About The Good Ship Illustration

We’re here to offer no-nonsense advice for illustrators and image-makers navigating a creative career

Here are 3 things you need to know:
  1. At The Good Ship, our big mission is to help illustrators and image-makers navigate a creative career.
  2. There are 3 of us - Tania, Helen and Katie - and we are the Goldilocks (3 bears!) of illustration, covering 3 areas and eras of the industry.
  3. We believe your creative work should feel good, make you money, and leave you feeling confident to fly your freak flag!

Who Are The Good Ship Illustration?

We're so lucky to all live close to each other in a windy little town by the sea.
Meeting up and talking about our work, the illustration industry, creativity... we realised we were asking each other the questions other illustrators needed answers for too.
Between us we’ve clocked up a whopping 60 years of experience, winning awards and illustrating for big clients and publishers all over the world. This was stuff not every illustrator had access to. It would have been selfish to keep it to ourselves! We needed to share it with the world.
If you want to learn more about us, click here to listen to a podcast interview we did with Sara Tasker (@me_and_orla) for Hashtag Authentic.

Helen Stephens

Helen is an award-winning author, illustrator, best known, amongst other things for her 'How  to Hide A Lion' series.  'How to Hide a Lion' has become known as an international bestselling classic of picture books.

She taught on the highly respected Cambridge School of Art MA in Illustrating for Children and has mentored graduate illustrators on the Picture Hooks Scheme. She started the popular #walktosee sketch-booking hashtag on Instagram.

As seen on: NY Times. Wall Street Journal. Uppercase. Guardian Book of the Year. Times Book of the Year. ‘How to Hide a Lion’ was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal, and her books have won lots of other fancy pants awards. Her books have been published in about 30 languages, and clients include: Random House, Scholastic, Penguin, Alison Green Books, David Fickling Books, Campbell Books, Nickelodeon Junior, Egmont, Simon and Schuster, Bayard Presse and Orchard Publishing.

Career highlights: How to Hide a Lion was adapted for stage by The Polka Theatre and toured the UK, Helen won a BLUE PETER BADGE as a grownup by being on Blue Peter!

A couple of extra fun facts: She likes to draw in the rain and wears her dressing gown over her clothes to work.


Tania Willis

Tania is an award-winning designer/ illustrator with 30 years of experience, and an MA in Illustration from the Royal College of Art.

She has taught illustration at BA & BFA level in the UK and Hong Kong and has more than 20 years of perspective on the industry in Asia. Her illustration clients include English Heritage, Conde Nast Traveller, Cartier, Time, Waitrose Magazine and Swire Group.

Her illustration experience covers advertising, murals, editorial, design, surface design, licensing, publishing, branding, event, editorial and corporate - but her biggest passion is illustrated maps.

Plus we are so lucky, she designed our gorgeous ship-in-a-bottle Good Ship branding.

Career highlights: Designing a livery for an A330 Airbus and a Hong Kong tram.

A couple of extra fun facts: Tania taught Helen at Glasgow School of Art. She swears too much (unrelated to teaching Helen), loves Hong Kong trams & wanted to be in The Slits.


Katie Chappell

Meet Katie! Our most recent graduate (2012).

She is a live illustrator working all over the UK and Europe. Her clients include Workplace for Facebook, Google, Dove, Lululemon, Royal Society of Biology, Nespresso and lots of the UK’s top universities. 

Her live illustration work covers everything from graphic recording in corporate meetings, to painting giant murals on shop windows in Regent Street, London.

Katie has an MA in illustration from Edinburgh College of Art, as well as a foundation degree in animation and a BA in illustration and graphic design.

She has lectured in illustration, from foundation to MA level.  

Career highlights: Live-Illustrating in the boardroom for management at Google HQ in London. Painting giant boards for the Royal Society of Biology’s gala dinner, where David Attenborough received a lifetime achievement award.

A couple of extra fun facts: Katie is an accidental TedX speaker, and is really good at backwards mirror writing and napping.


+ our chief petty officer - Alice Wood!

Alice is a Good Ship pal, fellow illustrator and Little Toy Dog maker.

Alice has been with us from the very start and keeps things ship-shape and organised behind the scenes here at The Good Ship Illustration.

Learn more about Alice here.

What does The Good Ship Illustration do?

  1. We run our live art club on Instagram every Friday.
  2. We create online courses and content to help illustrators and image-makers navigate a creative career. When we have a new course open for enrollment, we will tell you about it!
  3. We have a brilliant free drawing guide, The Sketchbooker’s Friend.

Bethany Kaiser, USA

I attempted The Good Ship drawing exercise. It’s helpful if you get bogged down in details! Follow them if you haven’t already for helpful tips and tricks and encouragement!

Jay Tower, USA

If you are not following The Good Ship Illustration, you should be. These ladies are amazing. They literally walk you thru the steps.

Karen Moore, UK

If you haven’t already, follow The Good Ship - so much support and advice out there for illustrators. Looking forward to seeing what they offer in the future.

The Sketchbooker's Friend Audio Drawing Guide

The Sketchbookers Friend is a friendly little voice in your ear to get you drawing right now, wherever you are, whatever your ability.

One packet includes:

  • A 15 minute audio drawing session with Helen, Katie and Tania.
  • A transcript, in case you prefer to read than listen.
  • Our top 10 drawing tips
  • Activity sheets for the other artists in your house.
Get Your Audio Download