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9th January 2020

Explorers on Black Ice Bridge illustrated by Tomislav Tomic

The final part of the popular Polar Bears Explorers Trilogy by Alex Bell.

We embark on an icy adventure with Stella Snowflake and the members of The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club with covers designed by Tomislav Tomic. Encounter gargoyles, sea-gremlins, mermaids, red devil squids – even a Gentleman Flamingo! in Explorer’s on Black Ice Bridge, written by Alex Bell and published by Faber and Faber.

Ice princess Stella and her father Felix are in trouble: President Fogg has expelled them from the Polar Bear Explorers’ Club, and banned them from going on any further expeditions.

Stella’s not going to be put off by rules and regulations though. She knows her friend Shay is in danger of turning into a witch wolf himself, since receiving a deadly bite on their last adventure. It’s vital that Stella and her friends set out to find the spellbook that could save his life, even if it means traveling over the cursed Black Ice Bridge.

It’s a formidable and dangerous task, and their journey takes them on a breathtaking, page-turning adventure!

Tomislav has created a highly detailed cover look for this series which certainly has “leap off the shelf” appeal to future adventurer’s looking for a seat gripping story to get stuck in to.

View Tomislav’s online portfolio HERE

We hope you enjoy exploring these books, for more information regarding working with Tomislav please email info@arenaillustraton.com

1st January 2020

Ori’s Stars new picture book by Kristyna Litten

With the chilly whispers of winter in the air we are thrilled to present to you  a stunning picture book with words and illustrations by Kristyna Litten

For younger readers and those seeking a little magic and wonderment, Ori’s Stars written and illustrated by Kristyna Litten and published by Simon and Schuster. It’s iridescent cover bristling with twinkling stars has promise of magic and certainly delivers in bucket loads. Kristyna’s charming main character Ori feels overwhelmed with loneliness out in big dark space, but she happens upon a star providing her with a comforting light, then another and another. Then by chance Ori discovers a creature just like her and together they create more stars and the embers of their friendship ignite and spread to others providing a warming, comforting and affirming tale about friendship.

Kristyna has created an adorable and unique cast of characters for this story, each with huge appeal, they buzz and whizz across the pages like shooting stars and her clever use of the space on the page to depict space and loneliness in contrast to light and love makes this a truly atmospheric and immersive read.

You can follow Kristyna on Twitter and you can also view her fabulous online portfolio HERE


11th December 2019

Happy Christmas from us all at Arena Illustration

We wish all of our wonderful clients and brilliant illustrators a Very Happy Christmas. Hopefully, you will have received your red package with your new desk-top calendar for 2020, brim-full of goodies to look forward to next year. If you haven’t and you’d like one in the post there’s still time to drop us a line.


We’ve had an amazing 2019 with super success stories and brilliant debuts, our illustrators work harder than Santa’s elves to meet deadlines, perform at festivals and events all over the country and still have time for Inktober! We are so proud of their many achievements.


Thanks to TomislavTomic for the beautiful Christmas Tree from his illustrations for The Nutcracker.


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27th November 2019

2019 Summer Reading Challenge Intergalactic Success

A cast of outlandish space-age characters designed by Arena Illustrator Adam Stower became the face of the 2019 Summer Reading Challenge. With statistics now in, Space Chase has proven to be a record-breaking intergalactic success with 722,731 children taking part in libraries across the UK and 21 countries internationally.


The Space Chase campaign launched across the nation in July, encouraging young readers from 4 to 11 to read, borrow and enjoy 6 books over the summer holidays. With a clever inclusive and fun rewards system, engaging activity packs and a cornucopia of eye-catching display material the 2019 challenge was a blast off success from the start. There was even a SPACE BLAST game for children to zap asteroids!


We made a video of Adam talking all about his work on the challenge and his own love of books and libraries.


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So let’s do a bit of mind-boggling number crunching and see just how successful this year’s challenge was… Over 2.5 million library books were read as part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, encouraging over 94,000 children to join the library as new members. An impressive 45% of the participants were boys, despite research suggesting that boys engage less with reading.


The Reading Agency recorded 8,283 downloads of Adam’s Space Chase resources, logos and display material.


“The downloadable resources were absolutely brilliant! Lots of images and resources to help us promote the challenge. The artwork was particularly good this year and helped us to create very eye-catching publicity such as leaflets and even a bus shelter/town centre” A Summer Reading Challenge Librarian.


Adam’s online videos were a huge hit being viewed 4,146 times and the online content featured on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were seen by an impressive 45,651 users. The ‘How to Draw an Alien Friend’ video received a whopping 1,056 entries, alongside the main competition the Reading Agency ran a top secret competition accessed via a secret code featured on the promotional stickers.


“Choosing my favourite thing about this year’s summer reading challenge has been really hard because I‘ve enjoyed all of it. But if I had to choose my favourite part has been learning how to draw an alien with Adam Stower. I love reading books and all of the stickers and rewards were a bonus.” Elliot – Summer Reading Challenge Participant Age 8.


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“The Summer Reading Challenge is about reading for the pleasure of reading. Stories are important because they nourish us and broaden our thinking. Librarians and all those involved in the huge success of the Summer Reading Challenge know how important this is and seek to change lives one book at a time.” – Lauren Child, Children’s Laureate


We are so proud of Adam’s imaginative take on this brilliant brief and hope these characters find a home in a book of their own in the future. The Summer Reading Challenge is an essential initiative, continuing to stoke young book worms and their passion for reading. Hoping to encourage those who perhaps haven’t visited their own local library and support these essential community hubs, long may the Summer Reading Challenge go from strength to strength.


For more information about working with Adam please email info@arenaillustration.com alternatively you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

20th November 2019

P P P Pick up the 3rd Mr Penguin Adventure by Alex T. Smith

Emerging majestically from the deepest depths, the third gripping installment of Alex T Smith’s Mr. Penguin series … (insert dramatic pause)

Mr. Penguin and the Catastrophic Cruise published by Hachette Children’s Books

Alex T Smith Mr Penguin 3

Dressed in his absolute best bow tie Mr. Penguin is boarding a luxury cruise ship. He doesn’t like water, and he can’t swim, but his friend Colin is performing with the Ladies Choir on board – and anyway, Mr Penguin feels like a rest after some busy Adventuring. What’s more, fish finger sandwiches are apparently available twenty-four hours a day. Heaven!

Alex T Smith Mr Penguin 3

But despite the glamorous film stars and party atmosphere, Mr Penguin can’t help but feel that something shifty is happening on board. And when he befriends a young stowaway with a mystery of her own to solve, he soon finds that Adventures are lying in wait after all …


Praise for Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure:

‘Addictive slapstick’ – Guardian

‘The perfect introduction to mystery stories’ – Scotsman


This action-packed adventure series beautifully showcases Alex’s skill for character design and his clever use of the space on the page really brings this hilarious slapstick stories to life. His talent for storytelling is something to behold alongside his masterful illustration skills making this hugely popular series a sure-fire hit with readers young and old.


Here is a selection of some of our favourite illustration pieces from Mr. Penguin and the Catastrophic Cruise,  we think you’ll agree they are tippety top. Alex T Smith Mr Penguin 3Alex T Smith Mr Penguin 3Alex T Smith Mr Penguin 3Alex T Smith Mr Penguin 3Alex T Smith Mr Penguin 3


You can view Alex’s online portfolio HERE, please email info@arenaillustration.com for more information about his work. We also highly recommend following him on Twitter HERE for regular highly entertaining musings and sneak peeks.