Dr Becky Palmer

Associate Lecturer

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Art
Areas of Expertise:
Illustration, drawing and book art

Becky is an illustrator with particular interest in the relationship between comics and picturebooks.

[email protected]

Visit Becky's website


Becky is an illustrator and author of comics and picturebooks. She began her academic training as a student of literature and art history at the University of York, but continued to make paintings, drawings and comics alongside her studies.

In 2012, she graduated with a Masters degree in Children’s Book Illustration from Anglia Ruskin University, and was joint winner of the inaugural Sebastian Walker award that year.

Having become interested in the relationship between comics and picturebooks, and possibilities for combining the two forms, she returned to the University as a research student, and gained her doctorate with a practice-based study in 2016.

Becky's first graphic novel, La Soupière Magique, was published by Éditions Sarbacane in 2014. Since then she has made books with other publishers, including Walker Books and NoBrow.

She continues to produce self-published projects, and regularly exhibits with the Brolly Lolly illustrators' collective.

Spoken Languages
  • English
  • Dutch
  • German
Research interests

Though picturebooks and comics as subjects of scholarship initially constituted separate areas of study, recent years have seen an increasing acknowledgement of, and interest in, the relationship between these forms. This growing awareness of the overlap reflects an increasing cross-fertilisation of comics and picturebooks in books by author/illustrators and publishers pushing the boundaries in practice and commercial output.

Becky's doctoral research examines how conventions that have evolved to communicate effectively in one setting can be used as mechanisms for storytelling in a different context. Taking reflective, experimental practice as a method for research, she uses the process of combining the conventions of comics and picturebooks as a site for developing a nuanced understanding of multimodal narrative.


Becky is module leader for The Sequential Image on the MA Children's Book Illustration, and a tutor on the Observation and Experiment module. She also teaches narrative illustration as an associate lecturer at the University of Worcester.

  • BA, History of Art and English Literature, University of York, 2005.
  • MA, Children’s Book Illustration, Anglia Ruskin University, 2012.
  • PhD (practice-based), Anglia Ruskin University, 2016.
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council studentship awarded to undertake doctoral research, using reflective practice as a method and tool for studying the relationship between comics and picturebooks, 2012-2015.
  • Member of the nominating panel for UK entries to the Bratislava Illustration Biennale, 2017.
Selected recent publications

Palmer, B., 2017. The Widow. In Rhodes, J. A Castle in England. London: NoBrow.

Palmer, B., 2017. Ellie and Lump’s Very Busy Day. London: Walker Books.

Palmer, B. 2016. From Comics to Picturebooks: The Reading Moment as Focus for Devising Hybrid Narratives. Interjuli 16(02): 89-103.

Palmer, B (2014).  'Combining the rhythms of comics and picturebooks: thoughts and experiments'. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 5(3): 297-310.

Palmer, B (2014) La Soupière Magique. Paris: Éditions Sarbacane.

Recent presentations and conferences

Palmer, B. 2017. 'Migrations', at the launch of the Migrations exhibition. Bratislava: Bibiana International House of Art for Children.

Palmer, B. 2017. 'Illustrating The Widow and Ellie and Lump's Very Busy Day', at the launch of Hatched!, an exhibition of published narrative illustration at the Hive, Worcester.

Manolessou, K., Palmer, B. and Salisbury, M., 2015. Engineering the Book, Research Through Design, 25-27 March. Cambridge: Microsoft Research Centre.

Palmer, B., 2014. Where do books come from? Pen to Page: Making and Creating Books, 9 October. Limerick: Limerick International Publishers' Salon.

Palmer, B., 2014. Orchestrating Interruption: how can the rhythms of word and image collaborate to convey the disorder of lived experience? Word & Image Crossovers, Bydgoszcz, Poland: Bydgoszcz University 29-30 September 2014.