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Write till your ink be dry

Martin Brown’s book – How to Draw William Shakespeare



Who created it?

Martin Brown


Martin Brown is best known for being the illustrator of the phenomenally successful Horrible Histories series which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2023. Selling more than 30 million copies, the books have become award-winning stage and TV shows, exhibitions, games and a movie. But Martin is also the writer and illustrator of Lesser Spotted Animals and Lesser Spotted Animals 2 - fun non-fiction books about some of the world’s more unfamiliar wildlife - ‘the brilliant beasts you never know you needed to know about’. And Martin’s second Nell and the Cave Bear book, The Journey Home, came out in March 2023.

About my Shakespeare-inspired book

I used a pencil and fine-liner pen – the same things I use to draw the Horrible Histories cartoons. This mini-book is a step-by-step how-to-draw guide, which meant drawing Shakespeare eight times – with each one at the next stage. I believe everyone can draw. It’s simply a matter of learning how. This step-by-step approach is just one of the ways you can do it. (It’s what I used to do when I was at school.) You can see how I planned my little book here. Watch the video below to see how to fold a piece of paper like this into a neat little book.



What do you love about books? 

Books are devices of the everywhere and the everywhen. Fiction or non-fiction, they can transport you to any place or any moment in time. If you like adventure, love a laugh, or are just plain curious, pick up a book!

What’s your favourite Shakespeare quote?

My favourite passage from Shakespeare is from Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 7 – the famous monologue where Macbeth questions his own plan to kill Duncan – ‘if it were done when ‘tis done, ‘twere well it were done quickly.’ It’s a fascinating examination of a man doing battle with himself over an action he clearly knows is wrong. The destructive nature of ambition is what makes Macbeth so engrossing. This is also the soliloquy I had to learn for a drama school audition - which I spectacularly failed to learn. So it’s a disturbing scene in more ways than one!

Your thought for the day?

Here’s a wild idea…  Someone reading this, right now, will one day be an illustrator or a writer – or both. Will it be you?

Watch this!

Watch as Martin turns a single piece of paper into a book and shares some tips on planning your own Shakespeare-inspired book.