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Naughty Paddington – Lovely You!

Gosh, what a week!

I knew that the pictures of the book in Paddington 2, when compared to the pictures of my Pop-Up London book kind of spoke for themselves, but I really didn’t expect such a strong reaction!

On Wednesday, The Telegraph covered the story in their news section and online, the journalist I spoke to could not have been more sincere, professional and supportive. The facts were correct and the article was sensitive and rightly cautious.

On Thursday, The Mail Online ran with it, sadly I didn’t get to speak to anyone, so a few facts were incorrect. My actual fee that I quoted Studio Canal was 30k to be split between myself and the paper engineer for 6 months of solid work, not as The Mail stated, purely 30k for me (I wish!) and the reason I didn’t get the job was actually unrelated to my fee, here’s the line from Studio Canal’s email:

“I think that we are planning on going with the graphics company that could not only illustrate the book, but also make the physical copies.”

This seemed perfectly reasonable and honestly, I didn’t mind at all, until…

I saw the trailer in a cinema with my Mother and daughters, they didn’t notice as they were busy chatting and as I didn’t want to spoil the day, I kept quiet, however, I was clearly deeply distracted as leaving the cinema car parking space, I reversed into another car! Then the tears came and I had to come clean.

It was upsetting to say the least.

There have been so many generous offers of legal help and advice, suggestions of crowd funding, insurance against losses and legal representation for me. I am SO incredibly grateful for all of these offers and have been overwhelmed by people’s kindness, it has completely restored my belief that the majority of us are good people. Really good people.

I decided against facing the High Courts, not only because of the huge financial risks involved, but also, judging by the correspondence we had received (I was represented by the wonderful Teacher Stern), the defence would be incredibly bullish and fierce. The case could take weeks or months and not living in London, being Freelance and having a family, would hold its own complications and implications.

I was advised that there was a strong chance that they would settle (and hopefully apologise) out of court, but after months of legal correspondence they were very firm in their denial and we reached a brick wall.

So I took a deep breath and decided to ‘go public’ as I believed, to do nothing at all, would be an act of complete submission.

I feel so strongly that as Artists we are treated with huge disrespect. We are underpaid (“we have no budget, but will tweet/Instagram about it” is a usual response to payment) and we are copied. Cases of plagiarism by the big companies of small individual creatives are more and more frequent.

So for the sake of this wonderful creative community, I decided I just had to make this known and if in some small way, my story can help prevent further imitations of Artists work, then all of the upset and horror of it all will have in the end, been kind of worth it…

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‘Naughty Paddington’!

So.. I have reached the end of a legal road with the ‘Copycat Meanies’ at Studio Canal Productions. They are refusing to discuss this further and the only option would be to go to court and I have decided to spare myself the stress this would inevitably cause me.

Bear (no pun intended) in mind that they contacted me first, saying how much they loved my work and asking me to produce a Pop Up London Book for Paddington 2. I didn’t ‘get the gig’ and thought nothing more of it – until I saw the film.

But enough words from me. I think the pictures below speak for themselves, so I will just leave them here so you can make your own minds up….



Above, it is not only the mechanism which bears an uncanny resemblance to my book (pictured on the right), but also the artwork, which in my humble opinion is very similar, black line drawing with a background wash….

‘Paddington’s Pop Up London’ Book – Buckingham palace on the left.

‘Jennie Maizels’ Pop Up London’ Book – Buckingham palace on the right.

Below, Trafalgar square, can you tell which is which?

As you can see from below, when they said they liked my work, clearly it wasn’t just the London book they ‘liked’…

Pop Up London (Published by Walker Books 2012) 

Anyway, I had a WONDERFUL friend who is a deeply talented QC help me with this legal journey, so I have been very lucky. He wisely advised me to refrain from ‘going public’, but now we have reached a point where I can go no further. I feel VERY strongly that this blatant copying of artists’ work HAS TO STOP, so I have decided that now is the time to ‘put it out there’. It is all too common, I see copycat products around all the time. Please ask the artist to create the work for you. It’s their job and it’s THEIR work.

Thank you for reading and I hope nothing like this ever happens to you.



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Thank you ‘Being a Mummy’ Blog!

I love following @zooarchaeologis on Twitter and her blog ‘Being a Mummy’ is beautifully written and really inspiring and also, a very useful recourse when choosing books for children.

Her review of The Times tables and Great Grammar Books is wonderful, you can read it in full here.

Just look at her two gorgeous boys playing with the Five Times Tables spread! How sweet!


Thank you so much for interviewing me and for the lovely review! xxx Jennie

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Interview from Se7en Blog, all the way from South Africa!

A while ago, through the magic of Instagram, a lovely lady from Cape Town, who has SEVEN children, got in touch about doing a piece on her wonderful blog.

They are a wonderful family, who, happily, read lots of books and generally seem to live an idyllic and wonderful life.

Thank you so much for interviewing me! Here is the interview in full:


Se7en Interviews Illustrator Jennie Maizels…

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We (really really) Love The Good Life Experience!

Oh my goodness, what an AMAZING weekend we had at The Good Life Experience.

This was our second time bringing Sketchbook Club to the festival. It was lovely to see how word had obviously spread since last year as the numbers had more than doubled! It was buzzing; a wonderful atmosphere, everyone was so cheerful and friendly and happily for me, so eager to learn more about Sketchbooks!


We were in Makers Row, but as you can see, we were very squashed and had to turn lots of people away (sorry sorry!), but fear not, lovely Charlie Gladstone has promised us a whole tent to ourselves next year!


This year we were lucky enough to have three extremely over qualified helpers, Suzy, Kirsty and Anna Houser (two twins and their mother, who looks about their age!). Kirsty is an illustrator, Anna, a textiles designer and Suzy runs an art gallery and is a set designer, they were AMAZING! I hope we can persuade them to come again next year.


As soon as we opened, we were full, full, full. Non stop and packed to the corners of our little tent space. Everyone was so incredibly focused, I was overwhelmed by their talent and their outstanding creative abilities, just look at those Helter-skelter paintings!


We painted, dogs, castles, flags, leaves and much more (look at some of the lovely leaves below), everyone was given instructions as to how to finish the sketchbooks around the festival over the weekend. On Sunday, it was really special because so many of you came and showed me your completed sketchbooks, it meant so much and I absolutely loved seeing them.



So, thank you. Thank you The good Life Experience; Charlie, Caroline, Vicky and Cerys, for having us and for making us feel so welcome, but above all, thank you to all those who came and worked on Sketchbooks with me. I met so many wonderful people and so many adorable and delightful children! It was so wonderful to meet you all, can you spot yourself in my Sketchbook Cub Hall of Fame…?


Thank you and I can’t wait see you all next year! xxx Jennie

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Back To School!

I can’t believe the summer has flown by so quickly! Are you all sad that the children are going back to school? I certainly am. I will miss the lazy mornings and the just ‘hanging around’ with them and not having to nag about homework or bedrooms…

So to cheer us all up, here are some fun ideas to launch everyone back into the old routine…

Happy Back To School Folks! xxxxx


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A Half Term Sketchbook Club Competition!!

I am SO excited to be holding a Half Term Sketchbook Club Competition!
I have written a special Sketchbook Club challenge (shown below) for children (max age 16) to complete over half term, either at home or on holiday.
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The winner will be the child who has created, in my opinion, the best Sketchbook page/spread and will receive a set of my favourite pencils and two sketchbooks!

Pencils_FullSizeRender_Reduced     Sketchbook Club - Course 2    Bugs    TeaParty
The winner will be announced on Wednesday June the 8th.

Please share your creations using the hashtag #HalfTermSketchbookClub so we can see all the entries (or email them to if not on Instagram or Twitter).

Have a wonderful Half Term! We can’t wait to see what you create!

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Treat Yourself to Gilly and Jennie’s BIG Creative Weekend!!

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Come and spend the weekend of 24th and 25th September, being CREATIVE with Jennie & Gillian at The Gilliangladrag Fluff-a-torium in Dorking.

Jennie & Gilly’s Big Creative Weekend will include creating beautiful sketchbooks by copying, tracing and lots of “cheating” with yours truly and learning wet felting and needle felting with Gillian Harris – Felting author and ‘Queen of Fluff!’

Click here to book a place & for more information (and to see Gillian’s BEAUTIFUL website!) 

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Just £240 per person will include two days full tuition from Jennie and Gilly with all materials and refreshments provided AND two lovely lunches and a wonderful meal out together on Saturday evening!

Accommodation not included, you will find lots of lovely recommendations (some special offers just  for us too!) on Gillian’s website.

I really hope you can come, can’t wait to see you all!




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