Vanessa Lees and Helen Mather are a writer and illustrator duo on an intrepid adventure to create imaginative picture books celebrating childhood. The girls met over a decade ago temping in a strange and soulless probation office and swiftly realised two things…one – this was no place for a creative and two – it would take a special kind of friendship to ensure they survived this experience. The pair have been friends and creative collaborators ever since.

Vanessa Lees
I’ve never had a diary, nor worn a watch and I’m pants at making plans. So when I was goaded into making a 10 year plan, it was doubtful whether I would see it into fruition. 5 years on, I have two inspirational children and have self-published my debut children’s book and yes all three conceptions were planned. My one thread of continuity has been writing – as a child, as an English student, as a journalist and now as an author. Whooossshh pays homage to the beautiful beings in my life, my husband Dan and little girl Audrey.   As for my other beautiful being, Barnaby? He is just one book away.

Helen Mather
My love of drawing and obsession with 1950 and 60s vintage children’s books made the offer of illustrating Whooossshh difficult to resist.  Graduating from a Fine Art Painting Degree in 2003, my work has developed into garment making and textile processes. I use found ephemera, old garments and textiles, pattern and collage in my work, incorporating these same processes into the book. I live in Manchester with my Illustrator boyfriend, Kev and our black cat, Gretchen.

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