Press release for Happydesigner:

A Herefordshire children’s book illustrator has branched out after being commissioned to turn a Chelsea Flower Show garden design into an illustration.

Sarah-Leigh Wills, who runs Happydesigner in Ross-on-Wye, was approached by garden designer Jamie Butterworth, who is creating a garden for the charity Place2Be, in partnership with Sarasin & Partners.

The garden will promote the importance of children’s mental health, offering a safe space where children can take time and talk. It was this that inspired Jamie to seek an illustration that wouldn’t look out of place in a children’s book. Usually, the designs are created digitally.

Jamie, who runs Form Plants in Windsor and who is an ambassador for the Royal Horticultural Society, provided rough drawings and Sarah-Leigh worked on an illustration to bring them to life.

“I was absolutely delighted when Jamie got in touch and asked us about creating an illustration of his design,” said Sarah-Leigh. “When he was searching for a children’s book illustrator, he liked our drawings, because he wanted something in the style of Quentin Blake, with a dreamy quality.”

“It was an amazing project to be involved with and we are thrilled that both Jamie and Place2Be are very happy with the image we created. The Royal Horticultural Society have even shared our garden illustration on social media, which blew our minds!”

The Chelsea Flower Show is on from May 24-28, and once it is over Jamie’s garden will be relocated to Viking Primary School in West London, which is in a deprived area where the majority of the children live in flats, with limited access to outside space.

“It’s so important to encourage children to engage with nature. Through my work in schools as an RHS Ambassador I’ve seen first-hand the positive difference to children’s lives,” said Jamie.

“I hope the garden will inspire everyone to think about the importance of outdoor space, a sanctuary where we look after and nurture our mental wellbeing. That’s why I’m so delighted to create a garden which promotes children’s mental health, that will have a life beyond Chelsea, bringing a positive impact to the lives of primary school children who have no, or limited, outdoor space at home.”

Sarah-Leigh added: “We are so pleased to have played a small part in helping Jamie to create this amazing garden. We can’t wait to see it, once it has been planted up and is on show at Chelsea, and how fantastic that it will carry on as a garden, for children to enjoy.”

Happydesigner specialises in illustration for children’s books, and Sarah-Leigh has written, illustrated and published her own books. She also illustrates for publishers Harper Collins and Faber Music.

For more information about Happydesigner, visit https://www.happydesigner.co.uk/.