Pam Smy



Thornhill is a novel for young adults told through alternating picture sequence and text passages to be published in the UK and the US in 2017. The Thornhill of the title is an abandoned house in the centre of an urban environment, where nature has reclaimed a once managed environment.

This paper will explore the various ways that the author/illustrator has used drawing as a tool in the creation of this imagined environment, mapping how types of drawing feed into and become a response to the creation of a particular landscape. During this project drawing has performed the role of initial inspiration, observational research, technical planning, communication with designers/editors, exploration of ideas and atmosphere, the invention and evolution of imaginative space and place, roughs and in final artwork. Drawing has also fed into ‘making’ of Thornhill house as a physical object, which in turn becomes the focus of further drawing and understanding of the created environment.

This paper will explore the role of the visual elements that contribute to the planning of this novel, the house and its landscape including 3d elements, technical drawings, charts, written plans, back-of-the-envelope ideas, sketchbooks of imagined and observed spaces, planning of picture sequences, hand printed presentation boxes (for publishers and prospective international publishers) and various stages of production of artwork.


The aim of this paper is to reveal how drawing has multiple guises and functions in the creation of an imagined landscape, performing various roles to bridge the gap between fact and fiction.

Pam Smy is an illustrator and Senior Lecturer in Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University. Pam has worked for a variety of UK publishers, including Random House, David Fickling Books, Egmont and The Folio Society.  Her research is focused on the role of drawing in the creation of illustration for children, with a particular interest the role of sketchbooks as a tool for the illustrator.  Pam has just completed her first novel for the 10+ age group, Thornhill (David Fickling Books 2017), where image sequences alternate with text passages to tell the story.


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