10 April 2017

Advert: Scarlett, Tulip & Co

Children’s art transformed into magical watercolour

An afternoon father-daughter doodle session revealed Sim Dagger’s talent for translating children’s drawings into magical and mythical artworks for families to treasure.

One rainy afternoon, graphic illustrator Sim’s five-year-old daughter Scarlett-Ivy sketched a picture, and her father penned his own version on the opposite page. The family, from Exeter in Devon, realised he had a knack for reimagining children’s art as characters and scenes befitting the pages of a modern fairy tale, staying true to the essence and detail of the child’s imagination.

The result is a stunning array of fantastical fine pen and ink or watercolours, which families cherish along with the original felt tips or crayon versions. Features drawn by the young artists, such as three-fingered hands and uneven legs, are celebrated, and seen through a magical lens that could almost lift them from the page as animated characters.  One early commission was for the family of six-year-old Alex, whose grandmother Angie Vennells, had died unexpectedly. When he heard the news, Alex drew a picture of his beloved “Grangie”, which Sim interpreted as a vibrant watercolour.
Alex’s mum Louise Vennells said: “Sim did a fantastic job of representing my mum while staying true to Alex's original picture, complete with uneven legs! My mum loved feeding birds, and Sim added some into the backdrop to make it even more personal. It's such a joyous painting, instantly recognisable as my lovely mum, and it'll take pride of place in our home alongside the original. It makes us smile and remember Mum with love."

The business, Scarlett, Tulip & Co, started in January, after Sim was made redundant from a job as an illustrator. Already, it has won celebrity endorsement. Friends of Emmerdale star Lucy Pargeter tracked down the designer and asked him to pen an illustration for the actress’s baby shower last weekend.

Sim does not shy away from the darker side of a child’s imagination. A favourite commission was one the child called “Zombie with fire on his head under a thunder sky”. He has a particular love of nature, conveniently embracing the childhood favourites of wild animals and dinosaurs, after studying palaeontology as part of a Geology degree at Plymouth University. He moved into design and decided to follow his passion for art after rediscovering his flair when illustrating his lecturers’ notes.

Sim said: “I’ve always loved art, and particularly fantasy illustrations – and a child’s mind is as fantastical as it gets. I’m really enjoying putting my own interpretation on their amazing drawings. There’s no room for improvement on their originals – they’re perfect as they are. I create a version to complement the child’s. It’s great seeing the children’s faces when they receive my artwork, it’s very rewarding seeing their eyes widen with excitement”

“Any form of design is a collaboration, and children are proving to be very rewarding co-designers. I still do other forms of freelance design, but my commissions through Tulip, Scarlett & Co are definitely among the most interesting.”

Sim’s partner, Helen Kidney, who markets the business, explained: " Sim will begin sketching his imaginations, and sends photographs of the process to ensure people are happy with the direction of the artwork It's not an attempt to improve the already talented artwork a child has created; it's a collaboration between the unfiltered creativity of the child's mind and then reimagined in the equally childlike mind of the illustrator."

To find out more or to order, visit:

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