How easy do you find it working from home? Are there too many distractions?
I find it very easy to work from home, lots of people tell me they could never do it but I love it. Of course it helps that I am passionate about what I do. Very occasionally I do miss working in the studio (at Hallmark) but I remind myself how nice it is to have that sense of freedom in my working day.
There isn’t a lot to distract me, as fortunately my main interest is my artwork! (Apart from the fridge, obviously). 5live keeps me company, as does Lucy and sometimes Philip Schofield but only via the TV.
How important is the online art community (such as flickr, twitter and of course your blog followers) to you?
The online art community is extremely important. I feel it’s vital to have contact with other freelancers and I’ve met lots of people I consider to be good friends, which is a huge bonus. The feedback I gain through my blog is crucial. It challenges me, it encourages me to try new things and gives me the confidence in the style I’ve developed.
Your blog has bloomed with followers in the past year or so, more than enough for a decent sized cult – what’s your secret?
Haha! I spend time visiting other blogs and I make sure I leave a comment when I do. I post regularly and get involved with online art projects such as Illustration Friday, They Draw & Cook etc. Also being part of a fab group at www.welovetoillustrate.com has helped my blog to gain loads of exposure.
What were your favourite children’s books as a kid?
I will never forget a book called Tiger Pig. I remember making my dad read it to me over and over. (Does anyone know that book?) I also loved John Burningham, Richard Scarry, Raymond Briggs, Janet and Allan Ahlberg and Maurice Sendak. I loved books as a child and still do.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the children’s book market? Are there any artists that stand out for you?
There are so many wonderful artists in the market. It is such an exciting industry. I particularly love Emily Gravett, Mick Inkpen, Leigh Hodgkinson, Neal Layton, Lauren Child, Catherine Rayner, Oliver Jeffers, Kazuno Kohara, Axel Scheffler…I could go on and on! Lots of things are changing with the introduction of book apps but it’s very interesting to see where things are going and it’s amazing to be part of that.
What bugs you more – being tailgated or being stuck behind an infuriatingly slow driver?
Tailgaters are the worst! You know who you are! My response is to drive infuriatingly slow.
Favourite Geordie expression?
Whey aye man, bonny day the day…pet.
If you weren’t an illustrator, what profession do you think you’d be in?
This is the hardest question for me to answer! All I’ve ever wanted to be is an illustrator. There was a very brief ‘I want to be a vet’ phase, then I realised I’d have to deal with poorly animals and that would be sad. I suppose chocolate tasting would be a good direction for me. Or an elephant keeper.
Finally, what can we expect to see from Cally Jane in the next year or so?
My first picture book is published this summer, which is the most exciting thing ever! I’m working on my second book now and have a further 2 books to do this year. I have a constant stream of Penny Black stamps coming out and a few greetings card ranges in the pipeline too.
Thanks to Cal for the words and pics.