Victoria Turnbull
Victoria Turnbull





Victoria studied an MA Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. Her fascination with drawing and a desire to convey ideas lead her to pursue a career illustrating for children.

Victoria is based in London in the UK, you can view more of her work at

The picture book the Sea Tiger tells the story of a merboy who learns about friendship through his interactions with an imaginary friend.

The judges felt that the illustrations featured in The Sea Tiger were lyrical, elegiac and highly imaginative. The illustrator understands composition very well, has great draughtsmanship and a sophisticated palette. The reader immediately wants to know the whole story and the judges felt strongly that the dummy book they saw deserved to be published. Since becoming an AOI Illustration Awards category winner, Victoria has had the book commissioned by a publishing house.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Victoria featured in the awards issue of Varoom magazine.

BRIEF: To write and illustrate a picture book for the Masters Stage Project of my MA in Children’s Book Illustration. The initial idea for The Sea Tiger came from a drawing in my sketchbook of a tiger, a merboy and a boat.

MATERIALS: Pencil, watercolour paper, pastel, coloured pencil and linseed oil.

RESEARCH: Most of my research for the book involved drawing the two main characters over and over again in order to get to know them and explore their relationship with one another. The story developed from these character sketches.

PROCESS: I began by drawing in pencil onto tracing paper. Once I was happy with the line, I scanned and printed it onto watercolour paper and coloured with a mixture of pastel, coloured pencil and linseed oil.

RESISTANCES: Figuring out how to marry colour with drawing – I wanted the visual imagery to reflect the sea tiger’s imaginary underwater world – and finding the right method was a challenge.

INSIGHT: For me it all starts with drawing, it’s where the ideas come from.

DISTRACTIONS: Food and, occasionally, sleep.

NUMBERS: 156 jellyfish, 66 turtles, 38 octopuses, 19 seahorses, 3 squid and 1 snail.

I want to create images full of narrative detail that readers can lose themselves in, images that live long in the memory.