How long have you been creating art for children?
I have been drawing since a pencil was first put in my hand, and as this was the main thing I was good at in school. I kind of stuck to it. I went to college and trained as a Primary Teacher with Art & Design as my speciality. This meant that I was constantly creating with or for the children throughout my career. I was always making displays for the classroom and designing worksheets for the children's class work. One of my sister's recently reminded me that I wrote and illustrated a whole series of little books when I was young for her and my other siblings. She was right! I had completely forgotten all about it. It was called the 'Woodlanders' and was a story about life for all the insects that lived on the ground in the woods. One day I will go through my mum's attic and try and find them.
How long have you been writing for children?
I have only been getting into writing and drawing with picture books in mind since 2010. So this world is all relatively new to me. The moment I decided that I was going to take this seriously and give it a real go, then I started to attend writing courses, picture book workshops,and writers festivals.
Can you share a bit about your publishing journey? (or journey to publication as the case may be)
I am at the stage where I am fine tuning many manuscripts. I have a few already entered into a major competition in Australia and have my fingers crossed for that. The feedback you get from competitions can be just what you need to get your writing on the write track. I have one manuscript currently with an editor who thinks that it has potential. She wants to show it to a publishing house she edits for. So at the moment my fingers feel constantly crossed.
Where do you do your artwork?
I do most of my artwork at the computer since I was given a Bamboo tablet to draw on. I draw with 'Art Rage' and this is a huge learning curve for me.
Please tell us about your illustrations. Can you describe your creative process? How would you describe your style?
Even though I have always been able to draw quite well from observation, I mainly did sculpture at college. I am now trying to develop my skills at illustrating which is quite different. I need to learn how to draw the same thing from different angles, add expression to character's faces, create backgrounds, etc. I also want to learn how to simplify my drawings and I confess I sometimes watch my 8 year old son draw his animated/cartoon characters to get some tips!
Will you share a sketch, line art, and/or photo of a final illustration?
Which comes first the story of the illustrations?
For me at the moment it is the story, although I can always immediately visualize it. I am also telling myself to let go with the imagery because I am fully aware that if I should ever be lucky enough for a publishing house to want to publish one of my manuscripts I know that they will want to choose the illustrator. And as a newbie I will have very little say in this. Also it is possible that the illustrator visualizes my story in a completely opposite way to the way I do. I may love this or loath it. Finally when I am writing, I am constantly checking it to make sure I haven't written what can be drawn, and have I given enough detail for an illustration to be possible for each page? I love the challenge of writing picture books and wish I had thought to do this 10 years earlier!
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Come back next Wednesday (and every Wednesday all summer long) to see my Featured Author/Illustrator of the week.