When I say loved, I don’t mean that I actually knew them (just thought I should clear that up)!
Many moons ago, I loved to paint. Sewing is my latest love, but I have a yearning to get out my watercolours and Bockingford and see if I can still do it. My lovely mum assures me that I will be able to, but I’m not so sure, it’s been a while.
I trained to be an illustrator at college twenty years ago and had a brief (very brief) spell of work. It was, if I’m honest, not very pleasant. There was a Jazz book, a lot of educational publishing bits and a Switch off your Lights campaign for someone (the NHS possibly), such a long time ago and I know I stopped for a reason … it was horrid? Ah, yes and I had a couple of babies …
I don’t think I want to illustrate for somebody else again, but I would love to do my own book (wouldn’t we all?).
Recently I found these two books that I had when I was little. They were my favourite books, looked at over and over again and again. There must Be Magic is a collection of short poems and is illustrated by John Overmyer. Inside the front cover, it says Happy Birthday Amy from Mummy and Daddy 1973, which made me four! I can’t give all the credit to John Overmyer for my choice in my (albeit short lived) career, there are plenty of illustrators that have influenced me in huge amounts over the years but it is the ones from childhood that I’m most fond of.
True Thomas the Rhymer and other tales of the Lowland Scots, is the one that really gets me excited. Illustrated by Ruth K Oliphant (a quick search on google has sadly got me nowhere) it just about sums up the time for me. Dad occasionally went away on courses for his job and would bring us back a present each time. Sometimes it was a rose in a vase by my bed and sometimes a book. Well, at the age of four it was this book and I’ve treasured it ever since. It sort of sums up that time for me, young parents listening to folk music (amongst other things), romantic style artwork with beautiful women wearing long medieval style dresses (not dissimilar to what my mum was wearing at the time!) and bearded knights in shining armour (my dad of course!). The illustrations are dramatically two colour and literally after all these years have made me want to get out my sketch book!
I will talk about the other illustrators I have loved soon …