The last few weeks have been incredibly exciting here at PP HQ, with four new artists joining us! We wanted to take "5 Minutes With.." NEW PP ARTIST Jessica Allan to get to know a little more about her and her journey into Children's Illustration. We're so happy to have Jessica with us and are excited for you all to see her amazing work!! So make yourself comfy and join us while we catch up with Jessica.
Where do you live/work?
I live and work in a little commuter town outside London called Hitchin. It is very leafy. I have a house with my husband and our little cat called Simba.
What do you love about working there?
We live on a path so it is very quiet, and our neighbours are lovely. I have my own little set up with my desktop Mac and tablet.
What are your dislikes?
It is sometimes TOO quiet, but my cat keeps me company. Luckily, Hitchin has a nice market square, so if I am in need of human interaction, I go out for a coffee. I quite enjoy the peace and quiet, as it means I can really get my head down and concentrate.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
Drawing comes very naturally to me. I feel like I am just doing what I love doing. I really enjoy bringing text to life or turning what is in people’s minds into a visual. No drawing is ever a waste and what you don’t use for one project may end up being inspiration for another.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I always put pencil to paper to start. I like working on acid free watercolour paper. I may use pen and ink depending on the style, and then I scan it in to my computer and start working on it in Photoshop. I like using patterns and textures in my illustrations. If I want a cleaner finish I will use Illustrator.
What is your favourite thing to draw?
Animals. I love drawing my ginger cat. My husband and I like to go on adventurous holidays to places like Africa and Canada. I remember leaving the Rockies and all I wanted to do was draw bears.
Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?
The trickiest part is when you start out as an illustrator. It does take a while to develop a style and find your place in the world of illustration. However, if you keep at it, you will find that your style naturally develops, and remember that it can be a good thing to have a few different styles up your sleeve.
What or who are you inspired by?
I am inspired by many artists and illustrators. I have always loved the works of M.C Esher and Dali. I love anything with detail. I am also inspired by illustrators who do something completely different, such as Lauren Child, or other artists who are completely original in the children's book world. I also get inspired just by going out for a walk or going to an art gallery. I find going abroad really inspires me, travelling is great for a creative mind.
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
My favourite children’s book illustrators are Maurice Sendak, Oliver Jeffers, Quentin Blake and more recently David Litchfield.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
I like to go out and spend time with my friends and family. I also love exercising and venturing out into the great outdoors.
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
I read Divergent by Veronica Roth. It was good but I wish I hadn’t seen the movie first. Classic mistake!
How did you get into illustration?
I was studying Theatre Design at Central Saint Martins, when I realised my favourite part was the drawing of the characters, So I transferred to Middlesex to complete my degree in Illustration, which I absolutely loved.
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1. Never give up.
2. Believe in what you do and be confident.
3. Always show your work to people.
What’s your ultimate dream?
I have a few ideas for children’s books of my own, such as my character Louella Lou (who was only two) that I would love to see made into a book series.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about Jessica, we're certainly very glad to have her with us here at PP! If you'd like to have a look at more of her work, you can visit Jessica's folio on our website here! Have a wonderful week, from all of us at PP!
To find out what's going on at PP over the course of October, read below!