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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 over coffee and biscuits (and crisps) and talking about our work, the illustration industry, and 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.

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.

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.

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.



Alice is our brilliant 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?

  • We run free live Art Clubs on Instagram where we do timed drawings on different themes.
  • 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!
  • We have a brilliant free drawing guide, The Sketchbooker’s Friend.
  • Our podcast! It's called The Good Ship Illustration podcast and it's available wherever you put podcasts into your ears.

Bethany Kaiser, USA

I attempted The Good Ship drawing exercise. It’s helpful if you get bogged down in details! Thank you for the helpful tips, 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.

p.s. We're on instagram!

Come and say hi.We're friendly.
Our free Art Club happens on Insta, and you're welcome to have a look at our hashtags
#Goodshipillo & #ArtClubAftermath