2 July 2024

Laura Barrett Creates New Mary Poppins Illustrations

Posted in: Children's books, Publishing

Adding ‘a spoonful of sugar’ to the classic children’s character, Laura Barrett has illustrated four Mary Poppins characters for the reissued editions of the renowned series. We talk to Laura about her latest work with Harper Collins:

Could you give a brief rundown of the project? 

I was commissioned by Hannah Marshall, a designer at HarperCollins, to illustrate four Mary Poppins characters for reissued editions of the iconic children’s classic series. Hannah had designed the layout and illustrated frames (using stock images), and wanted some figures to tie them all together and bring her to life! I’d never read the books before but felt like I knew the character inside out, since she’s so much a part of that stereotypical ‘British’ childhood culture.

Did you have any overarching elements to consider when making each illustration? 
Hannah already had the first Mary Poppins book cover completed, with a vintage silhouette of the much-loved character in her most iconic pose, floating off with her umbrella. I was tasked with making sure that my characters were similarly styled, in Mary’s elegant formal coat and hat, with her parrot-headed umbrella and traditional bag.

Which is your favourite illustration and why? 
My favourite cover is Mary Poppins Opens the Door, as I enjoyed trying to make her look refined and engaged in her book – but also add a whimsical touch – with her umbrella on full show.

Did you find it challenging to capture any of the silhouettes? 
Trying to keep enough continuity between each cover, in terms of the character’s likeness and proportions was tricky. It was also a challenge to make sure that the silhouette for Mary Poppins Comes Back looked like she was floating gently downwards rather than up – I think it’s all in the positioning of her heels!