Amanda Quellin

Master of Children's Book Illustration

Contact student

NB. Views and opinions of students in the degree show are their own and do not represent the views of the University.

I have been a professional scenic artist and set designer for over 20 years, running my own company ‘Artifex,’ producing large scale artwork for television film and theatre. I am also involved in a number of public arts projects, most recently for ‘Wild in Art’, painting sculptures for Manchester, Nottingham and Newcastle. Over the last few years I have become increasingly interested in the powerful art of storytelling, which is an inherent in human culture. Children’s literature in particular, has the ability to influence the mindset and actions of the next generation. In today’s society, mental health issues are at the forefront of both the political and educational agenda, particularly amongst young people and it was whilst delving into this area of study that I developed the ideas for my first two books, ‘The Toy Horse’ and ‘Smile’.

‘The Toy Horse’, is about a broken wooden horse, abandoned in a junk shop, who aspires to live “wild and free” and be as beautiful as a real horse. He embarks on an adventure during which he meets various characters along the way who help him appreciate his own unique qualities. Ultimately, after meeting a real horse he realises that living outside in all weathers isn’t as glamorous as he’d imagined and returns home a wiser, more grateful and happier horse. The story is ultimately about teaching children the importance of kindness, empathy and gratitude.

‘Smile’, is a book based on cognitive behavioural therapy for children and is to help children develop a positive mindset. It is the story of a depressed and unhappy hare who is encouraged by a wise owl to change his thinking. It is based on the Buddhist philosophy that your thinking affects actions, behaviour and ultimately character.