I can’t remember a time when I didn’t draw. It was something I grew up with, something I just did, and it was a great escape to me as a shy child. My father, Roger, created the Mr Men and Little Miss series back in the 1970s, so I grew up around children’s books and characters. Writing my own children’s book one day never seemed like an impossible dream and is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
I first came up with the character that became Molly Mischief some time ago. I’d been toying with various ideas for stories over the years and this strong-willed little girl stood out as a character I wanted to develop. It took a while and few variations to pin down exactly who I wanted her to be, but once I had given Molly a mischievous nature then everything fell into place – though strangely, even for lots of different versions of drawing her, she has always had the same outfit!
The inspiration for Molly comes from the wonderful ability that children have to imagine something and for that to also be real for them. I particularly remember this when my kids were young. My son Jacob would dress up as Batman and then we would have these surreal conversations about what Jacob was doing in another room in the house. I wanted to capture this power of imagination in a character. Molly can be or do anything she wishes. And, I suppose particular inspiration came from my daughter, Jessica, in whom I saw a mischievous girl who was clever, brave and wanted to do whatever she felt like!
Once I had the character of Molly defined, I started exploring themes for the stories that she would appear in. This first title in the series, My Perfect Pet, was born out of the thought of what it would be like if you could have any animal as a pet and then what sort of chaos or mischief that might lead to. In future books, Molly will be exploring various superhero powers and her ideal job – themes I have had a lot of fun with!
As far as my creative process goes, I’ve been working on Mr Men and Little Miss books for 30 years now, so although the creation of the idea for Molly Mischief was obviously quite different, writing and illustrating Mr Men books has given me a lot of experience which I have been able to apply to writing Molly. Over the years I have developed a sort of process that fits to anything I am trying to write.
I initially draw everything by hand, then scan the black line drawings into my computer as I like the effect of flat colour that be achieved digitally. I don’t tend to make too many changes – once I have the idea for the story mapped out, I know exactly how I want the illustrations and page layouts to look.
I’m quite disciplined with my working day. I have the shortest commute in the world – eight paces from my back to door to my office, so I am very lucky. The small annex I work in is one long room which is very similar to the previous two buildings I have worked in. My dad’s studio was known as the ‘long room’ and I have coincidently always ended up in long, one story buildings just like his. I go into my studio at 8.30am, have coffee at 10am, lunch at 1pm and then finish working at 5pm. I am definitely a morning person – that is when I am most productive. When I’m not creating illustrations for my books or writing new stories, I like to paint in oils, particularly landscapes. Something quite different to drawing Mr. Men and Molly, but it’s lovely to be able to mix my time between the two.
Molly Mischief: My Perfect Pet by Adam Hargreaves
"A fantastic story about a little girl Molly who wants an unusual pet to play . Soon she found out that finding the perfect pet is difficult than she thought. There is a hippopotamus whose hygienic is not acceptable by her parents and a giraffe whose neck is too long for Molly 's house and a rhinoceros with a sharp horne and list goes on. It's a hilarious story with adorable illustrations of Molly mischief and her pets. My daughters enjoyed this story with lots of giggles."
Molly Mischief: My Perfect Pet by Adam Hargreaves is published by Pavilion Books on 3rd August 2017, £6.99 paperback