Every picture tells a story

a different way of illustrating ELT books

The English Language Teaching (ELT) business is big. These days, with online content, it’s not just about books but they are still a major part. And Macmillan Education have a significant market share.

ELT books are kind of bitty. They have lots of small images made by an army of freelance illustrators to compliment vocab lists and sentence structure exercises. Page layouts look busy and over-filled. Macmillan wanted to try something different with this series of three books.

In each book we follow a group of characters through a single fantastical adventure, travelling in time, space and imagination. Unusually I got to illustrate everything, giving the books a stylistic unity. I was encouraged to make large images over double-page spreads, with lots of detail. The illustrations have to flow with the narrative, and work with the text, so page layouts are more organic and less grid-like.

I’m quite proud how they turned out. But I don’t think the idea caught on.


  • Macmillan Education


  • Illustration