messages and one determined and brave main character.



What if Cinderella solved her own problems? What if she didn’t have to be saved by a prince to deal with the stepfamily that chose to be mean to her? This revised fairytale is created by Imaginare Studios, a media company working on solving the confidence gap between men and women by targeting the content we read as very young children, using emotional developmental milestones as a guide. These emotional milestones are reflected in this revised classic for modern children; our young protagonist, Danielle, learns to address her challenges in relationship with her stepsisters, but in doing so creates her own adventure that has nothing to do with being saved by a prince!

Written by Kali Bhandari and published in April 2018 by Imaginare Studios, the book is now available at Amazon and Book Depository.

Here’s a little about Imaginare Studios: Our vision is to create content for young children focused on emotional developmental milestones with the goal of building self-confidence. After research into gender roles, confidence, and child development, what we have learned is that children’s most emotionally formative years are ages 0-5, but most confidence-building materials are focused on ages 10+. These materials miss the most powerful developmental opportunity. We propose to solve that problem by providing content to young children that focuses on major emotional and psychological milestones for young children, namely attachment, autonomy and the ability to self-soothe, emotional capacity and social values.

So happy to see that Cinderella is being so well received. ♡

The goal of this book is to provide an enjoyable story that serves as a mechanism for your child exploring emotional ability, autonomy, and the ability to self-soothe. You may also find that your children, especially older readers familiar with the original version of Cinderella, are immediately inspired to pen their own version after reading!

“As first-time publishers, working with Sofia was like a dream come true. Her beautiful illustrations aren’t just enchanting; they take the story of Danielle, our erstwhile Cinderella, forward in ways that we had not even thought about. As she created the sketches, our own image of Cinderella became clearer; who she was, what motivated her, how a girl of her age would act in a forest; all signs of a true artist. But working with Sofia is not just about her talent with illustrating, it is also all the other things she brings to the table: she became a fourth member of our team as she gently led us through the vagaries of printing, self-publishing, book designing, and thinking about how the story would be laid out for young readers, along with her utter belief in our company’s mission, going above and beyond the call of duty each time.” – Imaginare Studios


Meet Emmi! She is resilient, independent and courageous. She always tries her best, and even when the going gets tough, Emmi never gives in. This charming story uses verse and beautiful illustrations to model resilience, persistence, and the ability to face challenges with tenacity. Children who are resilient are brave, curious, confident and problem solvers. Nurturing these traits in our children will go a long way in helping them face the many challenges they will encounter throughout their lives. Also included are Discussion Questions for parents, caregivers and educators, and suggested activities to promote children’s resilience.

Written by Jayneen Sanders and published by Educate2Empower, the book is available at their website shop, Amazon and Book Depository. It was my second time working with Jay (read more about our first collaboration) and once again it was a pleasure working with her and making her story come to life through Emmi – her adventures made me reminiscence so many childhood moments so I really had a lot of fun illustrating the growth and adventures of this little girl.

If you enjoyed any of this books and share them on social media, be sure to tag me and the authors on your photos – we would love to see them :) Meanwhile, you can follow me on Instagram/Twitter to keep up with latest projects and see works in progress.

You, Me and Empathy

On 15th of June I was finally able to reveal a project that I have been working on since last year with the lovely Jayneen SandersYou, Me and Empathy. Jayneen is an experienced author, publisher, elementary school teacher, mother of three and an active advocate for body safety, gender equality and respectful relationship education both in homes and in schools. Her books aim to educate and empower children, as well as, the adults who care for them, while focusing on themes like body safety, gender equality and consent.

This charming story uses verse, beautiful illustrations and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy. Throughout the story, Quinn shows an abundance of understanding, compassion and kindness towards others. Showing empathy towards others is a learnt trait, and one to nurture and cherish with the children in our care. The book includes a section with discussion questions and activities for parents, caregivers and educators to promote empathy and kindness.

I feel very grateful to have illustrated this lovely project – it was wonderful working on such an inspiring and engaging book and I really enjoyed helping little Quinn come to life. Below is a one of my favorite pages from the book: I loved working on this community garden scene, it reminded me of (more…)

November Roundup


A little roundup of bits and bobs I’ve been up to recently:

– after signing up with my Agency, I’ve been working on some really fun book projects that I can’t wait to share with you. One of them is Christmas themed and I’m currently working on the finals – candy canes, snow, decorations, treats for Santa and a big chunky turkey are all in it!

– I’ve been enjoying illustrating and creating different children’s characters wearing some funky and fun outfits and I’m really happy with all the lovely comments I’ve been getting on them. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ve probably seen some of them. My sketchbook is full of them lining up to get colored so, expect more in the future.

– some new birthday card designs are coming soon and I also have NEW work available for licensing.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Illustrating Picture Books e-course review


Hello everyone!
Today I’m going to talk a little bit about the 5 week e-course I took on ‘Illustrating Children’s Picture Books‘. The course was taught by Sabina Radeva and Denise Holmes and it was the first run of this class at Design Garden.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a background in both communication and graphic design and back when I was studying, I had an entire semester where I was able to attend a class where they covered subjects like illustration, pagination and book design. From there, I’ve continued to learn through online courses, books and the rest came from experience, so when I found out about this course I thought that it would be a good way to refresh the basics and maybe learn something new. I’ve read such great reviews from other Design Garden classes that I knew this would not disappoint – and I was right!

Here’s a little description of the course:
“Have you always dreamed of illustrating Children’s Picture Books? Join Denise and Sabina as we share our experiences and techniques and learn how to develop creative original images for picture books.”

During the course, each week we had video lessons to go through, with step by step technical tutorials, information about a specific topic, mini practice exercises and lots of visual inspiration, so at the end of the lesson, we would be able to complete the main assignment (and if we were able to submit it in time, it would be reviewed during the live sessions).

WEEK 1 – Character development
After picking our story we started to get to know the main characters by doing research and sketching out ideas (they gave us one commissioned from an author, but we could choose to work with a different one. I remained with the one given to us). Below is the moodboard I put together for my characters and story, as well as, some sketches and character development.



Children’s Picture Books e-course


Next month I’ll be taking Design Garden ‘Illustrating Children’s Picture Books’ 5weeks e-course and I couldn’t be more excited for it to start.

The course will be taught by Sabina Radeva and Denise Holmes and it will cover a lot of interesting subjects, from book dummies, character development to agents and publishers. Children’s illustration is one of my biggest passions and earlier this year when I found out about this class I knew it was going to be one that I couldn’t miss.

I’ll be blogging about my experience during the course and if you are interested in joining too, class starts on October 16th and there’s still some places left, at a late bird fee of £228.
Learn more about the class or sign up here.

(image credit: Design Garden)