Illustrations expand our world as a story evolves through the author’s words, and we love the illustrators who bring our titles to life. Whether through watercolors, pencil sketches, or digital renderings, we work with some of the most talented artists and agencies in the industry, and it’s our pleasure to take time to give you a behind-the-scenes interview with those we are working with and to share how they are designing and drawing our elementary, middle grade, and young adult titles.
Our second In Our Notes series interview is an introduction to Janet Samuel, a multi-published illustrator from South Wales in the United Kingdom. Janet is the illustrator for our brand new early chapter book series for readers 7-10 years of age, Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash. This is the first title in The Teeny Sweeney series and will be released in March of this year. Janet has illustrated a mix of projects for many different companies, including greeting cards, board books, and picture books. It was while earning her illustration degree at Swansea University that she was introduced to a variety of illustrative work, such as advertising and editorial, and children’s books. It was illustrating for children that she fell in love with, and the rest is her beautiful history.
Tell us a little bit about your family. I live with my 19-year-old daughter, Alice, and my little dog, Tilly. Alice is now studying a degree in illustration at Swansea University.
What do you enjoy most about living in your South Wales community? I like that I have the hustle and bustle of a small town, but also the quiet of the countryside at my doorstep.
When did you realize that you wanted to spend your life drawing? I think I was as young as four-years-old when I knew that I wanted to draw forever! My father painted with oils while I was growing up, and both my brothers were talented too. However, I am the only one who pursued it further.
What drew you to The Teeny Sweeney series? Teeny is such an exuberant character that it has been a pleasure to develop her personality on paper. I love that her family is such a strong unit, so no matter what Teeny gets up to, she has this amazing support system around her.
Do you have a favorite story from the Bible? If so, which one? Noah’s Ark is a favorite. I was lucky enough to illustrate Noah’s Big Boat (Lion Children’s Books) by Bob Hartman, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator, whether young or older? Get a strong portfolio together and find an agent. And, draw something everyday.
Crayons or Markers? Why? Markers, because they are bolder than crayons.
What makes you happiest or brings you the most joy about what you do? Being part of a team that together create a book which will give pleasure to lots and lots of children.
You can view more about Janet and her illustrations via The Bright Agency. Teeny Sweeney and The Mustache Cash written by author Amberly Kristen Clowe is available for pre-order now and will be released Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Reserve your copy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble today!