Cover Story: An interview with illustrator Lucy Truman

To me, watching the cover of a new book take shape is one of the most exciting parts of the publishing process—the moment when you begin to see the story come alive in someone else’s imagination. And I couldn’t have been more charmed when I saw the cover art created by UK-based illustrator Lucy Truman for The Fresh New Face of Griselda. It perfectly captures Griselda’s uncertainty, but also her quiet courage and determination. I was thrilled when Lucy agreed to share a little about her creative process:


When I first learned you would be creating the cover art for GRISELDA, I was especially excited because of your work in fashion illustration, which I love. Can you say a little about your fashion influences and how you carry them through your children’s book illustration? 

Yes, fashion does indeed influence my ideas, thoughts and artistic style. I love it! And can’t get enough of it. I suppose I carry it through into my children’s book as it is a big part of my interest. I love looking at children’s fashions as much as adults. Having an 11-year-old daughter, inspires me directly and indirectly. Having her as an accessible model, (even if she does moan and refuse occasionally), with her own style and likes, gives me an insight to the preteen age group, and helps me to characterise the “girls” I draw, in a modern and contemporary way. Indirectly, I am made aware of the world and interests of this age group, seeing things she has been viewing on Instagram, or Tik Tok, and her being a huge fan of Ariana and Billie Eilish, educates me as to what “sassy” girls are all about. I guess it is about being educated through my daughter, and going shopping with her helps a lot too 🙂

Creating the ‘look’ of a fictional character seems really daunting to me! How do you approach it? (Your version of Griselda feels exactly right, by the way. I remember thinking, ‘Of course. That’s her!’)

To “get” the character and nail what she is about, the formula is simple when it comes to illustrating a fabulous book such as yours! The story ignites me and I can really imagine her, and she will automatically come to life on my paper! I loved your book as it had real substance and had a modern feminist subplot, which I adored. I haven’t read anything quite like it before now or since. It really struck a chord. It had the right mix of fun (which we all love to escape with), but with a great message of resilience and empowerment. I loved Griselda, and thought she would have a characterful quirky look but still girlie. If that makes sense?

Early versions of the cover of The Fresh New Face of Griselda

At left, a very early sketch of the cover. The version on the right is closer to final with color, a lip-glossy font, and First Lady teacups (also a ponytail!)

Some of my favorite parts of the cover are the teensy details like the lipsticks and the nail polish and the garden tools—and, of course, the First Ladies teacups with the even teensier First Lady portraits. Did you have a favorite to draw? Was it Jackie?

Mine too, Jenn, I loved those details. The art direction was great, and I think the recipe of your writing, the creative forward thinking of the art director and my art was just such a perfect match! [Note: The cover was designed by Marie Lawrence]. I loved the idea to draw the teacups, the First Lady idea was wonderful for me and something that added substance for young readers. It wasn’t just an empty sugar candy cover, and for this reason it really interested me. It educates young girls about things they probably will not know about. And, yes, you are so right, I loved drawing Jackie, but also the close second place would have to be Nancy!


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I know you have a daughter. What kinds of stories and illustrations most capture your attention and imagination as readers? 

She and I like very similar books, and realism is key for Ava. She likes to read stories which are about her, essentially, with a character she can either emulate, aspire to be or feel empathy and understanding with. That is why we both love Griselda. Ava isn’t really that interested in fantasy or adventure. Having said that, she does want excitement and adventure in her books which are realistic portrayal of our society and environment.  She gravitates to American literature more than British, as she consumes so much popular American culture she seems to want to become American herself! She is a massive fan of Sofie Dossi, and watches American’s Got Talent on YouTube.


Lucy Truman is an artist/illustrator specializing in fashion and beauty, travel and lifestyle illustration. She is also a renowned children’s book illustrator and enjoys drawing for many well-known publishers in both adult and children’s genres. The importance of elegance, stylistically and thematically, is an integral part of Lucy’s work, embodying retro beauty whimsical twist. See more at Find her on Instagram at @lucytruman_illustration, or on Twitter at @iLucyT.