I’ve loved drawing since I was a toddler, and when I was nine I made up my mind that I was going to be a professional artist one day. I’d drawn a big picture at home, which I took into school to show my teacher. I got to hold it up in assembly and then it was pinned up in the school hall. The husband of one of my teachers saw my picture there and offered me £5.00 to do a similar one for him. And that’s when I decided I was going to make my living from drawing.
I’ve been an illustrator for more than a quarter of a century, beginning as an illustrator for magazines and packaging (which also sometimes involved designing sweets, lollipops, and Easter eggs) and moving into full-time children’s book illustration in the mid-1990s. I get ideas for my books by thinking about the subjects that interested and appealed to me as a child, and the things that made me laugh—humor is a very important element to my work. And I love it when a publisher sets me a challenge—to create a book in an unusual format or one that makes use of a new novelty device, for example. That’s how The Foggy, Foggy Forest and What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen? both came about. With the first I was handed a dummy book of blank tracing paper pages to play with, and straightaway I thought it would work brilliantly for a story about fog. It look me an awful lot longer to work out what do with a book I was given containing flaps that could open in two ways, but eventually, after a lot of head scratching, that one turned into What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen? I think my favorite bit of creating a book is the beginning of the process; playing around with ideas on rough paper, not knowing really where I’m going but waiting for the magic moment to happen when things fall into place and I feel I’m on to something!
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
I share my studio with a shop mannequin called Joan, who keeps me company.I’m very good at snoozing—anywhere, any time.My favorite food is pasta with homemade pesto sauce. I could happily eat it every day!