Interview with Mandy Sutcliffe, illustrator for Belle and Boo


 FA: How did you first start off?

MS: I used to illustrate children’s books, and then I decided to put some of my own illustrations up on Etsy, an online marketplace.  I did that back in 2006, under the name of Milly Molly Mandy, and it was a good time because it was far less saturated than it is now.  Within 10 minutes of setting up the shop I had made a sale!

FA: So how did the Belle and Boo name come about?

MS: Well the two main characters are a little girl called Belle and a rabbit called Boo.  I couldn’t use the Milly Molly Mandy name once I got better known for copyright reasons, and now I can’t imagine the brand being called anything else. 

FA: Where do you get your inspiration from?

MS: I tend to already have an idea in my mind of what I want to draw, but then I’ll flick through vintage illustrations, and think back to my old story books from when I was young, and just create from there.

FA: What do you think is the appeal of your illustrations?

MS: People love nostalgia, and love harking back to the good old days, so I think that helps.  It’s the parents who buy my illustrations, really.  When I was little, I would see a picture in a story book that I loved, but I couldn’t tear it out and put it on my wall.  With my illustrations, children can have their favourite pictures up on their walls and imagine themselves in them too.  It’s all about capturing their imagination.

FA: How has the brand developed since you started?

MS: It has developed a bit back to front really.  I started with the illustrations, and then I got approached by publishers who had seen my work on Etsy and were keen for me to develop them into stories.  I have a self published activity book which is coming out next month, which is really exciting.

FA: What’s been your best moment so far?

MS: Every week something exciting happens, but I’d have to say one of the best moments was when Jules Oliver bought five of my illustrations for her children.  That was lovely.

FA: And finally, sum up the Belle and Boo brand in three words.

MS: Nostalgia, joyful and friendship. 

Belle and Boo is stocked in Yummies in Brighton, Red Door Gallery in Edinburgh, The Beanstork in Wincester and Ten Little Monkeys in Cheshire as well as having a distribution team in Australia.  For more information, visit

Fiona Anderson

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