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Liz Pichon

Biography

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When Liz was little, she loved to draw, paint and make things. Her mum used to say she was very good at making a mess (which is still true today!).

She kept drawing and went to art school, where she earned a degree in graphic design. She worked as a designer and art director in the music industry, and her freelance work has appeared on a wide variety of products.

Liz is the author-illustrator of several picture books. Tom Gates is the first series of books she has written and illustrated for older children. They have won several prestigious awards, including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and the Blue Peter Book Award. The books have been translated into forty-one languages worldwide.

Visit her at www.lizpichon.com

Books by Liz Pichon

  • Epic Adventure (Kind Of)

    Tom Gates #13: Epic Adventure (Kind Of)

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  • DogZombies Rule (For Now)

    Tom Gates #11: DogZombies Rule (For Now)

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  • Tom Gates and His Fantastic World

    Tom Gates: Tom Gates and His Fantastic World

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  • Family, Friends and Furry Creatures

    Tom Gates #12: Family, Friends and Furry Creatures

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  • Super Good Skills (Almost...)

    Tom Gates #10: Super Good Skills (Almost...)

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  • DogZombies Rule (For Now)

    Tom Gates #11: DogZombies Rule (For Now)

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  • Top of the Class (Nearly)

    Tom Gates #9: Top of the Class (Nearly)

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  • The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

    Tom Gates #1: The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

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  • Super Good Skills (Almost...)

    Tom Gates #10: Super Good Skills (Almost...)

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  • Yes! No (Maybe...)

    Tom Gates #8: Yes! No (Maybe...)

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  • Top of the Class (Nearly)

    Tom Gates #9: Top of the Class (Nearly)

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  • A Tiny Bit Lucky

    Tom Gates #7: A Tiny Bit Lucky

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Packs featuring Liz Pichon

  • Tom Gates Pack x 10

    Tom Gates Pack x 10

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Series by Liz Pichon

  • Tom Gates

    Tom Gates

    From best-selling author Liz Pichon comes the AMAZING Tom Gates series, which has scooped the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Red House Award and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Call that luck? We call it genius. YEAH!

    Tom Gates is a master of excuses, expert doodler, comic story writer extraordinaire – and the bane of his grumpy teacher, Mr Fullerman. And in his WACKY journal of scribbles and silliness, you’ll find all sorts of comic CRAZINESS to make you groan with glee! Will Tom ever manage to get his homework in on time, avoid the rage of his teacher – AND impress Amy Porter, who sits next to him? Warning! Do not attempt to read this in public. You will snigger loudly!

    www.lizpichon.co.uk www.tomgatesworld.blogspot.com

    Explore this series

Awards won by Liz Pichon

Liz has picked up oodles of awards for Tom Gates titles, including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Red House Book Award, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. Her picture books have also received acclaim: she won the Nestle Smarties Award for My Big Brother Boris the Bishops Stortford Picture Book Award for Dave.

Interview with Liz Pichon

How do you feel about Tom’s growing success?

I couldn’t be more pleased! It’s amazing and I still get very excited when I see the book in a shop, library or anywhere really. The Red House Children’s Book Award is special because it’s voted for by children, so that means a lot too.

How did the idea of Tom Gates come about?

It started off as a picture book idea, based on a scrapbook that had lots of drawings and bit’s and pieces stuck in it. That’s where Tom’s voice first appeared (and Mrs Worthington too, with her slightly hairy top lip). But the publishers wanted more of a story. So I wrote one about Tom Gates and put it in a journal with some doodles on the cover. Publishers liked the format and quite liked the story but they didn’t think the two went together. So finally I bought three school exercise books and imagined Tom was writing and drawing in them himself, with Mr Fullerman looming over his shoulder and Marcus Meldrew being annoying. Luckily the publishers were rather keen on this idea, so I got to write a whole story with all the drawings and doodle too.

Tom is a very cheeky but also very sharp in his observations – is he based on anyone you know?

Slightly on me as a child, but also my son and I can remember what some of the boys were like in both my old schools too. Tom is a real combination of lots of different characters really.

The book is very different to other books for this age group in terms of the layout with all your fabulous illustrations. How do you go about this method and what tools do you use?

Firstly, I get all the ideas I have collected in various note books and on post-it notes and begin doing random drawings to see if they spark any story lines off. If they do, I use really thin paper, called layout paper, to do the drawings on, and ordinary A4 paper with a soft pencil and rubber to do the writing. I write as if I’m writing in an exercise book. Every page has the rough story and drawings on which is all handwritten. It takes a while, but time flies when it’s going well. For the final artwork, I scan each page into the computer and sometimes boost up the black and white lines to make them stronger. I might add more type faces to make a point in the book, too. Both the main fonts in the book are made from my own handwriting. How good is that?

When The Brilliant World of Tom Gates won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize it was described as ‘brilliantly laugh out loud funny’ by Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry books. Who were your favorite authors when you were growing up and which funny books would you recommend?

I was chuffed to bits with all the nice comments about my book! When I was younger I loved Spike Milligan’s Silly Verse For Kids (Puffin) and all of Roald Dahl books. My favourite was probably The Twits (Puffin). But I was also massive fan of Richard Scarry’s drawings and stories. All the details he added and the funny creatures, I found fascinating and funny.

Reproduced with thanks to Scholastic Education