Angie Morgan

Angie Morgan

About Author

Angie Morgan is a picture book writer and illustrator. Besides Shouty Arthur, her work includes Enormouse and Daisy's Big Dig for Frances Lincoln. The second book about Arthur and his big sister Edith, Shouty Arthur at the Seaside, will publish in March 2015.

Angie uses a variety of mediums in her work - pastels and charcoal, Photoshop, scanned ephemera and watercolours. She draws on her large collection of old letters, tins, fabrics, books and other bits and pieces inherited from her mother, to whom she's grateful for her hoarding instinct, which has left her with such a library of treasures to work with.




MAY 2014

Shouty Arthur is a funny look at young children and wildlife and what happens when you try to mix the two. It is a must-read picture book for any nursery or reception class that's about to embark on a mini-beast hunt or wildlife topic, emphasising as it does the need to be quiet and careful if you want to get close-up to nature.


Edith is busy reading her book about wildlife when she is interrupted by her little brother, Arthur, who wants to know what her book is about. She agrees to show him some wildlife but reminds him, 'Wildlife doesn't like loud noises'. Arthur promises to be 'as quiet as a mouse' but of course things don't go to plan and Arthur can't help but frighten away the squirrels, rabbits and frogs with his shouting.

"We haven't see any wildlife yet, Edith!" shouted Arthur.
"That's because you're too shouty," said Edith. "You promised to be quiet."
"Being quiet is very hard," said Arthur.

Only when he's asleep does Edith have a chance to see some wildlife for herself, although later that evening Arthur does finally manage to glimpse a few nocturnal creatures and to realise that 'Wildlife is Brilliant!' rather than boring.

About Shouty Arthur:

The idea for Shouty Arthur stemmed from her own young family's experiences in nature and from talking to other parents, says author and illustrator Angie Morgan, who is also behind picture books Enormouse and Daisy's Big Dig.

She says, "After talking to other people I found that everyone has a 'shouty' person in their family, whether that's a grown up or a child. In our family it was my son when he was younger. He had this incredibly exuberant nature and school was a challenge for him. It wasn't that he was naughty, he just didn't understand why he had to sit still and couldn't jump around."

When the family moved from London to Bath, they lived briefly in a very rural location and they would take the children out for walks to see the country. "One day I remember saying, 'there are some rabbits' and my son charged through the hedges shouting that he wanted to see them! Of course the rabbits promptly disappeared."

She wanted to have Arthur repeating a phrase through the story, and again her son provided the inspiration for this. "I wasn't sure what to have him saying until I remembered my own son jumping out from behind trees and hedges waving his sword at me and shouting, 'On guard, you old lady!' so then I had Arthur shouting, 'Come out, you old rabbits / squirrels / frogs'.

Arthur's big sister Edith is also inspired by her family, this time her older daughter. "Edith is so used to him that she's not phased by his behaviour and she's very patient with him," Morgan says. "It's a bit how my daughter used to deal with her younger brother, who could be quite alarming, but she didn't bat an eyelid." Other books about Arthur will follow, including Arthur's day spent at the seaside and a birthday spent at school.

Morgan trained in graphic design and more recently, decided to revisit and practice her artwork. Her earlier titles have included lots of people, as in Daisy's Big Dig, and this time we see lots of animals and bugs. Morgan says, "I think animals are probably easier to draw than humans, especially grown ups; my grown ups always end up looking very sensible. Having said that, I found the toads in the nocturnal scenes the hardest things to draw in this book. It was only when I started drawing them that I realised how weird they look but I think if you work hard at any animal, you can draw most of them."

She uses different techniques to help create the textures of the animals - and other objects - on the pages. "I like to use lots of different textures because I want something on the pages that isn't just colouring in so I've developed a technique where I scan in a photograph of something else and use that instead of painting it in. I think children like to see different textures across a page and you can encourage them to see how many 'real' things they can spot on a spread.

"For example, I've taken photographs of my daughter's fluffy toys and used that as the texture for the rabbits' fur. So I trace the outline of the rabbit, cut out the centre using photoshop and I drop in the photograph of the fluffy toy's fur. As long as you can fit it into the scanner, you can use anything you want to create special textures. For another book I needed a texture for a capstone that you tie a boat to and I took that from the bottom of a baking tin!"

Morgan also likes to have things through the story that children to find. "Originally I was going to ask children to find a woodlouse and there is a woodlouse on several of the pages in Shouty Arthur; I like the way they just go about their business in a very unconcerned way. But we then decided that a ladybird would be easier to find."

She adds, "I'm very pro wildlife and at home we're always rescuing birds and bugs, I've even raised two fledgling blackbirds at different times. We reared them, fed them, and taught them how to fly and to catch worms" (achieved by putting some soil in a baking tray with worms hidden in it). Both eventually flew off and never returned.

Morgan is now writing a young fiction title for seven to nine year olds, about a group of children in the Dark Ages. "I went back in time because I didn't want to deal with all the gadgets and mobile phones that children have now. Instead, there's a lot of mud in my story...."

She is illustrating the book "along the lines of Mr Gum". "There are more books for slightly older readers now with illustrations and I think that publishers are realising that illustrations help to make books more accessible for younger children and also for reluctant readers," she explains. "I worked in a secondary school for a period doing library sessions and the boys all wanted to read comics but they had to read 'proper' books, so those who found reading harder would pick up books like Mr Gum and Cressida Cowell's How To Train Your Dragon series.

She adds, "Children used to grow up reading book after book because there was nothing else to do, now they are on tablets and their phones. Everything that is available to them is very multi-layered so now they want pictures as well as words. Also there are lots of children who need books with more grown-up content but which still have pictures to support their reading. There used to be a huge gap in the market here but that is now being filled."

Author's Titles