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An interview with Isobel Lundie: illustrator of Mr Chug and the Red Tractor and Mrs Zoom and the Blue Rocket!

by Jeannie Brown

John Townsend has written two fantastic new books which will be coming out soon, entitled: Mr Chug and the Red Tractor and Mrs Zoom and the Blue Rocket. The illustrator who has brought these books to life with some gorgeous artwork in Isobel Lundie. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her life as an illustrator and the tips she has for budding new artists!

How did you become an illustrator? What was your journey into the industry?

I studied illustration and animation at Kingston University graduating back in 2015. I was obsessed by the idea of working within Children’s publishing and got my first job at the Salariya Book Company as an in-house illustrator which has been really lovely. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to join Plum Pudding illustration agency and I now work as a freelance illustrator for many lovely companies.

What does an average day look like in the life of an illustrator?

I am fairly new to being fully freelance so am still getting the hang of how best to structure my day. At the moment in the mornings I look at my calendar and try to prioritise which job is the most urgent and write myself a to-do list. I try to only work on one or two books each day so I can focus my mind on that book and really absorb myself in what I’m doing. I usually try and plan some kind of exercise in the evenings as I am guilty of sitting down at 8.30 and the next time I’ve looked at the time its 6pm and I’ve barely moved.

What aspect of illustrating do you find most enjoyable and why?

I love the rough stages of picture or story based books the most. I love world building through drawing and spend quite a bit of time thinking about what I want the background characters and scenery to say before I start with the focal characters.

Tell me about the characters of Mr Chug and Mrs Zoom, what were your favourite scenes to draw in these books?

What I enjoyed most about working on Mr Chug and Mrs Zoom was creating the army of animal helpers that each character has around them. For example in Mrs Zoom she has a small herd of rabbits who help her build the rocket, who are expert welders, painters and mechanics but also squabble and press the wrong buttons and do other silly little errors that you can find when you study the illustrations.

I really love the style of your illustrations, they’re incredibly detailed but very neat and exact at the same time. What advice would you give to budding illustrators who are trying to develop their own unique style?

I actually really hate the word ’style’. I really don’t think illustrators should make a piece of work one way and then never experiment with anything else. I am constantly trying new things and my artwork evolves as I learn new things which keeps it interesting for me and hopefully as time goes by it improves.

You can pre-order Mr Chug and the Red Tractor: here.

You can pre-order Mrs Zoom and the Blue Rocket: here.

About the illustrator:

Isobel Lundie is an illustrator and designer. She graduated from Kingston university with a first class honours in illustration and animation. Since graduating, Isobel has specialised in children’s publishing and has made books for The Salariya Book Company, Usborne, Random House, DK, and The Good Book Company.

Find Isobel online:


Instagram: Isobel_Lundie_illustration

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