In addition to creating fun picture book characters, I have a real passion for older reader books – especially those that involve a bit of magic. I love the worlds that authors such as Matilda Woods (The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker and The Girl who Sailed the Seas), Sophie Anderson (The House with Chicken Legs), Emma Carroll (The Girl Who Walked on Air and Skychasers) and Tamzin Merchant (The Hatmakers). For me, illustrating books for this age group satisfies my need for dark, haunting atmosphere and settings, sprinkled with adventures and intrigue.
I am currently teaching a creative writing project in a local senior school, working with small groups of Y7 & Y8 and it’s been wonderful seeing them respond imaginatively to the most unusual of prompts. It’s also the perfect opportunity to browse their library shelves and delve into the student’s worlds. I create these pieces using a range of media including charcoal, print, digitally and even twigs dipped in ink. I don’t have a favoured technique – although ink, charcoal and a bit of a digital magic are my favourite combination.
I’ve even had some fun mocking up some of these images (and my sketchbook portfolio) into book covers.
All texts and images ©Jane Sunbeam 2013-2023