THE ILLUSTRATORS TODAY : BUTTERWORTH, NICK (Born 1946)

Nick Butterworth has concentrated on children’s books since 1980, initially in collaboration with Mick Inkpen. read more...
Nick Butterworth has concentrated on children’s books since 1980, initially in collaboration with Mick Inkpen. He remains best known for the series featuring Percy the Park Keeper, which began in 1989 with One Snowy Night. He is now a partner in a production company, Snapper, which aims to produce high quality animation for children’s television. Q Pootle 5, a little alien character first introduced in book form in 2000, is in development.
Nick Butterworth was born in Kingsbury, North London, but moved to Romford, Essex, at the age of three when his parents took over a confectionery and newsagent. The shop gave him unlimited access to a wide range of inspiring comics, and from an early age he filled sketchbooks with cartoons. This talent for drawing was encouraged by his art teacher. Then, on leaving school, he trained as a typographic designer in the printing department of the National Children’s Home. After working for several major design consultancies, including Pentagram, he formed a graphics partnership with other artists, including Mike Inkpen. Illustration proved such an important element of his work that, in 1980, he decided to concentrate on books for children. The reactions of his own son and daughter helped him to hone his texts and images to robust youthful tastes. On completing his first book, B B Blacksheep & Company, he began to produce the ‘Upney Junction’ strip for the Sunday Express Magazine. The success of the strip led to live appearances on the new TV-AM, telling and illustrating stories on Sunday mornings. Most of the stories were written by Mike Inkpen, who then developed as his regular partner in work on books, greetings’ cards and television programmes. Some of the illustrations for these projects were produced collaboratively, Butterworth drawing the line and Inkpen adding colour. However, Butterworth now tends to work alone. He is probably best known for the series featuring Percy the Park Keeper, which began in 1989 with One Snowy Night, while another of his acclaimed books, QPootle5, is likely to be animated for children’s television. Though he dislikes children’s books that moralise, he hopes that his work conveys the values of friendship and kindness. He also believes that good design is essential to the success of a book, and has stated:

To open the cover of such a book is like opening a doorway into a world of imagination where the things that happen have the effect of sending the reader back to the real world with a new sense of possibilities.


Recent publications include Annette Butterworth, Jake Our Hero (in the ‘Adventures of Jake’ series, Catnip) published in 2009; and Trixie (Puffin), published the same year.
In 2012, Nick Butterworth published four books in a series for Collins Baby & Toddler, entitled
When We Go Shopping, When There’s Work to Do, When We Play Together and When It’s Time for Bed. His most recent publication is The Fox’s Tale with Mick Inkpen.
I USUALLY GET A LOT OF HELP WHEN I'M INVENTING BUT IT'S STRANGE HOW SOME HELP CAN ACTUALLY MAKE THINGS TAKE LONGER by NICK BUTTERWORTH

I USUALLY GET A LOT OF HELP WHEN I'M INVENTING BUT IT'S STRANGE HOW SOME HELP CAN ACTUALLY MAKE THINGS TAKE LONGER

THE SWINGS ON THE PLAYGROUND ARE LITTLE BIT LOW FOR ME. THAT'S WAY I MADE THIS ONE FOR MYSELF. IT HANGS FROM A BRANCH OF A TALL BEECH TREE AT THE EDGE OF THE PARK. HAVE A GO, IF YOU COME ACROSS IT, BUT HANG ON TIGHT ... IT GOES REALLY HIGH! by NICK BUTTERWORTH

THE SWINGS ON THE PLAYGROUND ARE LITTLE BIT LOW FOR ME. THAT'S WAY I MADE THIS ONE FOR MYSELF. IT HANGS FROM A BRANCH OF A TALL BEECH TREE AT THE EDGE OF THE PARK. HAVE A GO, IF YOU COME ACROSS IT, BUT HANG ON TIGHT ... IT GOES REALLY HIGH!

ONCE OR TWICE, I HAVE KNOWN A RABBIT OR A MOUSE TO CREEP ALONGSIDE ME. PERHAPS THEY WANTED TO DO SOME THINKING TOO by NICK BUTTERWORTH

ONCE OR TWICE, I HAVE KNOWN A RABBIT OR A MOUSE TO CREEP ALONGSIDE ME. PERHAPS THEY WANTED TO DO SOME THINKING TOO

PERCY by NICK BUTTERWORTH

PERCY

ONE DAY, THERE WAS A FIRE AND THE GREAT HOUSE BURNT DOWN. THERE ARE STILL SOME BITS OF IT THAT YOU CAN SEE, BUT NOT ONE WOULD WANT TO LIVE THERE NOW by NICK BUTTERWORTH

ONE DAY, THERE WAS A FIRE AND THE GREAT HOUSE BURNT DOWN. THERE ARE STILL SOME BITS OF IT THAT YOU CAN SEE, BUT NOT ONE WOULD WANT TO LIVE THERE NOW

PERCY'S FRIEND THE OWL by NICK BUTTERWORTH

PERCY'S FRIEND THE OWL

THE OWL DOESN'T LIKE HATS. SHE SAYS THAT, GENERALLY SPEAKING, 
THEY DON'T SUIT HER. BUT SHE DOES LIKE PARTY HATS by NICK BUTTERWORTH

THE OWL DOESN'T LIKE HATS. SHE SAYS THAT, GENERALLY SPEAKING, THEY DON'T SUIT HER. BUT SHE DOES LIKE PARTY HATS

JUST BEFORE TAKE OFF, STANDING ON THE TOP OF A BRANCH OF A TALL TREE WITH THE WIND RUFFLING YOUR FEATHERS ... WELL, THE OWL SAYS THERE'S NO BETTER PLACE TO BE by NICK BUTTERWORTH

JUST BEFORE TAKE OFF, STANDING ON THE TOP OF A BRANCH OF A TALL TREE WITH THE WIND RUFFLING YOUR FEATHERS ... WELL, THE OWL SAYS THERE'S NO BETTER PLACE TO BE

BUT WHAT IF EVERYBODY CAME?
WE'D NEED A LOT, LOT MORE.
AND TABLES WOULDN'T BE MUCH USE,
WE'D ALL SIT ON THE FLOOR by NICK BUTTERWORTH

BUT WHAT IF EVERYBODY CAME? WE'D NEED A LOT, LOT MORE. AND TABLES WOULDN'T BE MUCH USE, WE'D ALL SIT ON THE FLOOR

IN THE MORNING, I FOUND HER STILL HOLDING ON. SHE HADN'T NOTICED THAT SHE HAD SWUNG UPSIDE DOWN. WE DON'T TALK ABOUT IT by NICK BUTTERWORTH

IN THE MORNING, I FOUND HER STILL HOLDING ON. SHE HADN'T NOTICED THAT SHE HAD SWUNG UPSIDE DOWN. WE DON'T TALK ABOUT IT

I KNOW THE OWL LIKES TO FLY HIGH ABOVE THE TREE TOPS ON A WINDY DAY by NICK BUTTERWORTH

I KNOW THE OWL LIKES TO FLY HIGH ABOVE THE TREE TOPS ON A WINDY DAY

I WONDER IF YOU ARE ANY BETTER AT NOTICING THINGS THAN THE OWL. THE MIRROR IS VERY STRANGE, IT CHANGES THINGS. CAN YOU SEE NINE THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT IN THE MIRROR'S REFLECTION? (THE OWL ONLY SPOTTED FOUR.) by NICK BUTTERWORTH

I WONDER IF YOU ARE ANY BETTER AT NOTICING THINGS THAN THE OWL. THE MIRROR IS VERY STRANGE, IT CHANGES THINGS. CAN YOU SEE NINE THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT IN THE MIRROR'S REFLECTION? (THE OWL ONLY SPOTTED FOUR.)

PERCY'S FRIENDS THE MICE by NICK BUTTERWORTH

PERCY'S FRIENDS THE MICE

MY FRIENDLY OLD WHEELBARROW LOOKS MUCH MORE SCARY WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT THE WAY THEY SEE IT. WATCH YOUR TAIL, LITTLE MOUSE! BY THE WAY, THAT BLACK LUMP IS ONE OF MY BOOTS by NICK BUTTERWORTH

MY FRIENDLY OLD WHEELBARROW LOOKS MUCH MORE SCARY WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT THE WAY THEY SEE IT. WATCH YOUR TAIL, LITTLE MOUSE! BY THE WAY, THAT BLACK LUMP IS ONE OF MY BOOTS

THE MICE REALLY LIKE ... CHOCOLATE! I THOUGHT IT WAS THE FOX WHO HAD BEEN EATING MY EASTER EGG. I WAS WRONG! by NICK BUTTERWORTH

THE MICE REALLY LIKE ... CHOCOLATE! I THOUGHT IT WAS THE FOX WHO HAD BEEN EATING MY EASTER EGG. I WAS WRONG!

THE MICE REALLY LIKE ... CHEERING PEOPLE UP. THEY BROUGHT THIS DAFFODIL FOR ME WHEN I WAS FEELING POORLY by NICK BUTTERWORTH

THE MICE REALLY LIKE ... CHEERING PEOPLE UP. THEY BROUGHT THIS DAFFODIL FOR ME WHEN I WAS FEELING POORLY

THE MICE REALLY LIKE ... SNOWBALL FIGHTS. WELL, NOT WITH BIG SNOWBALLS ANYWAY! by NICK BUTTERWORTH

THE MICE REALLY LIKE ... SNOWBALL FIGHTS. WELL, NOT WITH BIG SNOWBALLS ANYWAY!

WITH TWO PLASTIC SPOONS AND A FEW PEAS, THEY HAVE ALL THEY NEED FOR A GAME OF MOUSE TENNIS! by NICK BUTTERWORTH

WITH TWO PLASTIC SPOONS AND A FEW PEAS, THEY HAVE ALL THEY NEED FOR A GAME OF MOUSE TENNIS!

GOODNESS. IS IT THAT TIME ALREADY? by NICK BUTTERWORTH

GOODNESS. IS IT THAT TIME ALREADY?

A COSY PLACE FOR A RIDE IN WINTER. AND IF IT SNOWS, YOU MIGHT FIND THEM IN THE FOX'S EARS! by NICK BUTTERWORTH

A COSY PLACE FOR A RIDE IN WINTER. AND IF IT SNOWS, YOU MIGHT FIND THEM IN THE FOX'S EARS!