Lulu Staff Picks: Spooky Fun

9 min read

October is drawing to a close. And that means it’s time to enjoy some spooky fun books from our spookiest Lulu authors.

Let’s get right into the scares!

Katelan Balah

First up we have Katelan Balah with her book The Fear Beard.

This illustrated book is a statement about fear and facing that fear. Drawing inspiration from public libraries, Katelan is primarily a digital artist and freelance illustrator, but when the urge to create something unique strikes, she jumps on it!

The Fear Beard by Katelan Balah

Learn a little more about Katelan and The Fear Beard from our Facebook Live video:

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Check out her portfolio online at katelanbalah.com

And if that’s not enough, you can read the full interview here:

Lulu: What art medium do you prefer to work in?

Katelan: Digital, though I like to experiment with traditional mediums.

Lulu: Where do you get inspiration for your work?

Katelan: I love exploring the kids section of libraries to find creative books that inspire me.

Lulu: What’s your favorite part of the creative process?

Katelan: I really love the beginning stages of coming up with ideas. When a concept takes hold I can’t help but be excited by the possibilities.

Lulu: When you’re not creating children’s books, what do you like to do?

Katelan: I am a surface designer and freelance illustrator, so when I’m not working on children’s books, I’m probably working on a pattern or comic.

Lulu: Where can people find you/ how can people get in touch with you (social channels, website, etc)?

Katelan: You can find me through my website katelanbalah.com, my Instagram handle paperfortunedesign or you can contact me at Kate.balah@hotmail.com

Lulu: What’s next for you?

Katelan: I plan to travel and write comics of my adventures that will hopefully translate into a book!


Kelsey Crnich

Next up we have another illustrator – Kelsey Crnich. Her book, Halphaween, takes a direct approach to making Halloween accessible for kids with a learning element. We go through the alphabet and learn how every letter means something for Halloween.

Kelsey is also an accomplished creator of hand-letter, highlighted in her book and on her Instagram.

Watch the video from our Facebook Live here:

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If you can’t get enough of Kelsey’s amazing lettering and books, check out her website at kelseyanneart.com.

Here’s the full interview with Kelsey:

Lulu: Have you always enjoyed drawing and creating?

Kelsey: OMG yes… and sometimes no! Drawing and creating has always been my outlet but it’s not always hunky dory. I’ve had my highest peaks and lowest valleys with art. As an artist, I put my heart and soul into my pieces and when they don’t turn out they way I wanted or if they’re not well-received, it’s like my baby has been rejected! But that’s ok, that’s how you grow!

Lulu: Did your creative career start with hand lettering?

Kelsey: Funnily enough, it did! I didn’t know playing with letters was an actual thing or had an official name! But as a kid, I was always writing down words I’d hear people say and I’d play with the way the letters looked and interacted with each other. Hand-lettering saved me from many hours of boredom at church.

Lulu: What made you decide to create a children’s book?

Kelsey: For some reason, I don’t know why, I have this deep love for children’s books. Going to the library and walking straight to the Children’s Section just to look at all the amazing artwork and read the rhymes is a favorite pastime of mine. I figured I’d combine my 2 loves: hand-lettering and children’s books into something educational and enjoyable to read and I had a great time creating it. 🙂

Lulu: Why did you want to use Halloween as a theme?

Kelsey: My love for Halloween also comes from childhood. There’s something about dressing up, being spooked and spooking others, and CANDY that just gets me so jazzed! It’s a great time to bond as a family and as friends. And as an artist, this season is so inspiring. There are intricate sugar skulls to feast your eyes on, there are jack-o-lanterns that provide a new medium to experiment with, and there are delicate spiders’ webs that are works of art themselves!

Lulu: How did it feel to see your completed book for the first time?

Kelsey: Oh my word, my friend back from my college days bought my book and sent me pictures of his son reading it and it brought literal tears to my eyes. It’s bringing tears to my eyes again just thinking about it! The idea that I helped bring some fun and imagination to a child’s life is surreal and very touching.

Lulu: Who is your biggest influence?

Kelsey: My best friend who also happens to be my hubby is my biggest influence! He’s so supportive. He’s never complained when I’ve had to prioritize doodling over hanging out with him. Every time I have creative block, one conversation with him gets the gears turning again. And he’s real easy on the eyes, so that always helps. 😉

Lulu: What’s your favorite project to have worked on?

Kelsey: Honestly, probably this one: Halphaween! Creating it never felt like work!

Lulu: What’s your dream job?

Kelsey: To be a full-fledged Children’s Book Author/Illustrator and to run an animal rescue shelter on the side! (There are enough hours in the day for that, right?!)

Lulu: Where do you get inspiration for your projects?

Kelsey: Other artists inspire me! Mid-century artists, current artists, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and my dad! My dad’s written a couple of unpublished children’s books that are brilliant and hilarious. I think seeing him do that showed me that it was a possibility.

Lulu: When did you decide to publish your work?

Kelsey: Once I saw the entire collection come together and received such positive feedback, I figured ‘Why the heck not?!’

Lulu: What advice do you have for others hoping to get published?

Kelsey: Be prepared for many hurdles and obstacles to come your way when trying to get published. But as I said before, that’s how you grow, learn and improve! If you enjoy creating than that’s all that matters.

Lulu: What’s your favorite part of the creative process?

Kelsey: My favorite part is probably the brainstorming session. I love just pondering about what I could create, what funny and clever details to include and then how to artistically reach that goal.

Lulu: Why do you think children’s books are important?

Kelsey: Children’s books are so important because they’re the first stepping stones to show a child that they can create, they can explore, they can think up things before they exist in reality. It’s also a beautiful opportunity for parents and caregivers to bond with their child, watch their world expand and see how excited that gets them!

Lulu: Where can people find you?

Kelsey: People can find me on most social media sites! I’m on Instagram and Facebook at @kelseyanneart and I also have a website: kelseyanneart.com!

Lulu: What’s next for Kelsey Crnich?

Kelsey: I hope to write another children’s book soon! I have something in the works (and it involves bugs! Ew!). But besides that, I’ll continue doodling and creating every day and spending time with my hubby, our beautiful daughter and our 2 fur babies. <3


Stephen Brotherstone & Dave Lawrence

Last but certainly not least, we featured Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrense, co-authors of the weirdly wonderful, but true, book Scarred for Life.

We sat down with Stephen to learn about why the duo decided to write a book about 70s Pop Culture. Want to know the answer to that and other questions about one of our favorite Lulu books? Watch the Facebook Live video!

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Catch up with Stephen and Dave on the Twitter feed! You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s the complete interview with Stephen:

Lulu: What was the best thing about growing up in the 1970s?

Stephen: Well, the honest answer is probably ‘not being old enough to understand all of the awful things that were happening in the news back then’. But from our point of view as kids in the 70s, it would definitely have to be the fact that we were lucky enough to grow up in a true golden age for popular culture, and we were exactly the right age to enjoy it all.

Lulu: What was the worst thing about growing up in the 1970s?

Stephen: The casual sexism, racism and homophobia.

Lulu: What made you want to create a book about pop-culture in the 1970s?

Stephen: Because a book about the darker side of 70s pop culture was one that I was desperate to read, but nobody had written. Dave and I figured we may as well give it a go!

Lulu: While creating the book, what was your favorite part of the process?

Stephen: The research; hugely time-consuming it may have been, but it was so much fun to uncover long-forgotten and sometimes incredibly obscure little nuggets about our favourite TV shows, films, books, comics and even sweets and crisps. And along the way we managed to discover some brilliant shows that we’d missed the first time around (probably because our mums had packed us off to bed).

Lulu: How did it feel to see your work in print for the first time?

Stephen: Surreal, unreal and incredibly exciting. And it never, ever gets old.

Lulu: How did public information films from the 70s influence your work?

Stephen: The public information film (or PIF) section in Scarred for Life Volume One is one of the book’s focal points. PIFs are the last great unexplored area in British cinema, and they deserve to be treated with reverence and respect, as do their creators. I hope we’ve achieved that. PIFs left an indelible mark on every 70s kid’s psyche!

Lulu: Which public information film was your favorite?

Stephen: Lonely Water (1973). Featuring the great Donald Pleasance on voice-over duties, it’s essentially a complete horror film condensed into a minute and a half. It’s beautifully directed, inspired by Ingmar Bergman, and utterly terrifying to boot. And we were fortunate enough to get a two-page ‘making of’ written by its director, Jeff Grant.

Lulu: Do you think you survived the 70s specifically so you could create this book?

Stephen: Hahaha! Yes, we’ve been playing a very long game here at Scarred for Life…

Lulu: What do you hope people will learn from your book?

Stephen: Well, I hope that they get a kick out of learning some fascinating facts about the things they grew up with. More than that, I hope they remember what the decade was really like beyond the flared trousers, glam rock, disco and space hoppers. Somewhere along the way we went beyond writing a nostalgia book, and Scarred for Life became a social history of the UK in the 1970s, told via its pop culture.

Lulu: Do you have any advice for kids today?

Stephen: Never cross near parked cars. Play safe. Stop, look and listen. Keep rabies out. Clunk click, every trip. Be smart… be safe. Never go with strangers. Think once, think twice, think BIKE!

Lulu: Where can people find you?

Stephen: We’re most active on our Twitter account (11.2 thousand followers and rising!) – expect to see screengrabs and clips from pretty much everything we cover in Volumes One and Two.

Lulu: What’s next for Stephen and Dave?

Stephen: Our lives have changed completely thanks to Scarred for Life! We’re currently hard at work on Volume Two, which takes a look at the dark pop culture of the 1980s – expect rabies, AIDS, spontaneous human combustion, political pop music, more PIFs and, of course, the constant threat of nuclear war.

Apart from that, we’ve done two successful live shows, with many more in the planning stages, collaborated with a tabletop games company on a Scarred for Life expansion set for one of their games, we’re working with an indie musician on Scarred for Life: The Album, a free download which will feature a host of artists providing brand new tracks inspired by the weird, eerie TV shows of the 70s and 80s, and there’s a top secret project in the pipeline that I can’t talk about yet (but it’s so exciting, I may just explode). I’d like to thank our readers for all of their kind words and support, and Lulu for being an absolute dream to work with. Happy Halloween


And finally today, we’re happy to announce the second annual Share Your Scare anthology is live!

Congratulations to all of our winners and a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated. Stayed tuned to our Contests Page for our next contest, starting in December!

Get a copy today – Free on Ebook or in Print at cost:

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