Illustrator and book designer, Chantal Bourgonje, is the creative brilliance behind our bright and beautiful Easter Bunny and the Lost Toys Trail illustrations.

From spritely Easter Bunny, to endearing Joules bear and the cranky-faced Goose – Chantal shares where she gets her inspiration and explains how each of her characters are lovingly developed in her Wiltshire studio.

Chantal Bourgonje in her Wiltshire studio

Have you always wanted to be an illustrator?

Yes, I have almost always wanted to be an illustrator and a writer too. It happened when I was about 5 years old and was given “Tom Kitten” by Beatrix Potter. To me that was so beautiful that I wanted to make such lovely books too. For a little while, because of a Brothers Grimm fairy-tale I was in love with, called “The Goose Girl”, I wanted to be a goose herder (the idea being that I’d marry the prince of course).

My favourite thing about being an illustrator is that I get to draw and read and write stories. Next to my dogs and nature, those are my favourite things in life and I get to do them as my job! How wonderful is that?

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get most of my inspiration from nature. Animals, the countryside, woodland, rivers and streams, flowers, the natural world. There is such a wealth of beauty to be found in the world around us.

I am very lucky to live out in the countryside and that I can see rabbits, badgers, foxes, deer, shrews, mice, squirrels and a wide variety of birds from and in our garden. It is delightful to draw them and to make them into little characters in my mind.

Sometimes a character stays in my mind and I get to know them more and more (for example, what do they like? How old are they? Where do they live? Have they got special skills or desires? What is their favourite food?) – and little stories start to form.

Easter Bunny & the Lost Toys Trail

What steps did you take to create the Easter trail illustrations?

  • First, I sketched my ideas in pencil and worked on these, making changes until everyone was happy with how they looked.
  • After this, I redrew the images very carefully with a thin pencil line and inked them with a dip pen and waterproof black Indian Ink.
  • When the ink was fully dry, I erased the pencil lines and painted the images with watercolours.
  • When the watercolours were dry, I scanned the images and tidied things up in Photoshop – for the Easter trail we needed a transparent background, so in this case that meant deleting any bit of background there was using Photoshop.
  • Finally, I sent over all the artwork so it could be used for the Easter trail.
Easter sketches

Do you have any top tips to share for budding illustrators?

  • Draw, draw and draw some more, especially from life. Draw the people and animals around you and the environment they are in.
  • Make up your own stories and draw pictures for your stories.
  • Look at lots of illustrated books, learn from others whose work you enjoy looking at. What do they do that you like so much? And how can you make that work in your own drawing? But make sure you create your own style and stay true to yourself.
  • If possible, do a degree in illustration, so that you get a good, all-round skill set for being an illustrator and also understand the business side of being an illustrator.

Find out more about Chantal and discover more of her beautiful illustrations at

The Easter Bunny leads the lost toys holding a golden egg