profile picture of Karen Erasmus


Thank you for visiting my about page. I’ll try to keep it brief. Please visit my socials or blog for more information.

In the beginning…

In 2006, when my children were still babies, (they’re huge now!) I returned to college to explore my love of art and drawing. I spent four years trying to learn how to draw well enough to illustrate children’s books. During this time I also ran a local art class which was an absolute joy. In 2011 I was approached by Hachette Children’s Books to illustrate my first book. I can’t tell you how much I leapt about after receiving that phone call!

Since that first contract, my career as an illustrator has been really varied. I have illustrated around 20 children’s picture books for many different publishers and organisations. My home surroundings and three busy children have always helped to give me ideas for scenes and characters.

Creativity and exploration have always been part of me. I started travelling at the age of 18, living in The Nederlands and Israel. After graduating as a teacher I volunteered in Eritrea, East Africa for a year. I travelled on to Australia where I met my husband and returned to London. But the travelling didn’t stop there. We lived in Africa with our first child before migrating permanently to Melbourne.

I always carried a visual journal and a few art materials to record my adventures but it wasn’t until I had my own children that I started pursuing a career in illustration.

So what is Surface Pattern Design?

At the end of each picture book comes the time to consider the picture book end-papers. These are the illustrations you see just inside the cover of a picture book. They often take motifs from the illustrations in the book and are put together to create a pattern. This is where I discovered Surface Pattern Design. I had always loved the idea of creating patterns for fabrics but didn’t know it was possible. I started taking many many classes on Skillshare to develop my skills and knowledge in using Adobe Illustrator.  The beautiful world of surface pattern design opened up for me and through months of exploration and practice my style began to emerge.

Where do I work?

I’m really lucky to be able to work from home. I have a small studio with a computer and another table for drawing and sewing. My dogs keep me company and I pop out to the garden to check on the chickens during my breaks. The scene below is from ‘Eva’s Imagination’ by Wenda Shurety . It’s very similar to the space I work in at home.

Illustration by Karen Erasmus. A digital picture book illustration from 'Eva's Imagination'