Charlie Alder​

I’m an illustrator and author. I’m also one half of Alder and Alder. My days are fuelled by coffee (for the first few hours at least!) and involve creating a crazy cast of characters, to bring stories to life.


I began illustrating when we moved back to Devon in 2004. I was signed by the Bright Agency in 2005, and since then I’ve steadily grown my portfolio and client list. You can see my work here. I post to Instagram pretty regularly too.


My clients are publishers, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with Bloomsbury, Quercus, Pixel+Ink, Barrington Stoke, Franklin Watts, Feiwel & Friends and Studio Press. The books I illustrate are children’s fiction and non-fiction titles. Bright has an office in New York, as well as London, so I have a lot of US as well as UK clients. (I have one of the clocks on my desktop set to New York time.)


I get to work with lots of great authors, on lots of titles, but it’s still always exciting to see one of my titles on the shelf in a bookshop! I also really enjoy seeing reviews from the readers – and their parents. I think it’s a real privilege to help shape a child’s love of reading.


One of my career highlights was seeing my first story – Daredevil Duck – published in 2015. Seeing my own story – and character – make the journey from my head, to my screen, to the printed page was really exciting (and slightly nerve-wracking)!


Another highlight was the invitation to appear at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. I taught a tent-full of school children how to draw Gizmo – a dachshund and newspaper reporter. He was one of the leading characters from the News Hounds series, published by Bloomsbury. It was an absolute blast! (You can see me in action in the photo at the top of the page!)


My job does feel like a dream come true (on the good days!). I always wanted to be an illustrator, but I spent the first 12 years of my career working as a designer, in London. (Design seemed like a more sensible career option when I graduated!) My last role, before we moved to Exeter, was Art Editor on a national weekly magazine. The move to the south west was the push I needed to make the career change. And I haven’t looked back!


Being a mum and a business owner is certainly challenging. But the opportunity to be in control, to be able to do what I want, when I want, is well worth it. Our son is a big teenager now, but when he was younger, being able to get to sports day and carol concerts and all those kinds of things was really special. Nowadays, feeding him feels like a full time job!


Devon was such an amazing place to grow up, so I feel really lucky to be able to offer the same opportunity to my son.



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