Elaine Macintyre

Master of Children’s Book Illustration

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About me

Hello! I’m Elaine, an illustrator and picture book maker from Edinburgh.

Working primarily digitally, I specialise in bringing engaging animal characters to life. For my MA I explored how anthropomorphic animals in picture books can encourage children to care about the natural world. In my work, endangered species become appealing individuals who inspire children to empathise with their wild counterparts and even take action to protect them. Because, as Greta Thunberg puts it, “No one is too small to make a difference”.

As a content manager at Shelter, National Museums Scotland and the Scottish Government, I’ve worked with experts in many fields, using storytelling techniques to turn complex concepts into accessible online resources. This experience informs the educational aspect of my illustration work, which is playful and amusing.

Alongside children’s book and magazine illustration, I’m keen to work with educators, particularly around environmental issues, animal welfare, vintage fashion and music.

Sir David Attenborough once said: “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” With access to the natural world restricted, picture books provide an important way for children to experience nature, and can help shape a lifetime of environmental awareness. My books Dear Tree Dear Sea and Animal Fashion aim to help children empathise with endangered species, and offer adults a safe platform to discuss environmental issues with children. Keith Gibbon, Superstar is about resilience and working together – a key component of climate crisis messaging.

Best friends Gorilla and Polar Bear have never met – until now. Through their adventures together, children get to know this unlikely pair and experience their very different worlds.

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Gorilla sets off to visit his best friend Polar Bear. I hope children will want to “be more Gorilla and Polar Bear” and engage with the natural world in a spirit of curiosity and love.

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Gorilla welcomes Polar Bear to his home. I like incorporating found materials into my work, such as Gorilla and Polar Bear's fur (a cardigan and faux fur coat) and mixing digital artwork with mono-printed textures.

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“Made by animals, for animals”, Animal Fashion recreates the typical contents of a lifestyle magazine with creature contributors, including fashion curator Porrij Stoat and agony aunt Di Llama. And it comes with free stickers!

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Fierce fashionistas modelling the very best in vintage chic. Animal Fashion uses playful humour to encourage kids to become followers of animal fashion and go green.

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Animal Fashion combines my interest in green issues with my enthusiasm for vintage fashion – although my love of music also creeps in, shown here by the golden tamarin monkeys dressed as David Bowie!

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Get on your bikes and ride! These animal cyclists are pedalling for the planet, proving that no matter what size or shape we are, we can all play our part in tackling climate change.

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Keith Gibbon loves to sing – but no one loves to listen. When the annual Battle of the Bands come round, can Keith find a band who'll have him?

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Can Keith Gibbon and his animal band triumph at the Battle of the Bands? The reaction of the audience suggests... not.

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But Keith and his band have fun trying, and that's what counts. I hope children can take heart from their resilience and realise that trying your best is always more important than winning.

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Keywords: children's book illustration, kid lit art, children's illustration, picture book illustration, children's picture books, animal illustration, animal characters, picture book maker, picture books, illustrator