We're excited to welcome our first Archistrator (architect and illustrator) to the Plum family- Jo Lindley! Find out a little more about her below:
Where do you live/work?
London. My home is in Streatham but I create most of my work in my studio in a railway arch near Brixton, fuelled by tea and spurred along by musical soundtracks.
What do you like about working there?
I share the studio with six wonderful people and the cutest little dog, Piglet. We all work in very different fields, from filmmakers to translators, writers to historians, which makes for a dynamic atmosphere.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
Solving the riddle of how a new character should look.
This is Addie (papergirl / hard-hitting, investigative journalist) and her pug, Bonbon
How do you work – what are your techniques?
My technique for developing a character always starts the same. Whether it’s human or animal, I first sketch from photos to get a sense of anatomy and proportions. Surrounding myself with these drawings, I then develop my own interpretation, choosing which features to exaggerate and which to ignore, depending on its personality. I then work up character studies, looking at its different poses, emotions and accessories.
Bat + alligator + lizard = dragon
What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
I love to draw anything with a comical edge to it. I use illustration as an outlet for my silly sense of humour.
Do you have a particular favourite character that you’ve illustrated?
Stig – the caveman. He is so fascinated by the world around him, and I love translating that into his expressions and poses.
What or who are you most inspired by?
My sister inspires me all the time. She’s raising her children and studying at the same time. I’m in awe of her dedication. Plus, she still finds the energy to be my most enthusiastic and supportive fan!
Jo (right) with her sister, Claire
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
It’s impossible to choose a favourite, but I really like Benji Davies, Emma Yarlett, Rebecca Green and Alex T Smith, to name but a few, plus a whole load of my fellow Plum Puddingers.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
Visiting my friends and family dotted around the country, going to the theatre to see (you guessed it) musicals, playing badminton and softball and hiking in amazing places.
Jo confronting a goat in the mountains of northern Spain.
How did you get into illustration?
Art was a huge part of my childhood, but when I went to university, it pretty much disappeared from my life – until a few years ago when I decided to crack open the old watercolours. Not knowing what to paint, I started with some blobs on a page, which I then added faces to. Making characters out of nothing was so much fun that I haven’t stopped since. I took illustrations courses at CityLit and Make Art That Sells. They were so inspiring and gave me the tools I needed to become a visual storyteller.
Jo practicing the long lost art of ballet-drawing
Front cover created for assignment on illustration course (Make Art That Sells)
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1. Take an illustration course, if you can. There are so many options out there to suit all budgets and time constraints.
2. Start collecting picture books that inspire you. Delve deep into how they vary the scale, composition, colour palette and contrast to help tell the story.
3. Experiment with different mediums until you find the tools that suit you best. But never stop sketching on real paper if you go digital.
Real paper sketching in Italy
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
I was a “reluctant reader”, but I made an exception for anything Roald Dahl, The Witches in particular. I loved the humour and gore – my taste hasn’t changed much since then.
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
I read The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch, one of his Rivers of London spin-offs. Admittedly, it was an odd choice given that I’ve not read Rivers of London and I hadn’t realized it was going to be so supernatural, but I did enjoy the concept of the Metropolitan line being haunted.
What are your aspirations for the rest of 2018?
To get a children’s book illustration commission would blow my mind.
What’s your ultimate dream?To become a household name and to see something I’ve created in a bookshop window display.