I was born in Germany and grew up in a small town which had a great button museum. There was also a lot of forest nearby, and a very large motorway.
As a baby I liked books so much that I ate them, and when I found out that there were people making them I decided to make my own, to taste.
Growing up, I spent a lot of my time inventing and making things with my family – sculptures, machines, puppets, theatres, super-8 animations… we’d often go to museums and find new ideas for things to make, and go straight to the hardware store to pick up more materials and tools.
I also wrote and drew adventure stories (my dad typed them up and stapled them into booklets to send to my aunts and uncles).
After finishing school I considered that more people in the world read English than German, and that English sentences are on average a quarter shorter than German ones, and decided that it would be much preferable to write in English.
So I studied English at University while writing Fantasy stories. Then I moved to Cornwall, England, and got some Illustration degrees at Falmouth College of Arts, one of them a Master’s.
I sold my first picture book text(“Adventures of a Nose”, Walker Books) while I was still in college, which was encouraging.
I very much liked living by the sea, and most of my books feature the sea in at least one scene.
But I moved to London anyway.
There I started illustrating as well as writing.
At first I drew fiddly pictures, then I hurt my arm and drew chunky pictures instead. Now I am better again and do both.
My books have been translated into several languages, and I’ve won some awards.
I’m also an associate lecturer on the Illustration BA of Plymouth Uni, and sometimes give lectures and drawing demonstrations elsewhere.
Besides working on some new picture books and novelty books I like to write ghost stories, and when I’ve got time to spare I’m working on an epic adventure series, with maps and languages and all that.
I mostly write on the sofa in the morning, with an extra strong cup of coffee, then I get up and draw during the rest of the day when I’m not out of doors looking at stuff.
I like to do chaotic needlework, including making my own dresses; and I make toys, stuffed ones mostly. They help me think.
I can also tap-dance and I have helped out in a few puppet shows, but mostly I prefer a quiet time, rather.