Lucy is an international children's book illustrator from the U.K. She has had many years experience and her clients include, Simon & Schuster USA, American Girl, Scholastic USA, Heinmann, Harper Collins USA, Little Brown Books USA (YA and children's fiction). She loves working in the children's book market as there is so much freedom to express creativity and have fun with imaginative worlds. Her style is energetic and lively in its execution and subject matters. Lucy is hugely inspired by past masters of children's book illustration such as M Sasek and Maurice Sendak. Inspiration is drawn upon experiences and people watching, notably observing her own children and understanding their nuances!
Why I became a Freelance Illustrator
I became an illustrator as I had no Plan B. I still don't have! Drawing is a part of me. I have always loved drawing for as long as I can remember. I never was bored as a child. I used to love the sick days when I was at home feeling slightly better, and have fond memories of creating things, such as books and advent calendars, or paper dolls (I had created and cut out myself). When you are an artist you escape the real world's harshness to a soft and cosy world reliving those aspects of creativity. The inner child never truly leaves you!
Reading has given me knowledge and continues to do so, and moreover it spurs imagination and feeds creativity. I love getting lost in a book. I have always been an avid buyer of books, and would hate anyone touching them as a child. I haven't changed much either!
My aim is for the reader to escape into the worlds I create. And enjoy the pictures as a means to a deeper understanding of the story.
My favourite children's book has to be Maurice Sendak's Mickey in the Night Kitchen and also Where the Wild Things Are. I love Sendak's subversive story telling, and how exciting and fun he makes things which could be seen as quite dark and scary.
I start with reading the story and jotting down themes and key points which are relevant and interesting visually. I also will develop the characters and draw them in different scenarios so that they are alive to me before I go to illustrate them for the actual pages of the book. During this process I am collecting images either on the web or drawing from life, (which relate to the project) and I will create a visual database to reference whilst working on the project.
My family influence me greatly. Just listening to my children's conversations gives me an insight into how their mind works and what gives them joy, makes them angry or even makes them sad. I can give my character's an empathy I wouldn't know about if I didn't have my children. They are also very good and cheap models, not to mention they are very harsh critics which every good artist needs to have around them of course!
Reading is like food for children it shapes you and helps you to grow. You never stop learning when you read. I love reading, which is a luxury I don't get to enjoy as much as I'd like with having to care for a family. However, when I am not reading novels, I enjoy buying books to inspire me whether it is an art, photography, film or even a children's book (which I may let my children handle with care if they are good)!
I'd say let your children decide what they would like to read. If they get to choose they often become avid readers as they are reading what they are interested in. It is so important nowadays with all the visual electronic stimulus to have downtime with your own imagination.