A soon-to-be illustration graduate from UCA has played her part in a new book of rhymes about the London underground.

Stephanie Zhao, from Farnham, was picked to illustrate Wonderground. A book written and conceived by London-born creative Harry Miller, after responding to his call-out via a UK university noticeboard.

“We started working together, and how lucky I was!” said Harry.

Stephanie brought to life Harry’s rhymes for each underground line, guided by his description of the kind of image he imagined and incorporating her own touches.

She said: “My favourite line to illustrate was the Hammersmith & City Line. I liked the anthropomorphic pigeon, Sam, who looked proud and unbothered – just like the real London pigeons.

“But the biggest challenge was choosing what sole scene would best capture the essence of each line. It involved careful consideration and discussions with Harry and, for most of the lines, I sketched multiple versions for Harry to choose which best conveyed the story's mood and message.” 

Stephanie's illustration of the Hammersmith & City line
Stephanie's illustration of the Hammersmith & City line (Stephanie Zhao/Harry Miller)

Wonderground contains tailored rhymes for each of the 11 underground lines, from a rhyme about a rude guy with large headphones who met ‘The Magnificent Elephant’ (with his small brain) on the Bakerloo line, to another about the famous astronaut, Peggy Whitson, who loved to ride the futuristic Jubilee line.

Stephanie hopes her illustrations will bring joy to the readers and spark connection with the characters and scenes, making their reading experience more fun and meaningful.

UCA’s Farnham campus offers three undergraduate courses in illustration and a masters.