UPDATE (6 AUG) Only One Of Me

Lisa Wells and her daughters Ava-Lily and Saffia

Hi everyone! Firstly: THANK YOU for reading, donating (you can do so here) and sharing. THANK YOU for your lovely messages and for your offers of support. Lisa and I have both been overwhelmed (and at times both a little tearful – in a good way).

Special thanks to each and every illustrator who got in touch to offer their time and expertise to bring Only One Of Me to life. We considered every submission, of which there were hundreds.

**Understatement alert** There’s a lot to consider when you’re making a picture book, and finding the right illustrator is just the beginning. We needed someone who would:-

  • Get to work straight away (not easy for a professional illustrator – they book up months in advance and their schedules are chock-a-block)
  • Work quickly and confidently (experience is a key factor there)
  • Happily take direction (again, experience helps – it’s all part of the writer and artist’s profession)
  • Bring their own ideas to the project
  • Enjoy an almighty challenge (it’s normal to have several months to complete a job like this and to take time planning every page before even thinking about final, finished art)
  • Understand the particular sensitivities involved in creating a book for children who are facing the loss of a parent
  • Potentially be just as strong at creating animal characters as human ones – more on that now…

We will be producing a Mum version AND a Dad version of Only One Of Me. Naturally, mums tend to look different to dads, so we need to consider our options. Two entirely different sets of artwork would mean taking twice as long, and a lot more work for one illustrator. Could we use one illustrator drawing just one set of gender-neutral animal characters that could be used for both versions? Possibly. But is animal characters the right way to go from a clinical perspective? Depends on the age of the child affected.

We’re still debating this – but won’t spend long doing so. Time is tight. Thankfully our options are open: we’ve taken on two illustrators! 

Tim Budgen: talented AND lovely – BRAVO!

Catalina Echeverri: Also talented and lovely! BRAVO AGAIN!


Massive love and respect to Tim Budgen and Catalina Echeverri !

Their submissions came in very early in the process. They were both heartfelt and sincere and showed the one thing upon which this project relies: love and goodwill in spades.

Rainy Day, © Catalina Echeverri

Catalina said, “Being a mum of a little one and having friends who have battled with cancer it is a story that touches my heart profoundly. I feel so privileged to be chosen by you and especially by Lisa who is the reason this is all even happening In the first place.”

How Bears Came To Be © Tim Budgen

Tim added, “I’d be delighted to help. My mother had bowel cancer which led to lung cancer so I’m more than happy to help. Let’s really make something truly wonderful.”

That’s exactly what we’re going to do – and we’re going to share the process with you. I’ll be blogging here as the project progresses.

I know a lot of you will be following this story not just because of Lisa’s remarkable magnetism but also to gain an insight into the picture book publication process. I can’t state strongly enough that this project is CRAZY UNUSUAL!

You don’t normally aim to make a picture book in just a few weeks. You normally have a large team coordinating everything as you go – and a budget!

Could you stop work for a month, unpaid without serious repercussions? I doubt it! Thanks to your donations we’ll be able to cover costs and help our illustrators pay their bills while they give their lives over to this project for the next few weeks.

Tim and Catalina will be burning the midnight oil to get this done. They will doubtless have times of frustration and anxiety, not to mention jaundice from not seeing daylight, severe wrist cramp and stiff necks! I’ll be mopping their brows, sending coffee and basically cheering them along. I hope you’ll join me in sending them your love and encouragement along the way!

Watch this space for more updates, including that all important decision on animal/human characters. We’re having a team Skype call early this week. It might be a record breakingly long call!

Please continue to share our story to help make noise about #OnlyOneOfMe – you are our publicity team!

Thank you again – I’m waving my cheerleading pompoms at you, Tim and Catalina!

Michelle x