I am delighted to have been shortlisted for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize again.

“The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize has an established reputation as the UK’s most important annual open exhibition for drawing.”

This time I have been selected for the Working Drawing Prize – drawings for something that can or will be made. In my case, thumbnail drawings / initial ideas for the book cover The Unnamed, by the author L M West.


The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2023 exhibition will open to the public at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London E14 0JY from Friday 29 September to Sunday 15 October 2023 before touring to venues across the UK.


Full wraparound book cover illustration by Sandy Horsley for novel 'This Fearful Thing' by L M west

I’ve recently finished working on a lovely project – a book cover for ‘This Fearful Thing’, by L M West.

Inspired by the true story of Ann Camell, a woman living in Southwold in 1645, who was accused of witchcraft no less than three times.

Laina’s written a great book – you can buy it here.


My ‘Libraries in a Year – Before and During Covid-19’ concertina book has been longlisted in the AOI World Illustration Awards ‘Alternative Publishing’ category – YAY!

The Association of Illustration (AOI) runs the World Illustration Awards every year, in conjunction with the Directory of Illustration, to celebrate the best of the world’s illustration projects.

My entry is a hand-made, hand-printed, concertina artist’s book.

Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for the next stage – wish me luck!


The Libraries in a Year virtual exhibition is now live!

You can visit the exhibition in person and look around at your leisure here.

Here’s a demo video showing inside the virtual exhibition space.

I started on this project in October 2019 and since then I’ve produced over 200 drawings, carved over 90 print blocks, created 13 library relief prints and one giant multistory library digital tapestry print! And that whilst we’ve all been through one global pandemic and several lockdowns…phew!


I am very excited to say that my debut book Selfie was published on 1st September 2020!

Selfie is all about Sylvie the Squirrel’s obsession with selfies. Selfies can be fun, but Sylvie likes selfies a bit TOO much. But that’s ok isn’t it? What could possibly go wrong…?!

You’ll have to read the book to find out, no spoilers here!

Selfie can be purchased online here: UK   US

Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019 – Nature’s Song

I am exhibiting again this year at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, on the Cambridge School of Art stand.

You can find my new book Nature’s Song in area PAD 25, stand B/112.

You can book an appointment if you’d like to see my portfolio.

There will be the usual drinks event at the stand on Wednesday 3rd April from 4:30pm.
See all the lovely CSA books with a glass of wine in hand. What’s not to like!

Nature's Song children's book cover by Sandy Horsley



V&A Illustration Awards 2019 Student Category – Sandy Horsley

The brief for this project was to reimagine Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale, The Wind in the Willows.

I wanted to capture the traditional feel of the book whilst also showing moments of humour, without the illustrations becoming overtly whimsical.

Using a restricted colour pallette, I combined the traditional mediums of pen and ink and monoprinting with digital collage to create the illustrations.

I worked on this project during my final year of the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.

Penguin Random House Write Now programme 2018 – I’m through to the next round!

Sandy Horsley Jack and the Beanstalk Panda Harp

Exciting times! I’ve recently heard that I’m one of 10 illustrators selected to go through to the next round of the Penguin Random House Write Now 2018 mentoring programme.

The Write Now programme was set up to promote under-represented writers and illustrators in books and publishing. This includes, “illustrators and writers from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) communities, writers and illustrators with a disability, or who come from a socio-economically marginalised background”. *

It is worrying that in 2018 there still isn’t the equality or diversity there should be in children’s books. In this recent blog post, I talk about how my awareness was raised about ongoing issues regarding lack of diversity. See this research here and here.

My experience as a working class child, with a colloquial accent, growing up on a council estate in Norwich, was never reflected back at me in any of the books that I read.  My access to books was limited, there weren’t many at home and the local library was off our radar.

The school library was my secret pleasure, where I read stories about characters and heroes that inhabited very different worlds to mine (think Enid Blyton or the Chronicles of Narnia). The escapism of these other worlds was of course enjoyable, but I remember gasping with delight when I came across a book that had a colloquial phrase in it that was used by my family. That experience of recognition and reflection happened only once in my whole childhood of reading, and I still remember the phrase to this day.

The Write Now entry requirements for illustrators was to illustrate the whole story of Jack and the Beanstalk – one finished full colour spread and 11 black and white rough spreads. That was quite a challenge as I came to the competition fairly late. I was also struggling with the whole moral aspect of the traditional story of Jack and the Beanstalk, which to me seemed to be saying: if you’re poor it’s ok to steal…err… I don’t think so!

The story text was pre-determined by Penguin Randon House and couldn’t be changed, so I had to think of a way of using just the illustrations to change the moral slant of the story…which hopefully I did. I’ll get to that in a future post.

So now I’m through to the next round, which is a day’s workshop with Penguin Random House, learning all about the publishing industry and talking through my work. After the workshop a shortlist will be announced and another illustration challenge set. Ultimately a total of 10 writers and illustrators will be chosen (from an original 1700 entries) for the year’s mentoring scheme…*bites nails*…wish me luck!

Sandy Horsley Jack and the Beanstalk Penguin Random House 2018

*As quoted on this Penguin Random House Write Now web page [accessed online 17:10 07.09.2018]