Sarah McIntyre was born in Seattle. She studied Russian literature and art history at Bryn Mawr College and then earned a distinction while doing her Master’s degree in Illustration at Camberwell College of the Arts in London. She brings her love of travel and adventure to her work, and loves the thrill of being a perpetual tourist in London, where she has lived since 1999.
It was whilst studying for her MA that Sarah became interested in comics.‘I had loved comics as a kid, such as Calvin & Hobbes and Archie, but I had sort of lost my way as an adult, thinking comics were mostly about superheroes, which I didn’t like so much. When I was introduced to adult comics by people such as Posy Simmonds and Craig Thompson, I knew I had found a whole new world.’
She was commissioned by David Fickling to produce a comic strip for the ground breaking DFC. Her creation; Vern & Lettuce was immensely popular and Sarah used both her blog and Facebook to attract new friends and fans everyday, gaining the attention of The Guardian who featured the strip in their The Comic section on Saturdays.
Her picture book with Giles Andreae, Morris the Mankiest Monster, introduced the world to a loveable monster with stomach-turning personal habits, and won both the Sheffield and Bishop’s Stortford Children’s Book Awards, as voted by children. Sarah has gone on to create many more picture books including the very successful You Can’t Eat a Princess and the follow-up, You Can’t Scare a Princess!
In 2013, Sarah teamed up with Philip Reeve for Oliver and the Seawigs, bonkers fiction for young readers crammed with brilliant illustrations. This was swiftly followed by Cakes in Space, and Pugs of the Frozen North which won the Independent Bookshop Week Children’s Book of the Year Award.
Winner of the Winner of the Independent Bookshop Week Children’s Book of the Year for Pugs of the Frozen North. Sarah’s picture book awards include the 2010 Sheffield Children’s Book Award for Morris the Mankiest Monster.
Five questions for Sarah McIntyre
Where do you work?
I work in south London, in an old police station that still has its cells and a ghost, who lives in the loo! I share it with two friends: comics creator Gary Northfield and graffiti knitter Lauren O’Farrell (aka Deadly Knitshade).
Do you prefer making books by yourself or working with a writer?
I like doing both! When I write my own story, it means I get to decide exactly what I’m going to draw. But when I work with other people, sometimes we spark new ideas off each other and the ideas are better than ones I might have come up with myself. I love doing Comics Jams, where one person draws a panel, then other person draws a panel, and neither person knows where the story is going to go.
Who are your biggest influences?
Thousands and thousands of other artists have inspired my work, but the top three might be Maurice Sendak, Satoshi Kitamura and Posy Simmonds. Funnily enough, all three of them are creators whose work slides between the categories of picture books and comics.
What is your favourite comic? *
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson! The comic strip ran every day in The Seattle Times, in black and white, and in colour on Sundays. I loved it as a kid, I love it now, it works on lots of different levels.
Why do you wear such big hats?*
If I wear a big hat, I can hide a little elf under it who tells me what to say on stage if I forget my lines. So if I say something silly, it’s her fault, not mine. It makes me less nervous; I think, no one is looking at me, they are all looking at my hat!