Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
I've always loved drawing. When I was young I loved to get big packs of felt tip pens and colouring books and also make up my own images or copy things I liked, characters, animals etc. I had wanted to be a vet for a long time but I knew quickly that was never going to happen. I had no head for chemistry or physics or such!
I think what made me become an illustrator was I knew that I could do that and I loved doing it. Simple!
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
I attended Glasgow College of Building and Printing in Glasgow and studied Scientific and Technical drawing. Not really my choice but the College dictated who fitted with what course according to my portfolio. I didn't have scientific and technical drawings in my portfolio so go figure!
Where do you currently live and where did you grow up?
I currently live in Ayrshire in Scotland with my husband and Double Doodle doggy! I have a daughter who recently graduated from Uni and has become a marine biologist which I am extremely proud of and gives me inspiration in my work. I've had a bit of a nomadic childhood. I was born in Wallasey near Liverpool UK. When I was two my parents decide to move to Canada and we lived there for 8 and a half years. After that time we moved back to England briefly then up to Scotland staying in a few different places. Evetually when I left home I moved to Glasgow and lived there for many years.
Describe your working technique and how you came to perfect it.
Nowadays my favourite weapons of choice are my wacom tablet and ipad. I use both Adobe illustrator and Photoshop and on my ipad Procreate. When I start a job I might work with pencil and paper sketching or more likely now, my ipad for sketch work. Then I will take those sketches into Illustrator and re draw them and usually add more details and tweeks. If there is textures needed I will then take the Illustrator file into Photoshop and apply my drawn filters or use brushes I like.
Do you keep a sketch book?
I don't keep a sketch book but I have a ton of paper with sketches on them! Trying to eliminate this now with the ipad.
Talk us through the process of creating one of your latest illustrations or books.
I start with a pencil sketch or working on the ipad. Once I'm at a stage I'm happy with I send to client for feedback. After feedback I amend anything client wishes to amend and then it's usually onto colour work which generally will be in Adobe Illustrator. When needed I will export from Illustrator to Photoshop for textural work. At the colour stage I do tend to add extra details as I feel necessary.
Do you offer more than one style, if so – talk us through the different approaches and the audience you are targeting for each.
I do like to work in different styles whether that be flat colour, graphic, textural, decorative etc. I enjoy developing different styles of work- it's a constant evolution. For clients they will dictate what style of mine they prefer for their jobs. So I like to do both flat colour and textural work along with decorative patterns and I enjoy a clean, graphic approach best.
How long does it take on average for you to finish a spread, from initial sketch to final colour?
I would say generally I am a very fast worker. So for example if I'm working on a fairly simple board book with 5 spreads and a cover (using a graphic, flat colour style) I will take around a day or 2 to complete sketch work and from there spend a good day or so finishing the artwork for each spread and the cover. Obviously if the style is more complex it will take a bit longer. I like to give myself time to overlook work once it's near completion so that I can assess properly if I feel there is anything missing or needed. In all, not taking into account client feedback time, I can turn around work pretty swiftly.
What do you hope children take away from your drawings?
I hope they delight in the colour and fun of each image and can learn and enjoy over and over again!
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy reading, watching films, walking my dog at the beach, running and eating lots and lots of hummus!
Which 4 words would you use to describe your illustration portfolio?
Bright, fun, impactful, cute!
Outline your dream project.
I'd really love to do some pattern work for textiles and apparel. Also work for stationery. I love doing children's books and hope that continues til I'm a little old lady.
Do you have a favourite soundtrack you listen to when you’re working?
I love music and listen quite a lot while I'm working especially at the colour stage of my work. I have quite an eclectic taste so anything from classical to alternative music.
What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?
I love drawing animals of any kind and also vegetable and fruit with faces! ha ha!
Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?
Yes! I have a double doodle who is a bit mad. She is nearly 1 year old and loves to tear around at breakneck speed!