University of Brighton arts graduate Lucy Cousins is an acclaimed and popular author-illustrator. She specialises in books for the pre-school age group and has received global success for her work, most notably for her creation Maisy Mouse, but her pictorial narrative talents have been used across a number of projects for children’s books.

Lucy Cousins was born in 1964 and studied for a BA(Hons) Graphic Design at what was then Brighton Polytechnic, before moving to gain a postgraduate degree from the Royal College of Art. Success came soon after leaving college for Lucy Cousins as her character Maisy became an iconic image for children, featuring in a wide range of products and a television programme, complementing the original books, which brought entertainment and education to the under fours.

In 2006 the character Maisy Mouse appeared on an edition of stamps celebrating children’s fictional characters This was a joint venture by the Royal Mail and US Postal Services. Each country had seven home-grown characters and chose one to represent the collection from the other side of the Atlantic. Lucy Cousins’ Maisy had that honour in the US, ahead of Peggy Fortnum’s illustration of Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear and Beatrix Potter’s Jeremy Fisher.

In 2009 Lucy Cousins has been widely praised for ‘Yummy’ (2009) in which a bold, humorous approach to the eating theme is used across a number of fairy tales, adding new zest to the traditional stories and showing her illustrative talents in alternative ways to the well-known Maisy.

For Lucy, the illustrations lead the narrative thread into which words are added with skillful economy. “I draw by heart,” she says. “I think about what children would like by going back to my own childlike instincts… I get more pleasure and inspiration from walking around a primary school than from any art gallery.

Lucy won the Bologna Ragazzi Non-fiction Prize 1997 for Maisy’s House and was Highly Commended for the National Art Illustration Award 1997 for Za Za’s Baby Brother, images from which were also used in a publicity campaign by Tommy’s, the babies’ charity. Jazzy in the Jungle won the Smarties Book Prize in 2002. More recent titles include Hooray for Fish! (2005), and Yummy (2009).