In a wooden studio shed in the garden of our West Sussex coach house.
What do you love about working there?
It’s at the end of the garden, amongst trees and far enough away from the internet in the house.
What are your dislikes?
It can be difficult to keep warm during winter...ohh! and spider leftovers.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I like scribbling, and visually interpreting the written word. I can’t stop thinking in 3 dimension and love creatively entertaining/educating readers of all ages.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I call it, ‘scratch and tickle’. I draw everything in blue pencil (something that has stuck with me since drawing for Disney). Initially I start with storyboards, planning out every scene (as I see it). After comments, amends and ‘cross-finger’ approvals from the publisher’s team, I build characters, scenes, expressions with end less use of tracing overlays.
Then it’s splash-paint time, scratching and daubing to create collage textures. After cutting and composing the painted elements, I tickle in the details...voila!
What is your favourite thing to draw?
In particular, anything unusual. Or, taking something familiar and finding an unusual way of portraying it.
Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?
Not being too self-critical.
What or who are you inspired by?
Tricky one to answer, as I’m inspired by many things and people. That would be my answer for anyone...keep your mind and eyes open.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
Drawing, Paper Engineering, Willowing, Teaching, Cycling, Gardening, Cooking, Carpentry, Building stuff...I built shepherd’s hut from scratch, and more recently Kayaking.
How did you get into illustration?
After working in adult education publishing designing step-by-step diagrams and art directing photo shoots, I was offered the chance to illustrate a simple lift the flap children’s book for WHSmith. That was it!
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
Know your subject and who you’re working for. Keep all your senses alert and have an interest in everything. Find a great agent to work with.
As a fourth top tip...keep your hands clean!!
What’s your ultimate dream?
Big question! Every time I’ve thought of one, it’s been interrupted by a more exciting opportunity. Keep trying...maybe that’s my answer, and if I fall flat on my face, at least I’ll be going forward!