Liz Pichon studied graphic design Camberwell School of Art in London, before working in the music industry as a designer and art director. Her career flourished when she decided to go freelance, and her work has been used on many different products all over the world including beach towels, calendars, mugs, greeting cards and games. Her artwork for 'Twilight Verses, Moonlight Rhymes' won the National Parent Book Award in the USA. She has now written and illustrated her own stories, including 'My Big Brother Boris' which won the Smarties Book Prize Silver Award in 2004. Her popular children's book series, 'The Brilliant World of Tom Gates,' has been likened to 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' and was the recipient of the 2011 Roald Dahl Funny Prize for the funniest book for kids aged seven to fourteen years. Liz lives with her husband and three children in Brighton, UK.
Q: How did the idea of Tom Gates come about?
A: It started off as a picture book idea, based on a scrapbook that had lots of drawings and bits and pieces stuck in it. That's where Tom's voice first appeared (and Mrs Worthington too, with her slightly hairy top lip). But the publishers wanted more of a story. So I wrote one about Tom Gates and put it in a journal with some doodles on the cover. Publishers liked the format and quite liked the story but they didn't think the two went together. So finally I bought three school exercise books and imagined Tom was writing and drawing in them himself, with Mr Fullerman looming over his shoulder and Marcus Meldrew being annoying. Luckily the publishers were rather keen on this idea, so I got to write a whole story with all the drawings and doodle too.