Sean uses claytime to find inspiration for book illustration

Sean Beech with his son, James, nine, at home with his books and plasticine figures.

Picture: Habibur Rahman (171461-895)
Sean Beech with his son, James, nine, at home with his books and plasticine figures. Picture: Habibur Rahman (171461-895)

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WHEN Sean Beech decided to write books to encourage children to read, he was unsure how to illustrate them.

The father-of-three wanted his stories to help children who were not keen on reading to discover a love of books.

Frankisaur by Sean Beech. Picture: Amazon

Frankisaur by Sean Beech. Picture: Amazon

In his former job as specialist reading teacher, Sean helped children who struggled when it came to books. A technique he learnt was to get them interacting with the stories by making the characters out of clay.

So, when it came to his own books he wanted to use the same technique for the pictures.

Sean, from Waltham Chase, said: ‘I have worked with a lot of children that struggled with reading for various reasons.

‘Some children want to be hands-on and for them, sitting down and reading can be boring.

‘So, we get them to make the characters with clay and act the book out. That seems to work.

‘With the books I wrote, I wasn’t sure on how to illustrate them. It can be hard to find an artist who is on the same wavelength in terms of images.

‘One day, I read the books to my children and got them to create the characters with clay.

‘We then took pictures of them and used them to illustrate the books.

‘It worked great and it means when other children read the book, they will see the characters were designed by young people too and will know they can recreate them.’

One of the first books to be illustrated in this way was Frankisaur, based on a dinosaur character which his son James, aged nine, made.

Sean added: ‘James loved it and he likes seeing his creations in the book.

‘It was fun to get the whole family involved with my eldest Tamara, who is 18, making some of the trickier characters and my three-year-old Rowena also getting involved.’

Sean has had five books published so far and said he has more ideas for future stories. The books are available to buy electronically and in paper form from Amazon by searching Sean Beech.