It has been a while since I updated but so much has happened over the last two years. I will eventually restart my newsletter, it is on its way.
Here at last are some interesting facts and frequently asked questions by adults and children about my work. You can refer here to news and events and wonderful works in progress. I have been busy!
If you have questions or just want to write or share photos of your family reading my books please email me. I would love to hear from you.
My new studio is in the process of being built and I can’t wait to show it to you. Built and designed by my husband it will be just as I have always imagined.
Right now my home studio is cosy and wonderful as always albeit a bit all over the shop.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What inspires you?
I know everyone says this but absolutely everything inspires me. When I was little I was greatly inspired by the British illustrator Arthur Rackham, now my greatest inspirations are so many. Family would be top of my list and Nature would be a close second. It’s often the everyday things, the simple little things that stay with me, something someone says or a look, the way the trees move, the sound of the wind, a memory from childhood, a flickering candle, a beautifully shot movie, music, dear friends. The big inspirations are of course travelling and all the incredible places I have been. The sea, the sky, the moon, the stars.
I am also inspired and influenced by my dreams.
Certain people inspire me too. I am inspired by Beatrix Potter both as an artist and also as a woman. Fun fact my surname translates to Potter!
My stories are usually based on real life and more often than not they have a sprinkling of magic.
2.What is your typical day like?
It is usually very structured and a bit of a ritual. First I do some stretches,breath, light my candle, breath again and be still for a little while thinking of happy things, brew a coffee then I am ready to start. I work from around 9 to 3 most days and have a short break for lunch. Often when I am in the deep depths of a book, usually in the painting stage, I will go back to my studio in the late afternoon and work into the night. It is not unusual for me to work weekends as well. I try not to work at least one day a week when I can do things like cooking or reading or just watching movies. Sometimes, during the week, I like to take a day away from my book and do other creative things like ideas for greeting cards, pottery and botanicals. I like to take this time to try new techniques and materials. My studio is in my home so I can work around many everyday things and whenever I like which is a blessing.
I love to walk down to the beach. I am lucky it is not far from me at all.
I am a natural night owl so this lifestyle suits me very much.
3. What materials do you use?
For my painting I use Fabriano watercolour paper and Winsor and Newton watercolour paints and gouache. I am very superstitious I guess, I don’t like using any other paints or paper. I have recently been using some very yummy prismacolour coloured pencils and devouring the world of collage. I also use Japanese and Chinese ink, charcoal and not only a pencil but also tech pencils which are tiny. I love my teeny ink nibs that I bought in Venice. (they literally do have feathers on the ends of them)
4. Does the story come before or after the character?
This is a mixture sometimes the story comes first and sometimes the character does. Very often a strong character will very boldly arrive attitude and all like Agatha and Princess and Fairy did. These characters will tell me precisely what they want to wear and where they want to live. In The Heart Of A Whale the story came before the whale. The whale took a long time to create and the tiger in It’s Hard To Love A Tiger seemed to take forever. I also enjoy illustrating other authors’ stories so in that case the story comes first.
Often a character or story idea will come to me in a dream.
5. What’s the most difficult animal to draw and the easiest?
Well I love drawing everything but the hardest for me I think are horses with hedgehogs running or waddling close behind! The easiest for me are bears, any type of bears.
6. Do you have a favourite colour?
No I love all colours infact I make most of all the colours in the books by using only about 6 colours and mixing them together. its a secret recipe. The hardest colour and most challenging for me to make work are varieties of greens but when they do work….ahhh its heaven!
7. Which book was your favourite when you were little and what is your favourite now?
My mother used to read me Fairytales they were wonderful to me, especially Beauty and the Beast. I loved reading The Magic Faraway Tree and Malory Towers. My big sister used to read me Edgar Allen Poe when we shared a room and that probably instilled in me a forever love of everything “Gothic” Most inspirational book is of course Wuthering Heights, another fun fact I was born on the same day as Emily Bronte.
8. If you didn’t do this what would you do?
Ballet if I had the toes for it !
Movie storyboarded or critic.
Fortune Teller or Astrologer.
Something you might not know about me is that I used to make potions in a real witch’s shop and I have my very own crystal ball.
9. Do you live in a faraway castle?
I would say my home is my castle and its pretty far from hustle and bustle so yes I do live in a faraway castle.
10. Have you ever seen a unicorn?
Well my sister has always had lots of various horses and when I was little I was absolutely convinced that one of them was a unicorn, I still am. Also I have seen fairies in the garden, definitely.
11. Why did you become an illustrator and author?
Since I can remember I have always loved to draw. I carried a little blackboard or drawing pad around with me from when I was tiny and drew all the time. I suppose it came naturally to me, I have also always loved to write. I was determined from a very young age that I would follow my dream of being an illustrator of childrens’ books. The illustrating came first and I suppose its my greater love of the two loves. For me it’s all about escaping into other worlds and living in my imagination. I always have and I always will.
12. What do you hope for children?
My hope is that through my work children will be inspired to follow their dreams, to do what is in their hearts and to use their imaginations in all things.
I hope to encourage children to think of books as companions and magical treasures.
News, works in progress, new books
I took a year off in 2018 not by choice but by necessity. I have always been one to stop and smell the roses but now even more so. After all my treatments had finished my family and I went to Europe. What bliss to start afresh and call in the new year from Vienna.
During that time I truly realised and am grateful for how blessed I am to have such incredible friends and family. It was also a time of quietly gathering new skills and ideas.
Since then I have been really busy enjoying inspiring new projects with wonderful fellow author friends and the most amazing publishers. Here I’ll share snippets of artwork and works in progress developed over the last year or so as well as new books.
NEW BOOK NEWS
I am so, so happy to show you my brand new book hot off the press.
Kit and Caboodle published by Little Hare, is out in September in time for Halloween and some spooky Halloween fun. Stay tuned for more….
IN EXCITING NEWS…one of my books was honoured this week.
The Heart Of A Whale published in the US by Philomel Books Penguin Random House is the WINNER in the International Book Awards 2020 Children’s Picture Book Hardcover Fiction. This is super special and the sticker looks awesome. This book also has a Kirkus Star and was reviewed favourably in the Wall Street Journal.
It is available to buy on my website, (if you would like a personally signed copy), in all good book shops and also through Amazon (Pick of the month) and Booktopia.
I have just started a great new book project with wonderful author Robert Vescio. It’s my first book with both author and publisher New Frontier Publishing. It is such fun to create the new characters. Here is a look at some works in progress and character development.
WITCHES AND POTIONS coming soon…..
Here is another sneak peek ….. my new book that is out soon.
I love this book so much and the characters have been swimming around for years and years in my head and heart. GET READY . This one is a bit cooky and spooky and will be on shelves in time for Halloween.
Kit is a witch and Caboodle is a bat. Watch this space for more freaky things. I will have some creepy activities and gloopy recipes for you to try out. Maybe even a witchy song or two and of course a couple of fun magic spells. I can’t promise to make you fly but you will giggle that’s for sure.
I look forward to dusting off my witch’s hat and dressing up. I hope you will too.
Kit and Caboodle is published by Little Hare.
Here is Kit and Caboodle in their early incarnations.
“A Thousand Kisses From Mummy” published by Scholastic Press is the perfect book for Mother’s Day or a gift for that special someone.
It is also a lovely companion to “A Thousand Hugs From Daddy” also published by Scholastic Press.
“A kiss to wake me from my sleep,
then more to treasure and to keep.
And I’m as happy as can be-
a thousand kisses, all for me!”
“A beautiful story that is full to the brim with kisses.”
I have lots of greeting cards available please go to the “store” page to see the link to Nuovo Cards.
They are all available in gift shops and galleries nationwide .