Steve May's anarchic drawings make the perfect partner for many high profile children's authors and he is the go-to illustrator for mad-cap middle grade fiction.  We caught up with Steve recently and asked him a few questions as part of our "Artists Spotlight" series.

We love your social media feeds, they are always filled with hilarity, political commentary and references to issues raised in the news. Do you find a lot of inspiration in popular culture, music for instance? Where do you draw the most inspiration? 

I'm fascinated by popular culture in general and music is really important to me so I draw a lot of influence from the way people dress and talk etc. I love watching people (and animals) most of all, so a big chunk of my inspiration comes from just observing from life.

You occasionally work in a shared studio space with other creatives from different industries, does this environment help with your creative processes? 

I share a lovely studio space in Soho and it's great sharing a space with talented people, it's very inspirational - especially on days when my own inspiration is lagging. Coming into a shared space and seeing what the other people are working on is always a tonic!

Do you find sketching in your free time relaxing? Can we take a peek inside your sketchbook? 

I LOVE sketching and am very rarely without a sketchbook - of COURSE you can! Here's a rather unlikely leopard being teased by his mates and an unusual haircutting experience!

Have you ever managed to sneak a hidden detail into one of your books which has gone unspotted by the eagle eyes of an editorial department? 

I often try to sneak something or other into my book illustrations, whether it's Albert's despairing and ever-startled blue cat who turns up throughout Albert Johnson & The Buns of Steel  by Phil Earle, a sneaky Tardis and Cyberman lurking in Dennis The Menace - Canine Carnage or the occasional background cameo... 

That's me with the inflatable fish, ice cream and sunglasses on the seafront on the cover of Supernan's Day Out!

(If you're REALLY geeky you can spot my homage to the band Half Man Half Biscuit's track 'Joy Division Oven Gloves' in Albert Johnson too!

Do you have a top tip for creative block? 

Go for a walk, hit something* (I do boxing training, this isn't an exhortation to random violence!) play the guitar, go shopping for things I don't really need!

What are you working on now and can we have a top secret sneak peek? 

I'm currently drawing the new Francesca Simon Two Terrible Vikings book - here's a fat troll, a stinky herring, an ogre with a smelly bottom and a Viking who's been exiled to Sheep Island for you!

Do you have a local independent bookshop which is a particular favourite? 

I love Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street in Soho, it's just down the road from my studio and I often wander around there for inspiration. There's a lovely little indie shop in my hometown Hastings called Hare & Hawthorn that I recently bought a copy of Moominpapa At Sea from which is always a pleasure to mooch around too.

You can find Steve’s daily musings, sneak peeks and lot’s more over on Twitter and Instagram. Please be sure to pop over to our website to view his full digital portfolio HERE.

For more information regarding working with Steve please email 


Steve May - Albert Johnson and the Buns of Steel cover
Steve May - Two Terrible Vikings cover
Steve May Dairy of Dennis Canine Carnage ci3vje