I’ve been drawing all my life; I can’t remember a time when I haven’t scribbled and doodled on any available scrap of paper. Even when I’m not physically drawing, I’m thinking about it and roughing out pictures in my head. At an early age my grandfather introduced me to the delight of books and reading; he was such a consummate story-teller, feeding my imagination with magic carpets, dragons, pirates and other characterful oddities. With such a background, it’s probably no surprise that when I grew up I decided to be a children’s book illustrator. I studied illustration at Art College for four years, after which I found myself an agent and started receiving publishing commissions. I have been working as an illustrator for 20 years and am currently signed with Plum Pudding Illustration.
My passion for reading and books has never subsided and whilst working as an illustrator, I also studied for a degree in English Literature at university. I wrote my final year thesis on Jane Austen’s work, so I’m very familiar with her novels and characters, which I hope is visible in my illustrations.
I first opened BlueSkyInking in 2010, offering mostly animal cartoons and assorted historical and literary character illustrations. Since then BlueSkyInking has undergone several reincarnations to emerge as the shop it is now, honing in on literary themed artwork, prints and cards. I decided to concentrate on ‘the classics’ after creating my ‘Cast of’ series of illustrations of Jane Austen’s novels, which, to my very great surprise and pleasure, were received well by customers on Etsy and also by the Jane Austen House Museum, which now stocks my work in the museum shop.
Although Austen is my favourite author, I love all the classics because they offer such a rich source of characters, wonderful stories, beautiful use of language, and they merit re-reading with fresh eyes and new interpretations. I think these books also appeal to our desire to return to a bygone age, to different manners and lifestyles, to somewhere far away from the 21st century, whilst still exploring recognisably modern themes and human concerns.
In conjunction with my publishing work, I aim with BlueSkyInking to continue creating original artwork, prints and cards, extending the range of authors on offer to literary lovers everywhere.
Thanks so much for being my guest, Liz! It was pleasure having you here today!
Feel like stalking Liz a bit? Check out the links below. And while you're at it, don't forget to show her shop some love and maybe let me know about your favorite pieces there too!