Feature

Collaboration between student and graduate sees new children’s book hit the shelves

Published on 20 November 2020

A chance connection brought student, Claire Mitchell and graduate Leah-Ann Walmsley-Pledl together to create Mighty Me Adventures with Alf and his Tigersome Tea

On this page
illustrations showing the development of the tiger and how it went from sketches to a full colour drawing

Education MA student Claire first came up with ‘Alf the Mighty Mouse’ on a training weekend with Tayforth Universities Officer Training Corps. Tasked with carrying a heavy backpack on an exercise, Claire imagined a mouse carrying out her task instead.

 

an image of claire standing in front of water with a railing behind her
“I thought of a mouse character carrying the heavy stuff I was carrying. When I found the task difficult, it was the thought of this mouse which helped me overcome it. I am studying Primary School education and at the time we were looking at children’s books. We had also been encouraged to start a blog in our first year which got me into creative writing. These experiences inspired me to have a shot turning my mouse into a story and see if it goes anywhere”

Claire Mitchell

After finishing her book in the Union café, Claire brought her ideas to Olympia Publishers who were interested in taking it forward. The next step was to find an illustrator to bring her characters to life. It was a friend who pointed Claire to Illustration graduate Leah-Ann. After they got in touch, they soon found out that they both studied at Dundee. This helped them with the creative process.

“It was really nice when we discovered that we were both in Dundee as we could then meet up in person. Getting the book together became a real collaboration, a lot of bouncing ideas off each other and brainstorming”, said Leah-Ann.

“It was very much between the disciplines of illustration and education”, said Claire, “It definitely opened my eyes to the fact that you can learn so much more from someone with different knowledge to you.  That’s why the teamwork projects that Dundee offers are really important”.

Story and illustration came together and the book was published in September 2020. Mighty Me Adventures with Alf and his Tigersome Tea is a tale of adventure, imagination and one mouse’s aim to find the ideal cup of tea. It can be found in Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smiths and half the profits are going to the UK charity, Help the Heroes. They would love for people to buy, read and review the book.

For Leah-Ann, this book has changed her mind about the type of illustration she will progress with. She had already studied children’s illustration in her third year but hadn’t any intentions of carrying this forward after graduation.

a student on graduation day with arms in the air and a certificate in her hand
“Illustrating Mighty Me Adventures showed me that I really enjoyed children’s illustration. I feel that my style really suits it well and the book has been really good for my portfolio especially as I am now open to clients who are looking for this type of work. I am now working on a Christmas card range in the illustrative style of a children’s book. It’s really great to use all the knowledge that I learnt on the course in a real life situation”

Leah-Ann Walmsley-Pledl

 

“Illustrating Mighty Me Adventures showed me that I really enjoyed children’s illustration. I feel that my style really suits it well and the book has been really good for my portfolio especially as I am now open to clients who are looking for this type of work. I am now working on a Christmas card range in the illustrative style of a children’s book. It’s really great to use all the knowledge that I learnt on the course in a real life situation”.

And what’s next for Alf, the Mighty Mouse?  

“It’s currently in discussion and we are taking it as it comes”, admitted Claire. “For me, getting this book on the shelves first is important but there are definitely ideas coming down the line!”

Story category Alumni