Emma Reynolds


Emma Reynolds is an illustrator and author based in Manchester and the founder of #KidLit4Climate illustrated campaign, bringing together over 3,000 children’s illustrators and authors from over 50 countries in solidarity with the youth climate strikes. In May 2020 she shaved her head to raise money for Bat Conservation Trust. Her work is inspired by nature, animals, adventure, and seeing the magic in the everyday. Her debut author-illustrator picture book Amara and the Bats is out now with Atheneum – Simon & Schuster.

Helen Bradley by Emma Reynolds

Artist Spotlight

When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?

Since I was about 5! I’ve always loved drawing and telling stories. When I was little I also wanted to be a marine biologist, an explorer, and in my teens a poet and a stop motion animator.

Is there a particular project or career highlight that has had a meaningful impact on your career? 

I’ve dreamed of having my own book I’ve written and illustrated since I was 5 years old (see above!) and in 2021 my author-illustrator debut ‘Amara and the Bats’ came out, so I am very proud and excited about that. 

Another project that has been a highlight is #KidLit4Climate, a climate justice awareness campaign I run with children’s illustrators and authors from over 50 countries around the world. There are now over 3,000 illustrated protestors and author selfies raising awareness of climate change, in solidarity with the young people we make our books for.

In an increasingly digital world, what is the appeal of print?

I think people will always want to hold a physical object in their hand, and display artwork on their walls. There was a fear 10 years ago with the rise of eReaders that children’s books would cease to exist in a physical form, but it forced traditional publishers to make them a higher quality product, and the industry is booming and growing every year.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking a similar career path?

It is hard. KEEP GOING. It’s taken me a long time to be able to make books as my job, but it is worth it! You will most likely have to hustle and have several jobs and sources of income at first (I did) — and there is no shame in this. Keep going, don’t give up — You can do this. Oh, and get a shared studio so you don’t go crazy!

If you could collaborate with another creative, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Ooooo this is a great question. I’d love to work with the following illustrators – Lily Williams, Dapo Adeola, Margarita Kukhtina and Isabelle Arsenault. Illustrating something for Neil Gaiman would be a dream as well.

We’d like to ask you to recommend a ‘woman in print’ to us…

Ebony Glenn.