Where do you live/work? What do you love about working/living there? What don't you like?
II live right in the very middle of England in a county called Northamptonshire, also know as the 'Heart of the Shires'. This part of England is famous for shoe making. My house is in a tiny village and used to be the Old Co-op shop! My husband remembers buying sweets from it when he was a little boy.li
I work in a little room at the top of my house where I have everything I need. I love working at home as I can listen to the radio and sing along and no one can tell me off! I'm very close to London and love getting the train in to meet clients or Hannah and Mark. I also love coming home again to the countryside! I suppose the only downside of working on my own is that I have to make my own cups of tea.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I couldn't choose! I love everything about it and it is all I've ever really wanted to do. I get to be a fashion designer, an interior designer, a landscape architect, all in one job! I adore being surrounded by colour and pattern and imagination. It makes me very happy. I think if I had to choose though, the BEST thing about my job is getting a letter or an email from a child, (or usually their mummy), telling me they have enjoyed reading my books and looking at my pictures.
How do you work?
That is top secret!
What's the hardest part of your job?
I suppose I don't like scanning in all my artwork much, that's very boring.
What/who inspires you?
I find inspiration all over the place. I might be listening to music, or watching a film or washing my socks and suddenly an idea will pop into my head. I have lots of sketchbooks dotted all over the house so I can doodle down ideas. I particularly love the art of French illustrator Rebecca Dautremer, I think she's the bees' knees.
What do you like to do when you're not illustrating?
I like sewing little mice. I make hundreds of them and sell them in a little shop I have online. I love growing vegetables too, especially pumpkins. I also like to paint pictures that aren't for 'work' - no brief, just what I like to paint.
How did you get into illustration?
I started at the age of five by adding some 'extra' illustrations to my copy of Alice in Wonderland but it wasn't until many years later that I started getting paid to do the same. I went to college where I gained an HND in illustration and then became a waitress. Eventually I convinced the local archaeology unit to give me a job as an illustrator/historic building surveyor, I even got to go to the Middle East on a dig for four months which was very exciting! I relentlessly sent out 'mail shots' of my children's book work until I was lucky enough to get some commissions. Then Plum Pudding took me under their wing and I've never looked back!
Any tips for aspiring illustrators?
If you really, really want to be an illustrator then you must never, ever give up! It's very competitive and you will receive countless rejections. That doesn't mean nobody likes your work, it just means it's not exactly what they're looking for at that exact moment in time. Keep plugging away and your dreams will come true eventually! And if children's books is the way you want to go, make sure your portfolio is full of children and animals! You have to be able to draw children and animals...
Hmmmmm, to be doing exactly what I'm doing now until I'm a very old lady with wobbly legs and knock knees, only in a grand manoir in south west France. With some chickens...and a pumpkin patch.