I'm often asked "What books did you love when you were younger?" and I'll always respond in the same way: Goosebumps, Harry Potter, The BFG and The Neverending Story.
Those were books that hooked me, that captivated me at various points of my childhood. But when I'm asked "Which books made you want to become a children's book illustrator and author?", the more I think about it, the real answer is actually...none of them.
It was cartoons before it was books, for me. That's what carved out the section in my brain that now stores names and shapes and the rough bones of a character idea. That's where colours and plots and endings are kept, safely waiting for me to use them. Books came later, and the more I read and the more I drew I knew that this was the right choice for me.
My bookshelves are now so crammed, each shelf is three books deep: picture books, middle grade books, young adult books (in truth, I rarely read adult books). I think, over the past 10 years since graduating university and finding myself in a very book orientated world, I'd almost forgotten some of my heroes that helped shape me into the kind of illustrator and author I am. So here it is, an ode to cartoons, without which I may never have found this brilliant job in the first place.