Olu Oke

Illustrator: class of 2023

Olu Oke is a storyteller, illustrator and printmaker. “I’m dyslexic. Until I was 13, I could only ‘read’ pictures. This affected me profoundly. As a children’s librarian, I read So Much to a toddler. One mother cried, saying the book made her feel ‘seen’. That’s what motivates me. Shaping stories that connect, that help people feel seen.”

Olu was mentored by Chris Haughton

“Chris supported me in working on understanding how to develop characters for younger audiences. Drawing them simply and with expression all without compromising on my personal aesthetic. He encouraged me to go beyond my usual line work to incorporate more organic textures and colour. The mental struggle to relinquish my ‘creative blankies’ was hard work. Chris gently manoeuvred me into seeing what the possibilities might be for my own method of working by drowning me in his superior knowledge and extensive library! Being a mentee has been a brilliant experience, a rare chance to hone my storytelling skills and have a deeper understanding of character led picture book.”