For this week's instalment of our "5 Minutes with..." series of interviews, we are catching up with the lovely Lucy Boden! From her favourite childhood books, to her bustling studio and how she creates her beautiful work, let's take 5 minutes to get to know a little more about Lucy...
Where do you live/work?
I live in Cheltenham, UK, and work from a shared studio just outside the town centre.
What do you like about working there?
My studio is filled with lots of lovely, creative people. We also take part in group exhibitions, the next being the Cheltenham Open Studios in June, and sometimes we take fun trips to London or National Trust properties.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I love getting to spend time in my studio with just me and my paints. I find the process of painting (mostly) relaxing, especially when paired with a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits! Seeing the final, and sometimes published, piece of work is also very rewarding.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I begin with lots of sketching, getting to know the animal or character that I'm drawing, and then paint the final illustration in gouache or acrylic. Occasionally, I will tweak the image in Photoshop, but not often as technology frightens me!
What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
All animals!! Although, at the moment, I have a bit of a thing for bears! I find animals so much easier to draw than humans.
What or who are you most inspired by?
My work is hugely inspired by a childhood spent in beautiful Gloucestershire and three years in sunny Falmouth, where I studied for my degree. I also get lots of inspiration from my family pets including my gorgeous black cat Marley and my mum's crazy, hairy guinea pig aka Jim!
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
Quentin Blake and Chris Riddell are two of my illustrating heroes. I was lucky enough to meet Mr Riddell at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last year and watched him doing some live drawing! I also love the work of Jane Chapman.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
I drink copious amounts of tea, enjoy practising yoga and going on the occasional run. I am also the owner of many failed/half finished craft projects.
How did you get into illustration?
I've always dreamed of illustrating books ever since I was small. I did an art foundation course in Cheltenham and almost went on to do a fine art painting degree, before realising that I could do an illustration degree. I spent three years in Falmouth and joined PP a couple of years after graduating.
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1. Draw everyday. It's so important! I've been attending weekly life drawing classes, which has really improved my illustrations.
2. Try not to compare yourself to other illustrators.
3. Stay patient and passionate about your work.
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
I was (and still am) a complete bookworm. Some of my favourites were Princess Smartypants by the amazing Babette Cole and Percy the Park Keeper by Nick Butterworth.
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
I have just finished reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I was completely hooked and read the whole book in just over a week. I'm now reading her second novel The Muse.
What are your aspirations for 2017?
To keep painting, developing and having fun with my illustrations.
What’s your ultimate dream?
To work full time as an illustrator and have lots of published picture books out in the world! I'd also love to have a house filled with dogs!
We really hope you enjoyed getting to know Lucy, and a little more about her life as a children's illustrator! To see more of Lucy's amazing work, visit her PP portfolio page here and her website here!