Can You Catch The Runaway Egg?

Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough and started her illustration career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls around the house! Her parents quickly dissuaded this medium and encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. Obsessed with drawing animals and telling stories, the idea stuck (the pencil was updated to an ink pot and pen in some cases), and after some lovely time at Art College where she earned a degree in Illustration, Katy is now a freelance illustrator based in London.
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We chatted with Katy about the inspiration behind her latest US publication, The Runaway Egg, her process, as well as some of her exciting upcoming projects. The book published in the United States with Random House Books for Young Readers on January 24, 2017. And in case you missed it, Katy also recently visited The Bright Emporium in the UK for a rousing Storytime Sunday event promoting her title Too Many Carrots! Check out an interview about that book with Katy HERE.

The feeling of taking care of a younger sibling is so accessible, yet presented in such a fun and new way in this book. Kirkus reviews even said, “Being an older sibling has never been this harrowing—and hilarious.” Where did the idea for The Runaway Egg come from?

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The progression of Chick from early sketches to full color…

I had a sketch of an egg with his little chick legs sticking out and loved the idea of illustrating him waddling around. The sibling storyline didn’t occur to me until I visited my newly born, second nephew. I observed his older brother’s underwhelmed reaction to the new addition. He liked having cuddles but really didn’t seem to see why everyone was making a fuss! I liked the idea of telling a story that would focus on this special relationship. Similar to what happens in the book, my oldest nephew soon realised being an older brother had its perks!

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The siblings that helped inspire the book.

What was your favorite part of working on The Runaway Egg?

I always wanted to live on a farm as a child and setting the story on one meant the chance to show all the different animals that could live there. My favourite part of working on The Runaway Egg was the day I spent at London’s Mudchute City farm sketching their resident pig and drawing all the different signs and fences around the farm.

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Some of Katy’s early sketches.

Tell us more about the journey of working on this book! Did your ideas and processes change at all throughout the path from your initial concept to publication?

The outline of the story hasn’t changed that much since we first pitched the book to Random House. Here are some rough thumbnails of the story’s sequence from early on.

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The storyline taking shape…

My editor at Random House was great at getting the text right and making it more concise. The Chick character definitely evolved throughout the project. His proportions started off truer to life but as I made my way through the artwork for the book, it felt like he needed to be rounder and podgier! He slowly evolved to the version we have in the book.

Did you do any of the work for the book by hand, or is it all digital?

All my artwork was produced using watercolour and pen and ink, I then scan these in and layer up in photoshop.

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One of our favorite spreads from The Runaway Egg.

You’ve written and illustrated some of our favorite #BrightReads (Too Many Carrots and Bear and Duck, to name a few). Who is your favorite character that you’ve created?

I’ve loved developing each character I’ve worked on for different reasons, however I think Chick has been my favourite. I loved working out all his exasperated expressions.

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 11.43.56 AMChick in the midst of one of his many adventures…

Do you have any exciting new projects you can tell us about?

I’m really excited to be currently working on The Runaway Egg follow up book with the lovely team at Random House again. I’ve also just completed artwork for Capstone Publishing, on my follow up title to Too Many Carrots. The new book is called A Loud Winter’s Nap and will be out this fall.

Be sure to follow @katyhuds  and katy_hudson_illustration for more from Katy!