How long have you been an illustrator for?
I’ve been working as an illustrator for 16 years. I specialise in children’s books.
We all love our cute free stamp set! How did you set about designing each cat or dog? Do you have any pets yourself, and if so, do they feature in your illustrations?
As I’m a huge animal lover (particularly cats and dogs!) they tend to appear in most of my books. I have 2 cats – a big fat tom-cat called Hughie and a little tiny black cat called Matilda. I also have a Fox Terrier called Queenie. Every cat or dog I meet is inspiring, so I never run out of ideas for new characters!
When you’re illustrating a book, how much freedom you have in deciding how your illustrations will look?
I always have plenty of freedom with the look and feel of my illustrations as publishers commission each illustrator because of their unique style. There’s always editorial and design input, but that tends to be about tweaking things so that the book is the best it can be.
Do you work home or in a studio?
I am very fortunate to work from home. My studio is in the loft of our house.
Describe your typical working day…
My working day involves taking my children to school, then talking the dog for a walk. After that I make a cup of tea and head straight upstairs to the studio. I’m always followed by Matilda who loves to stretch out on my desk! I tend to work up until it’s time to do the school run again. When I have deadlines I tend to work in the evenings too.
Which mediums do you like to work in?
I use mostly acrylics, ink, collage and pencil – so a real mixture. I like to have a freedom of line when I’m drawing.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs from?
My inspirations have always been animals and nature, plus 1950s and 1960s children’s books for colour reference, and, of course, my children never fail to inspire me.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a new picture book in my Lulu series, which I’m pretty sure I can fit a dog in somewhere!
You can find out more about Ailie’s work on the Bright Agency’s website.