Eleanor Loseby

Eleanor Loseby

Eleanor Loseby Interview

Eleanor Loseby

Children's Illustrator

How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?

While I was at school, I studied art and got asked by family and friends to draw pictures of their pets for them. I love drawing and spend all my spare time doodling and posting on social media. Over time I built a small following and I was asked by an American author to illustrate her book - and never looked back. I knew from about age 13 that I wanted to work with art - nothing ever compared! Starting my business in school really helped me to create a career that grew alongside my own practise.

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Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?

Yes. I studied fine art and graphic design at school and studied Illustration and animation at Coventry University, where I got a first class honors degree

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Was creativity part of your childhood?

When I was little, I was always drawing on everything - from school books, receipts, sketchbooks and even a wall (sorry Nannan!) I was always drawing or painting and was known for taking a paintbrush everywhere “just in case”.

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Who or what have been some of your major artistic influences?

Nature, family and the art materials themselves.

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Which books from your own childhood really stand out?

‘Maisie in the Mud’ by Sheila Lavelle - as an arty child I was super messy and clumsy just like Maisie. She painted pretty pictures and fell over in muddy puddles, just like me!

What is your favourite medium to work with and why?

I love working with whatever I can find, mixing media and playing with textures. If I was going to pick one medium, however, it would be watercolour. I love how you can mix a fun abstract wash with intricate detail to make a timeless but playful illustration.

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Do you offer more than one style, if so – talk us through the different approaches and the audience you are targeting for each.

I offer both traditional methods like watercolour and ink as well as digital illustrations. By offering both traditional methods like watercolor and ink alongside digital illustrations, I ensure that I can meet the diverse needs and preferences of my clients, whether they seek the charm of handcrafted art or the versatility of digital creativity.

Traditional methods work really well for children that love stories with classic and cozy illustrations. It's perfect for books that feel warm, familiar or magical like stories about family adventures, or fairy tales.

Digital illustrations are great for their versatility. Within a digital illustration you have the option to have a watercolour or sketched style with the boldness of the digital medium. Alternatively, I can also create a bold and vibrant digital look - great for those who enjoy modern and lively pictures.

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Have you ever thought about trying out a different technique or a different style?

All the time. I love to experiment and try new things, to expand my work and keep learning.

How long does it take on average for you to finish a spread, from initial sketch to final colour?

About 7 hours.

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What do you hope children take away from your drawings?

A smile! Art has made me so happy in my life and I want my art to do the same for the children reading my books.

What do you do in your spare time?

Foraging, yoga, playing with our dog and exploring other creative hobbies.

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Where do you get the ideas for your characters?

All over the place! If I see a worm wriggling on the ground, I imagine him with a tiny pair of glasses and a bow tie. People I see out and about get doodled in my sketchbook or on anything I have to hand (receipts or napkins, mostly!) It all adds up in my head, and the characters in the books pop out!

If I am drawing a book, the characters can sometimes be inspired by animals or people in the author's life, the descriptions of the characters, and the character’s personality.

Which 4 words would you use to describe your illustration portfolio?

Playful, Whimsical, Versatile and Colourful.

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What advice would you offer someone just starting out as a children’s illustrator?

Draw as much as you can, play with materials - and don't be afraid to put your work out there!

How important is it for you to be part of a creative community of people?

Hugely important. As a neurodiverse illustrator working from home, it can get pretty quiet at times. Being able to bounce ideas around with like-minded people and be inspired by their creativity is amazing.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be doing?

I would probably be a high school fine art teacher or an art technician. I love working with children and their amazing imaginations - and it would give me an excuse to paint!

What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?

I love drawing nature, cute little characters and animals.

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How do you get your creative juices flowing?

I love doing something different. This could be clay, needle felting or doing some abstract artwork using more intuitive brush strokes. This helps me clear my head and start new ideas flowing.

I find nature really inspiring, so going for a long walk and foraging always helps to bring out my creativity.

Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?

Yes! I absolutely love animals. We have a family dog, Barney, who is a massive Golden Shepherd puppy, as well as Thor the dwarf hamster (they are best friends). Growing up we had a beautiful Springador, Cody, who featured a lot in my work.

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