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The talented Affinity users bringing children’s books to life

We love the annual celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading that World Book Day brings, and with the 25th anniversary on Thursday 3 March, what better time to shine a spotlight on some of our favourite children’s illustrators who use Affinity.

With styles ranging from bold and bright to beautiful and delicate, their illustrations not only bring stories and characters to life; they also feed children’s imaginations and help to educate them about the world.

Here’s a little bit about each talented illustrator and what they love about working in Affinity.

Michael Fleming

Michael Fleming is an illustrator based in California with a focus on children’s picture books. He has freelanced for 20 years with a diverse group of clients who seek him out for his stylish and offbeat illustrations and characters.

Illustration by Michael Fleming for the children’s book Time for School, Little Dinosaur published by Random House

“I began using Affinity products in 2015, with Affinity Designer becoming my main illustration application. I love the intuitive interface and the ability to easily mix vector and pixel art right in Designer. Using both the desktop and iPad versions, I’m able to sync up projects and work at home or while on the go. It’s been a real game-changer for my work, and I use it almost daily.”

To see more of Michael’s work, check out his website and @tweedlebop on Instagram.

Edita Hajdu

Edita Hajdu is a freelance illustrator living and working in Bratislava, Slovakia. She has illustrated children’s books, magazines and advertising materials for over a decade. As a Mum of two, she also loves to illustrate toys and products for children. Her work has been commissioned by clients all over the world.

“I usually use Affinity for vector illustrations or for illustrations which are aimed at little children, as they need to be simple and smooth. I have been using it for personal and client work for years now, ever since its first public version. I found it after I saw some amazing artworks created by Pokedstudio,” Edita explains.

“Creating illustrations in Affinity is very intuitive, simple and fast, so I was able to enjoy the process from the very beginning. I like that it is possible to switch between the vector and pixel personas and work with global colours as it allows me to change colours easily when needed. It just saves so much time and accelerates my workflow. I love it:)”

Follow Edita on Instagram @editahajdu_illustration to see more of her stunning work.

Russ Willms

Russ Willms has always had a passion for art and fun, with humour being part of his own expression. Throughout his career, he has been influenced by all types of media, including animation (Looney Tunes and Pixar), modern art (Picasso) and mid-century illustration (Mary Blair).

Russ is the illustrator of the Mr. Christie Book Award Gold Winner and Governor General’s Literary Award finalist book, Brewster Rooster, and the author and illustrator of Elephants Do Not Belong in Trees (Orca Books, Spring 2021), Who Will Pull Santa’s Sleigh? (HMW, Fall 2021), Quiet Please (Orca Books, Spring 2022) and Parker’s Place (Clarion, Summer 2023).

Illustration by Russ Willms for Parker’s Place (Clarion, Summer 2023)

He lives and works in Victoria, British Columbia, and enjoys using Affinity Designer on his iPad Pro to create his illustrations.

“Because I work on kid’s picture books, I need to draw a character over and over—sometimes 30 times! What I love about Affinity Designer is that I can do a finished version of a character with multiple layers of textures, and if I want that character in a different pose, it is very easy to break it apart (into arms, body, head and textures etc.), create that new pose, and simply drop those original textures back into the new body parts. That way, I keep my character’s design consistent each and every time. Selecting a texture and then clipping it to ‘paste inside’ is like magic!”

Illustration for Parker’s Place (Clarion, Summer 2023)

To see more of Russ’ work, visit his website or check out @russ.willms on Instagram.

Camille Whitcher

Camille Whitcher is a London based British-Japanese children’s book illustrator and author. After graduating from the MA Children’s Book Illustration course at Cambridge in 2016, she won the inaugural Stratford-Salariya Picture Book Prize.

Her winning entry, Luna and the Moon Rabbit, was published by Scribblers (an imprint of Salariya) in 2018.

Luna and the Moon Rabbit

Camille uses a mix of traditional and digital media to create her illustrations often based around fairy/folk tale themes.

“I took a chance on Affinity a few years back when Affinity Photo was first released. I had mostly used traditional media before but needed to learn how to edit digitally and Affinity was the best affordable option. I began using it to clean up and enhance watercolour/ink illustrations, such as this one from ‘Luna and the Moon Rabbit’,” Camille explains.

“I love using traditional media, but it has its drawbacks e.g. lack of flexibility when colour or composition changes are necessary. Affinity enables me to retain a traditional handmade quality whilst having control of colour and composition. My illustration of a mock cover of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a digitally coloured and layered composition of pencil drawings.”

A mock cover of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

“I’ve now got the full suite—Photo, Designer and Publisher—which I’m gradually learning how to use and incorporate into my illustration practice.”

Camille is currently working on a few picture book ideas and seeking literary representation as well as training for her next half marathon!

To see more of her work, visit her website and Instagram account @milly_of_bunston.

Laura Mocelin

Laura Mocelin graduated in Architecture and Urbanism, but deep down, she always knew she wanted to do something related to arts. In 2018 she tried officially illustrating books (her first was in school at age eight!) and never looked back.

Today, she is a successful book illustrator and formatter, still learning and navigating the challenges of illustrating children’s books. Her illustrations are inspired by observing everyday life and the world around her in southern Brazil, and they come straight from the heart.

Laura uses Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher to create her work.

“By recommendation, I learned of Affinity in early 2019. Nowadays, I use Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher simultaneously because it makes it easy to organise a book’s page, taking into account that I have to think about the illustration as well as the text formatting and layout. Affinity allows me to work much faster and more professionally, fulfilling ALL my needs.”

To view Laura’s portfolio, visit her website

Chris Ferrie

Chris Ferrie is a professor, author, blogger, illustrator, and all-around perennial tinkerer of ideas. He leads a research group at the University of Technology Sydney currently focussing on quantum technology characterisation and control. Chris loves teaching and seeing students of all ages transition from passive consumers of facts to creators of knowledge. His books empower their readers with inspiration from science, technology, and mathematics. Chris’s latest book, Where Did We Come From?, was created entirely in Affinity Designer.

“I’m a technical person. This is why I like the precise control enabled by vector graphics, but when using art to explore and convey technical ideas I find it demands a level of detail not easily afforded by vector drawings. I like the fact that Affinity Designer seamlessly brings together vector and pixel art to get the best of both worlds. The software is also remarkably intuitive while not holding back on features or precision.”

Visit Chris’ website and Instagram account to find out more about his work.

Chris’ books can be found on on Amazon and in bookstores such as Waterstones and Book Depository.

Robert Harris

Robert Harris is a Trinidadian children’s book illustrator, currently residing in Toronto, Canada. His creative career began in 1996 as a graphic designer and 3D artist working on local tv shows, but art has been an integral part of his life since the age of nine. Beyond art as a profession, Robert creates art as therapy to help children and adults deal with depression and childhood trauma.

“Affinity Designer is my software of choice as an illustrator for its simplicity and speed. The tools available are the absolute essentials, and being able to work with vector and raster within the same app is a game-changer for me. It takes my creativity to new levels.”

To see more of Robert’s work, check out his website and Instagram account.

Allan Thompson

Allan Thompson is a freelance web and logo designer, video editor and photographer based in London. He is also the creator of My Strawberry Monkey and illustrator and author of the ‘Ohhh My! Strawberry Monkey’ picture book series, which aims to teach cultural elements, the importance of learning from our mistakes and pro-social behaviour to preschool children.

Along with the books there is a preschool website that contains some free games and activities designed to keep cheeky little monkeys busy.

“As soon as I discovered Affinity Designer, I instantly fell in love with the look and feel of the app, and it just seemed so user friendly, intuitive and great value for money. The Affinity apps are powerful, very smooth and have changed the way I work, which is important when you’re spending 10 hours a day creating in them,” Allan reveals.

“What I also love about Affinity is that you can actually connect with the developers via the forum, and they listen to users’ feedback and suggestions. Not only have they created an amazing range of apps, in doing so, they have also built a great community.”

You can learn more about the ‘Ohhh My! Strawberry Monkey’ picture book series at and on Twitter @strawberrymnky and Instagram @mystrawberrymonkey.

You can also read our interview with Allan, in which he talks about building the My Strawberry Monkey brand here.

Spotlight editor

As editor of Affinity Spotlight Melanie oversees the stories, interviews and tutorials published on the site. Outside of work she enjoys travelling, reading crime thrillers, Pilates and dabbling in a spot of oil painting. Get in touch with Melanie if you would like to contribute or be featured on Affinity Spotlight.

Credits & Footnotes

Banner image created by Michael Fleming for the children’s book Time for School, Little Dinosaur published by Random House