Day in the life of Annemarie van Haeringen

Annemarie van Haeringen, author and illustrator of My Mama, took over our Instagram on Wednesday 6th May. She shared her day including showing sketches and images from her new book and some upcoming projects.

Read on to take a look and find out more about her creative process.

Annemarie with goatsI’m Annemarie van Haeringen, on Gecko Press Instagram for the day. At the moment I am locked down in the Netherlands. Luckily for me, with my goats Sneeuwwitje (Snow White) and Aap (Monkey). They have no clue what’s going on and behave the same as ever.

Sneeuwwitje and Aap don’t ask difficult questions, only the usual ones:
“Is the hay coming or what?”
“Is that all? We need more goat grains!”
“Look at me!”
Aap: “You know I don’t eat cabbage—is there any asparagus?”*

* only the bits we don’t eat…

This is the first sketch of the mama elephant from My Mama.

My Mama sketch

The pattern I used for her dress is one from Mongolia called “favorable cloud”.

My Mama dress pattern

I make my storyboards loosely, with many ideas on the page, and then more detailed roughs of each spread.

My Mama storyboards

This little elephant appears in a number of my books and I’ve made some colouring sheets that feature him. If you have some children to entertain, you can download this and another one from the Gecko Press website.

My Mama colouring sheet piggy back rideMy Mama colouring sheet balloonsColour in baby elephant enjoying a piggy back ride on Mama’s back.

Colour in mischievous baby elephant floating up and away because of holding all those balloons!



This is my favourite drawing ink and dish (my mother’s china…)

My Mama ink penMy Mama ink pot

I don’t always draw with ink. For a recent book, The Day the Dragon Disappeared (De dag waarop de draak verdween), I drew all the images with Bic pens.

This is one of the final images, a page from my sketchbook, and the pens (I used a lot!)

Annemarie finished drawingAnnemarie sketchbookBiros

These sketches are from my most recent picture book, also about the little elephant. It’s called ‘Papa, ik word later rijk’ (Dad, when I grow up I’m gonna be rich).

My Papa 1My Papa 2 My Papa 3

Goodbye from me and the elephants! (My mom only had four daughters… perhaps this could have happened if she’d had a son?)

My Mama watering

Good night, Annemarie!

My Mama goodnight

My Mama is available where all good books are sold and on our website.

Follow Gecko Press on Instagram for more author and illustrator takeovers, previews of our upcoming and new titles, and lots of Gecko Press fun.