1. Tell us something about yourself?
Think I'm an eternal optimist with my feet planted in realism. Have a tendency to be dreamy, like people, animals and hope that in some way I'm useful in the world. Feel it's important for all of us to leave a positive swathe in out paths and to speak our truth whatever that may be. Am a gentle, spiritual soul with a fairly vulgar sense-of-humour to balance things off !
2. What does your partner/friends/family think of your work?
Everyone seems to have a different opinion - some, I guess, aren't that keen and are too polite to say, others are very encouraging and seem to like it; one person will like one image and not another and vice versa. It's all a matter of taste, but what's wonderful for me is the encouragement and support I've been given along the way. My last boyfriend didn't like my work at all, with the very odd exception, but was such a support and proud of what I did never-the-less. I don't mind if someone doesn't like my pictures, but am happy if they do cheer as that's what's important to me - the positive effect they can have, I feel they've done their job then.
3. How would you describe you work?
Quirky, detailed watercolours.
4. What's it like to be an illustrator?
For me, I like it as no two days are the same. You never know what the next job is going to be, nor what image is going to manifest. I like the fact that there is always a better picture yet to come and never know when - it keeps my interest going.
5. What was your first ever illustration of, do you still have it, if not where is it?
Think it's a series of Edward Lear limericks I illustrated at Art College. They're stored in a box I rest my feet on in the studio. They're much more edgy and quirky, but you can tell they're my work.
6. What's your favourite colour?
7. Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from?
They seem to plop into my head from nowhere. Occasionally they have to be squeezed out but when I read a manuscript or am given a general concept, something materialises and down it goes on paper. I feel lucky being able to think like this as can be very vague in other areas...
8. What was your first commission?
Ah, it was to illustrate the Edinburgh University Diary when I was still at Art College there. It took SO long to do, was promised an exhibition by way of payment which sadly didn't materialise as expected. It was a quirky job and a huge learning curve.
9. What's your favourite illustration that you have drawn?
Have not long illustrated a recalcitrant lobster surrounded by shells. The layout seems to cheer me up for some reason. Also enjoyed painting the Easter Egg Chicken.
10. What is it about where you live that inspires you?
It's peaceful with lots of fresh air, views to the sea and yet very busy just one block away. Loads of interesting people to meet and a lot of quirky things to see. Love it.
11. What is your favourite day of the week and why?
Possibly Sunday but don't tend to have one anymore as time is roaring by so quickly I forget what day it is anyway.
12. What's you favourite tool of the trade and what do you use if for?
My brushes. Love them and very mean with them too - won't use a fresh one till the other is on its last legs and has become difficult to paint with. Buy them in L.Cornelissen & Son in London which is a joy of a shop and well worth a visit. It's near the British Museum which is handy.
13. What are you working on at present, what's next?
Have a double page spread to do for Country Life which will be complicated but fun to do, and have a series of platters to design for a company I may work with should all go well.
14. When you are not working what do you like to do?
I like to see friends, cook, go for walks in the countryside (have recently moved near the South Downs which I love), exhibitions, films, twittering in my tiny garden, being lazy, making things, chattering, walking on beach near my home etc
15. What's your favourite film?
No one favourite, but really enjoyed Scent of a Woman, Gran Torino, Shawshank Redemption (doesn't everyone?), Juno, Harold and Maude, Coen Brothers films - The Big Lebowski, Fargo etc, old Ealing comedies, Margaret Rotherford films, of late Black Narcissus blew me away, too many to mention and could get boring ...
16. What are you reading at the moment?
Just about to start Music and Silence by Rose Tremain.
17. What's the best piece of advice you have been given?
Sadly it was to leave Edinburgh as was getting nowhere work-wise. Moving to London gave me loads of breaks and turned my career around.
18. If writers get writers block, what do illustrators get?
Bored if not working is my guess. Thankfully I can keep going regardless.
19. If you could be anyone in the world who would it be and why?
Have never been interested in being anyone else - what does interest me is being able to be inside someone else's skin for anything from 10mins to a day to see what it feels like to be them. We all see and feel things differently and I'd be fascinated to see how other people tick and what goes on inside, their memories, emotions, speed or slowness of their brains, how their body feels, what it's like to be old or how an acrobat feels in motion, a politician feels in mid flow in the Commons or how a homeless person feels. Would also be great to be an animal too - fascinating.
20. Do you have any tips for budding illustrators?
Always try to be original, keep interested and fresh in your own work and approach. Don't give up if you genuinely feel you have something to offer as nothing happens overnight - it takes time to get established and they will be a lot of wonderful and disheartening comments and experiences along the way. Follow any leads you get and keep accepting commissions to get as much professional practice in as possible.