SWINDON author Steve Antony is part of a tourist attraction which has thousands flocking to London.

Writer-illustrator Steve, 38, of Old Town, was chosen by Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman to design a Shaun The Sheep sculpture themed around his critically-acclaimed debut picture book The Queen’s Hat.

Steve’s Rule Britannia Shaun is part of Shaun in the City, a 50-strong flock of customised Shauns that have been placed at various spots as part of a new trail around the capital.

The author, who studied a Higher National Diploma in illustration at Swindon College, spoke of his awe at being asked to design the prestigious statue, following in the footsteps of superstars Jools Holland, Joanna Lumley and ex-boy band heartthrob Zayn Malik.

He said: “Aardman contacted me to see if I’d like to design a Shaun statue inspired by The Queen’s Hat.

"It’s so exciting and a huge honour to be part of this really fun project, especially as it is for such a great cause.

“It was such an honour to be asked to do this. When I got the email I just sat and re-read it for five or 10 minutes.

"You grow up watching Wallace and Gromit but you never dream of designing something like this.”

He joins celebrity designers including male supermodel David Gandy and designers Cath Kidston and Zandra Rhodes, with 50 Shauns currently in the capital.

Steve’s ewe-nique Shaun sculpture is entangled in Union Jack bunting with characters from The Queen’s Hat cleverly hidden in the designs. Steve said the process to get Shaun ready for his trip to London was an exciting time.

“It took me about a month to fully paint Shaun and it was a while before I got the concept sorted,” he said.

“I imagined Shaun getting lost in London and getting entangled in bunting. I was working into the night at some points but I’m delighted with how it worked out.”

Steve’s sheep is currently grazing in pastures near Carnaby Street with the artist recently returning from a book festival in Bologna to visit his new friend and take a few “shelfies” – a sheep selfie.

It’s a busy time for the talented author with two books set for publication in the coming months, including The Queen’s Handbag – the sequel to The Queen’s Hat – which tells the story of a whirlwind journey through England after the monarch’s bag is snatched by a swan.

His latest project cements his meteoric rise to become the toast of the children’s literary world.

Steve, originally from England but raised in New Mexico, spent nine years working in a call centre before leaving the headset behind to study for a Masters in children’s book illustration at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

A book deal with publishing giant Hodder followed with Steve being nominated for the prestigious Waterstone’s children’s book prize for The Queen’s Hat this year.

The first flock of 50 Shaun sculptures will be on display in various locations around London until May 25.

A further 70 will then visit Bristol from July 6 before going to auction to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity and The Grand Appeal, which supports children in hospitals across the UK.

To join the trail visit shauninthecity.org.uk or visit www.steveantony.com