bringing Mary to life on the page

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With just a week to go until publication by Egmont UK of Mostly Mary and All Mary, I’ll be posting a special little something every day to celebrate. We will go behind the scenes for sneak previews and never-seen-before drawings. We will get to know Mary, orphan bear cub from the bear pits of Berne Zoo. meet her friends and family, and even visit the bear pits themselves.
There will be rosettes and condensed milk and iced buns. And there will be meringues, OF COURSE. What kind of party would it be without meringues?

Welcome to Mary’s world!

No one could have exactly missed just how much love I have for Mary Plain.
But what would it be like to bring her to life on the page, after all this time of planning and hoping?
She has had two illustrators before, in the 30’s and 60’s, very much of their time.
But it’s the stories her fans seem to remember her for. I felt as if there was a clean sheet of paper and a fresh start for me.
I have described her as

both bear-like and child-like, a perfect combination, an enormous personality all wrapped up in a small, pointy-eared, browny-grey furry package. She can be willful and impossible, with an unsquashable ego and an insatiable appetite. But she is also funny, irrepressibly optimistic and utterly endearing.

There has been a little sketch of Mary up on my studio wall for ages and ages…




poor small bear cub, very down when she is down, but fortunately…




very up when she is up, which is mostly!

This is a very early character study of Mary. Here is the white rosette and the gold medal, the pointy ears and the round tum.




She has changed a little bit since, though. Her body has more energy now, I think. Because to really get to know my characters I need to see them up on their feet and on the move.

Come back tomorrow for TINY BEARS!


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