Thursday, 12 November, 2020
Illustrator from England
*What brought you to illustration?
I knew I wanted to make a living in the arts from a very young age but I only set my sights on illustration when I got to university. Until then, I’d studied graphic design, film making, photography and fine art. Illustration combines many of the best things about all those disciplines - creativity, design, imagination and story-telling.
* What does a typical work day look like for you?
I try and begin my day as early as I can. The creative part of my brain is most alive in the morning. I work through until lunch but everything seems to slow to a stumbling halt by mid-afternoon! I’ve always worked for an hour or two in the evenings after dinner.
* Are there any illustrators who influenced/influence you?
I adore the early work of Brian Wildsmith - his use of colour is second to none. I also admire the painting of 20 century graphic artist Ben Shahn. His ability to capture a precise, important moment in his work is phenomenal.
* What was your very first illustration?
I used to create flyers and postcards for musicians and performers, so it was probably one of those. My first professional book project was "Feelings" written by Libby Walden and published by Little Tiger Press. I learnt so much putting that book together and it’s still very dear to me.
* What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from?
I read a fair bit and I’ve discovered a single word, line or paragraph can inspire a whole story or painting. I also keep a notebook handy to jot down any thoughts that come to me during the day. Almost all of them will stay hidden away in there never to be seen again, but one or two may eventually unfold into life!
* Do you like listening to music or audio books while working or do you prefer silence?
When I’m at the planning stage of a project I find I need peace and quiet. Once the roughs have been signed off and I’m free to start painting, I love the company of the radio and audiobooks.
*Do you have a favourite place to work?
My work room is tiny but it’s warm and quiet and filled with things that inspire me. I feel very lucky to have it.
* Is there a particular story you would love to illustrate?
I’d love to illustrate Shakespeare, perhaps the Tempest or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I love the Greek myths, too. The creative possibilities for those would be endless!
* What was your favourite illustration you have made so far?
That’s such a tough question! I appreciate different aspects of what I make but I’m rarely satisfied with how things turn out. I’m very fond of the cover of "The Snow Lion", however. The book has sold in 20 languages so we must have done something right!
* What can you be found doing when your are not illustrating?
Although it’s fast becoming urbanised, I live in a fairly rural area and love exploring the countryside around my home. I hope to move further into the wild one day!