Stanley & Jim

Children's Book Illustration

Karen Dennett is a mother, a business owner, and now a children’s book author. Karen needed help to bring her story to life with creativity and playfulness that children would adore.

Karen Dennett is a mother of 3 and founder of Engaging Education. As a creative side project, she decided to write her own children’s story initially for fun and for her children, which would then inspire others to exercise their creative muscles and teach children the value of friendship.

To bring the story of Stanley and Jim to life, we created two character designs: Stanley and Jim, the main characters in the story. We developed a  storyboard collaborating with Karen to establish the overall look and feel of the picture book. We also provided hassle-free print set-up to create an accommodating experience for Karen.

We developed the blueprints for the 2 main characters of the story. Stanley, who is the introverted and sheltered mouse contrasted with his cousin who is the extroverted, wild and adventurous mouse. To establish their differences, I was given excerpts of the character which I then highlighted key traits to establish their character. 

After, I matched their traits to appropriate body language, facial expressions and clothing choices which I used the combination of research and imagination to understand their character’s perspective.

You can read further on my process through our blog!


Karen wanted to stray from the classic painted, watercolour look that most picture books have hence she wanted to aim for a bold and lively appeal. I was the right fit at the time for the picture book. My style had bold linework and lively colour which was seldomly done for picture books. The colour palette I went for uses a warm tone while having a saturation level that signifies liveliness and a sunny vibe. The illustrations are detailed and immersive to keep children entertained while reading the story.

To help parents and children, I’ve highlighted words in yellow to create emphasis on the words – whether parents choose to read the words in a different voice, it points out key parts of the story to children to add on to their engagement to the story.

I have been blown away by Shona’s talent and attention to detail. I am delighted with the way you have captured Stanley and Jim. To see my own words and characters brought to life through Shona’s imagination is nothing sort of magic.

Shona has displayed outstanding professionalism throughout the process and I will wholeheartedly recommend her and the fabulous Plus 4 team to my other networks!

The book is available for purchase on Amazon

Every book’s sale contributes at least 10% of the profit to the Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal to fundraise for the Bristol’s Children’s Hospital!

You can also discover out more about the book via social media!

Check out the Instagram & Facebook pages of @stanleyandjim!

We’ve created an expansion to this portfolio describing our process behind the character creation of Stanley & Jim! Come check out it through our blog!

If you’re interested to discover about the author, Karen, discover her through her LinkedIn and her website!