I’ve always loved to draw. My love for illustration began as a child.
I can’t help drawing, it’s a great way to tell a story. My Mum was an artist and my Dad built our house. My brother is good with his hands too – he’s a surgeon. We were always a do-it-yourself family and collectors of anything that might come in handy.
My training as an artist and a teacher has provided me with a good foundation for creating visual narratives. My experience as an art teacher in particular was great for introducing me to art practices of all kinds and started me thinking about art as a conversation, rather than an end in itself. And art in conversation with children is right up my alley.
I love books – especially picture books – I’ve collected them all my life. They inspire me, feed me and I love to share them. My first book was published in 1980 and each and every book I’ve worked on since has been different and that’s because my approach is driven by the story. I have lots of tricks up my sleeve to make whatever may be right to tell each story – whether I have written it – or someone else has.
I am drawn to create but I do benefit from being directed, organised and supported by the sorts of people who are best at that. I like working in a team, particularly with creative people, and especially with and for children.
I am curious to see what happens when my hand seems to take over the lead from my head. I am excited by the accidents, surprises and tangents that have me seeing new possibilities. I love being asked for solutions and ideas. More and more, I realise how important it is that people are so different in their ways of thinking and working and acting – we fill each-others gaps. Though I can be frustrated by those who don’t see or do things my way, the other way is nearly always complimentary and useful in the end.
I believe that we need to take ownership of what we create, even if our whole purpose is to share it. I am very careful and particular about creating something. I take my time and perfect it to suit. And I want to protect it. If it’s copied I want control over how, and why. If it makes money, I have a right to earn from it. That makes sense. So, publishing is my business and the concept and practice of Copyright supports me as a creator and informs me as a consumer.