Folio Society Illustration Competition 2019

I really did enjoy this year’s book illustration competition run by the Folio Society/House of Illustration!  Illustrators were tasked with creating three illustrations and a binding design for the beautiful book Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.   The book is nothing like the film by Studio Ghibli, and I watched the film after reading the book.  I preferred the book, as often happens with me when I experience things this way around.

I wasn’t long-listed (again! ho-hum) but I really did learn a lot and I have found a passion for book illustration with this project which previously only simmered away within me.   I can’t wait to see the illustrations when they go live on the House of illustration website tomorrow.  Do read the book if you’re never tried it and well done to all those who were long-listed.

My illustrations can be viewed here.


All images on this website are copyright Heather Whitney 2019.

Gingerbread Anarchy – bring it on!

Happy New Year and plenty of wassailing to you all!  This is the year.

Towards the end of 2017 (yes, 2017) I created some reduction linocut prints of some designs which I called Gingerbread Anarchy.  I then attempted to sell them at an illustration fair at Christmas time, where they received a few smiles, but I received very little money.  This was disappointing, and shook my confidence a little.   And so, I shelved my little gremlins, and they’ve been carefully packed away, in a drawer, protected from the light, water, and general amusement of all, for a year.  However, as 2018 came to a close my attention was drawn to a relief printing competition in Norway, and I felt a pang of failure again that I had so quickly dismissed my little ginger friends and that I was still feeling ‘scared’ of rejection.

This was on New Year’s Eve, and I was watching a programme about the legendary illustrator Raymond Briggs, who said he felt it was important that illustrators draw on what’s inside them when creating their images – and so few illustrators do that these days.  I have not enjoyed shelving part of what is in effect my personality.

I have therefore sent them into the competition, and even if they’re not selected, I have at least tried.  My crazy little ‘sick of Christmas and being eaten’ guys are out there, so watch out 2019.  Bring it on!

Gingerbread Anarchy





What is a reduction linocut?  Check out this page by Illustrator/Printmaker Natalia Moroz


All images on are copyright Heather Whitney 2019

AirBnB – where’s the cutlery?

I really enjoyed this project! I was contacted recently by my friends Frank and Helena in Shoreditch, who run an AirBnB sideline, with a request to put together a few illustrations for their customers.  Occasionally,  people who they have lodged don’t speak English or have had a problem finding necessary bits and bobs while my friends have been out.  These illustrations, put together in watercolour and pen, then arranged using Photoshop, should hopefully enable their paying guests to find the cutlery drawer, the shop around the corner and the cups and glasses more easily.  The chap in the images is one of their hosts, ‘Mini-Frank’.


Sherlock Holmes – Illustration Competition

Here is my entry for the Folio Society/House of Illustration competition 2018.  The book was The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle and we were tasked with producing three illustrations for the stories The Musgrave Ritual, The Man with the Twisted Lip and A Scandal in Bohemia.  We also had to create a binding design ideally in just three colours which could print easily onto a fabric cover – the tradition with Folio Society books.  I wanted to avoid including Sherlock in a deerstalker – I’m not entirely sure he ever wore one in the stories – and when I read a book, especially a well-known one, I don’t like the illustration to be too prescriptive about the appearance of the main character. My illustrations are below.  Unfortunately I didn’t win but thought I’d include them on my site anyway.  I worked mainly with oil on canvas, pen and ink, and some watercolour, then put everything together digitally in Photoshop.  Enjoy!