HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Illustration Inspiration: Simone Lia, Author-Illustrator Of They Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School!

Illustration Inspiration: Simone Lia, Author-Illustrator Of They Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School!

The Children’s Book Review | February 14, 2018

Simone Lia is a graphic novelist and a comics artist, and her work has been exhibited across Europe, including at the Tate Britain. She lives and works in London.

I make art because …

I’m very thankful that I’m able to make pictures and stories as a job, there’s no other job that I’d rather do. I do what I do for the reader to enjoy, it doesn’t matter if they are a small child or 101 years old. I hope my stories make the reader laugh or that they feel a connection with the character.  If I can warm the readers heart, even if it’s just for a moment then that makes me very happy.

My latest published book is …

They Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School

Art medium used …

Pen and ink, felt-tip pens, Photoshop

Simone lia drawing implements
Artistic process …

I spend a lot of time thinking about the story a long time before putting pen to paper. I imagine the characters going about their everyday business and I see it all in my mind as if I’m watching a film.  When it comes to writing and drawing I try my best to capture the essence of what I’ve seen in my mind. It starts with very scrappy notes and scribbles that perhaps no one other than me can understand.  I use a 0.9 Pentel pencil, it’s my favourite thing to draw with and have had it since I was nine years old.  I used to have a bad habit of chewing pen lids and caps when I was little, you can see the chew marks on the metal cap from when I’d get stuck on maths problems at school.

Simone Lia sketches

I am inspired by …

This varies all the time.  The last few months my biggest inspirations have come from conversations with friends, family, and even complete strangers. I very much like talking to people of all ages and backgrounds, and when I’m making work my favourite thing is showing friendships and the everyday ups and downs that life brings.

My favorite place to create & illustrate is …

When I’m writing the story I like to find different places to work in. It could be the kitchen, or somewhere busy like a library or a cafe or even a park. I get so absorbed by writing the story that I forget where I am and it’s a bit of a surprise when I look up and see people going about their business around me in a cafe or a library. But when it comes to illustrating, there’s no place I’d rather be than in my studio. I have a room at home that I use. It has shelves with my favourite books, potted plants, a window where I can look out above the rooftops at the sky, drawers of paper and a row of old jam jars on a shelf where I keep my pens and paintbrushes.  Everything I need is in the studio.

Simone Lia studio
My most used art supply or tool is …

I make lots of drawings on the computer and use a Wacom tablet. It’s a bit like drawing with a pencil or pen except for the artwork is on a screen instead of on paper. For my ink drawings I use an old fashioned dip pen.

Illustrator idols …

At the moment, it’s Katherina Manolessou.  I’ve got a nine-month-old baby and we love looking at Katherina’s picture books together.  The drawings are really imaginative and beautiful and my daughter is captivated by the artwork.  She also likes chewing the book, it must taste very nice. Other artists are David McKee and Tomi Ungerer because they illustrated the books that I loved when I was a child.

All-time favorite children’s book I didn’t illustrate…

At the moment its Mummy and Me by Katherina Mannolessou, I have read it many many times and love it a little bit more each time.  My long-time favourite is Corduroy by Don Freeman.  I had that book as a young girl and loved it, it was about a bear in a shop who was waiting to be bought.  It’s the most heartwarming story with illustrations that you can imaginatively step into.  It still melts my heart when I read it today.

A literary character to create art with …

Snoopy.  I love that dog and I imagine he would have very unique ideas.

Currently working on …

The sequel to They Didn’t Teach This at Worm School!  I also write and draw a weekly newspaper strip for The Observer.

Connect with Simone Lia …


they-didnt-teach-this-in-worm-school-simone-liaThey Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School

Written and Illustrated by Simone Lia

Publisher’s Synopsis: A hungry chicken (who thinks he’s a flamingo) and a quick-thinking worm set off on a madcap adventure — and forge an unlikely friendship.

Marcus is a worm, and a bird named Laurence who looks very much like a chicken is about to eat him for breakfast. So what does Marcus do? He strikes up a conversation, of course! But even after talking his way out of being eaten, Marcus’s troubles are just beginning: soon he is clinging to Laurence’s neck as the designated navigator on an absurd journey to Kenya, where his feathered companion dreams of finding happiness with other flamingos like himself. Except Marcus can’t actually read a map, and this bird is clearly not a flamingo. Will Marcus be able to get them both to Africa — or even manage to survive the day? Filled with kid-friendly illustrations, this is a buddy comedy that will have readers wriggling with laughter.

Ages 7-9 | Publisher: Candlewick | 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763695361

Available Here: 

Discover more chapter book illustration inspiration and books like They Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School!, written and Illustrated by Simone Lia, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our Illustration Inspiration series and articles tagged with , , and .

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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