Friday, 2 September 2016

So what do you want to know?

I have nearly 1.5k followers on my facebook page, which is amazing, so many comment and like as I add new work. For me it's a quick platform to show what I'm working on as I'm creating them. Finished pieces get added to my website.
I read recently that art is not about the work but about the artist themselves, this got me thinking, yes maybe that is partly true. Ask 'Joe Blogs' in the street to name an artist and most likely they can, but can they name a piece of that artists' work...hmm not always so easy.

So I asked my 'followers' to post questions to get to know more about me as an illustrator/artist... so here we are, tried to put them in some logical order...

How old were you when you realised you had artistic talent?
That's an easy one. I came from a very creative family. Mum was an art teacher and artist and sold her work in Libertys and Harrods. Dad was a photographer. Nana a self taught artist. So it was inevitable I'd follow there somewhere. I always had art pads, pencils, crayons etc. And Mum, being a typical mum kept so many. I think at age 5 I did a small picture that Nana and Mum hung in an exhibition along side their work, it sold and yes at that age £5 for my little picture was a huge deal!

What artists inspired you?
So, so many! Family obviously, but they collected old childrens book and I grew up entranced by illustrators like Rackham, Nielson, Clarke. A family friend Victor Wood was a friend of Harry Clarke, always scared me, (he had a glass eye), but one day this amazing man took me to his back room studio, sat me down and taught me to draw folds of fabric. He was patient and kind and encouraging, and I still think of him when I draw fabric.
Modern day illustrators like Shaun Tan, Catherine Rayner, Anita Jeram, Mick Inkpen, and Nick Butterworth are just a few that inspire me, there are so many and yes despite my own children being in their 20's, I do still buy picture books. (this is just a very small selection!)

What's your most memorable moment as an artist?
Ah, one that was a huge turning point in my self confidence... a few years ago I was asked to exhibit in an exhibition to celebrate local children's book illustrators. I politely explained that I wasn't published, but they insisted that I show anyway. Along came preview day, some amazing illustrators were showing including Helen Oxenbury (We're going on a bear hunt), Margaret Tempest (Little grey rabbit, another big childhood influence) and the amazing Nick Butterworth. Wow I thought, there with such names, I expected my work tucked away from such greats, but no, to my huge honour my work was hanging alongside Nick's Percy the Park keeper! Yes I had a 'moment' totally amazed to be considered worthy enough, but like I say, it made me realise that yes maybe I was, am good enough.

What is your favourite/most treasured tool of your talent?
My old drawing board, my home made light box, sable brushes and my imagination...boy that sounds cheesy, but I'd be lost without it! oh and sketchbooks, always keep a sketchbook, I often refer back to old ones for ideas.

What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
Inks. good quality inks, light fast ones. there are some out there that are not, see below as an example of poor light fastness (strips of colour were painted and half covered and left in daylight for a couple of months...scary hey? that could be your most prized piece of work faded!)

Inks are great for vibrancy of colour, transparent to build layers, which is what gives my work depth. I use them in a similar manner to watercolour but find the inks don't 'muddy' with over working.

Where do you find your inspiration from please?
Authors get "writers block" - do you ever have days when you just can't paint?
Random places for inspiration. A friend a while back posted a photo of her new old writing desk and it sparked an idea for a story (which I started to write) but the images of the mouse that lived secretly at the back of the drawer were so bold in my head. But it can be from snippets of news, nature, my local beach, comments from children, pretty much anywhere. And yes sometime I do get artist's block, those are turned into long walks in woods or the beach or sketching days, just sketch anything, and yes those days are frustrating but thankfully few. More often than not my head is too full of ideas.

What one thing would you like to accomplish before you die?
Ah that's easy, a picture book (many if possible) that is loved by children and parents, one that is read over and over and is dog eared and well loved. To be able to walk in to book shops and see my books on their shelves. I'm not bothered by making a fortune from it (good job as it's unlikely) just enough to pay the bills and be comfy but mainly the knowledge that my books are loved.
I working on it, Mouse's Star is coming on and I'm determined to get it published, it may take many rejections and heartache, but one day I hope to see my work in print.
Hey a girl can dream, working on fulfilling the dream isn't an easy path, but one I'm enjoying as I sit here in the peace of my studio and do what my heart screams to do. I have limited edition prints of some of my work for sale, along with originals. I take commissions and yes if you are an interested agent or publisher I'd love to hear from you!
twitter @bluebutterfly48