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Shirley and Clara

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Shirley Hughes

3 questions for Shirley from Clara:

What inspired you to write the Dixie O’Day stories?
I am inspired by my own fictional characters: it’s always their personalities and relationships that lead the action. So, when Dixie O’Day and his friend Percy popped up in my imagination, I knew I was on to a winner.

What’s it like having someone else illustrate your texts?
I realised that there was no way I could illustrate these stories myself. But, luckily for me, I knew the ideal artist for the job! All I had to do was to sit back and watch the stories come to life.

Describe a perfect day out for Dixie and Percy!
Their perfect day would probably involve setting off on an adventure in Dixie’s car, with a delicious picnic on board, and getting as far away from Dixie’s tiresome neighbour, Lou Ella, as possible. 

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Clara Vulliamy

3 questions for Clara from Shirley:

What is the most enjoyable part of creating these books?
Sitting at the kitchen table with the author, chatting, laughing and dreaming up new ideas: like Dixie and Percy, we’re a winning combination! When I’m back at my desk, drawing Dixie and Percy is hugely enjoyable, and also the heart-in-mouth action sequences.

Was it fun drawing the vehicles in this book? I never knew you could draw cars!
I couldn’t! The cars I used to draw weren’t very good, and looked more like potatoes on wheels. But I’m learning a lot with these stories, and now the more cars the better – I really love them. The crazy vehicles with a touch of Wacky Races are a lot of fun to invent too.

How did you find using only two colours for the artwork?
I’m very pleased with the stylish retro look of these books, created together with brilliant designer Ness Wood, and a lot of that is down to using only two colours, black and red. It means we can use lots of greys and pinks too. Rather than limiting, I have found it very exciting to work with.

shirley’s website