17 January 2024

Hannah Riordan Illustrates Lift-the-Flap Book for Lonely Planet

Posted in: Children's books, Illustration, Jobs

Hannah Riordan has illustrated Let’s Play Sports – a book by Lonely Planet exploring famous and lesser-known sports from across the world. Aimed at children 3-5+, Hannah employed a use of bright colours and wide, expansive scenes to keep readers engaged and bring these far-off sports to life.

We caught up with her to learn more about the project.

Can you give me a rundown of the project?

I was commissioned by Lonely Planet kids to Illustrate a non-fiction interactive flap-book called ‘Let’s Play Sports’. Written by Kate Baker, it is the third book in a series following ‘A Place Called Home’ and ‘A Time to Celebrate’. Through over 40 interactive flaps, the book takes you through 8 different sports and sporting locations around the world. It gives young readers an exciting insight into different sports and the rules and kit used to play them. I worked with the art director and paper engineer, Andy Mansfield who designed the flaps for the book.

How did you decide on the colour palettes and perspective of each image? 

I spent a long time deciding on a colour palette as I wanted a colour scheme that was consistent across all the pages, yet versatile enough that each page would have a different energy. I researched lots of different kits and equipment colour combos from the sports covered in the book, and created a fun scheme inspired by these that would work across each sport.  There are some pretty fabulous golf outfits out there which were a particularly great source of inspiration!

Having flaps to work with was such a gift as an Illustrator as it meant I could depict multiple perspectives in a single page. This allowed me to capture the vast scale of a baseball field and close ups of the kit and the player’s actions simultaneously.

Did you face any challenges creating them? 

I am the least sporty person alive so I had a lot of learning to do in order to understand the sports enough to be able to illustrate them! Thanks to some thorough briefs, authors notes and and a few too many wikiHow searches l got there! I found trying to illustrate the action in different sporting moves challenging as I wanted my characters to look dynamic. I watched a lot of videos of sporting moves in slow motion and found this to be a really helpful reference.


Are there any sports you’re dying to play or places you’re dying to visit now? 

I’ve always wanted to try surfing because it looks so exhilarating. I’ll have to save up for a trip down under though for the full experience because I’m not sure I’m hardy enough to brave the North Sea!

Which is your favourite illustration and why?

I enjoying creating every page as each scene was so unique. Although, if I had to pick one, I’d have to say ice hockey because I absolutely love illustrating winter scenes. All the sports kits were so fun to make up too. I think I’ve discovered a new passion for sport wear design!