Welcome back to the '5 Minutes with..' series of interviews! Today we're excited to be chatting with new PP artist Katy Halford! From inspirational teachers, to her love of people watching and what inspires her gorgeous work, lets get to know a little more about Katy...
Where do you live/ work?
I live in a small town in Leicestershire called Melton Mowbray. I work at home, in my studio. Its a bright room and when the weather is good the sun shines straight into the room, and it really is beautiful.
What do you like about working there?
I enjoy having my own space, I find it comforting and easier to focus. I have everything I need at home and can choose to work when I'm at my best. I feel most creative in the afternoons and late into the evenings. I can work quietly or I can put the music on as loud as I want and really get lost in my work. Oh and also another bonus, I can dress how I please! We have a beautiful garden that is always full of birds too, so in the summertime I try to work outside as much as possible. We have two rabbits that are always around to keep me company too, their names are Hubert and Esme. We have a park just down the road from us, so I sometimes take myself for a walk through the park and into town to have a coffee.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I get to draw everyday, everything I have ever loved to do. Seeing the characters and environments I imagine in my mind progress from rough sketches to coloured art, is a really exciting process. Knowing that people buy and follow my work is really satisfying.
How do you work- what are your techniques?
My ideas always start off as sketches in my sketchbook- I love this part! I get to draw what I imagine and vision in my head and things start to come to life. I get to know the character I am drawing at this stage, sketching them in different positions and trying out different facial expressions. After the sketch process I sometimes create hand painted textures to add to the final coloured illustrations. I will then scan in my sketches and textures and add the colour using Photoshop. I use a Wacom tablet to draw with and have recently purchased an iPad Pro and use the Procreate app to add colour sometimes too.
What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
At the moment my favourite thing to draw is people and have just found a love of drawing dogs too. I guess this changes all the time.
If you had to choose, what would be your favourite character you have created?
What or who are you most inspired by?
I think I am mostly inspired by everything around us, I particularly like people watching, seeing how different we all look and dress - this definitely inspires my characters. I am always on Pinterest, there is so much inspiration on there! I guess in terms of art/illustration, it is always changing as there is always new stuff on the scene, the list is endless. I am always inspired by my talented arty friends too!
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
Hmmm this is so tricky! There are so many illustrators I admire. To name a few I would say, Lauren Child, Lesley Barnes, Kate Hindley, Alex T Smith, Alison Oliver, Sara Fanelli there are so many more...
What do you like to do in your spare time when you're not illustrating?
I love to visit National Trust properties, as I really like history. Going for long walks in the beautiful countryside, a particular favourite is Burghley House in Stamford. I also like to pot in the garden when/if I get some time. Catching up with friends and drinking tea is always good too!
How did you get into illustration?
Ever since I can remember I have always loved to draw and when I was little I used to write stories and draw the pictures to go with them. My main inspiration for illustration came from one of my sixth form teachers, as she was a practising illustrator. She used to show us all the work she did and it really opened my eyes to it. I then went on to study Illustration at Loughborough University and have worked hard at it ever since, continuing to learn and develop.
What are your top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1. Draw everyday or as much as you can, it's important to keep learning.
2. Believe in what you do, persevere and enjoy it.
3. Only be yourself, draw how you draw, don't try to be anyone else.
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
I loved anything by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Each Peach Pear Plum and Funny Bones were favourites!), Brambly Hedge, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, anything from Roald Dahl, again the list is endless.
What was the last book your read? What did you think?
The last book I read was Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. It's a lovely book and has the most beautiful illustrations inside. I don't read too many adult novels, if I do read a novel its usually fantasy, historical or adventure. I have been reading The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett for a while, I pick it up every now and then and have a read. It's a very interesting and clever book, as the story is told by alternating through the eyes of the different characters.
What are your aspirations for the rest of 2017?
To continue to keep drawing and creating and get lots of illustrations drawn for people to enjoy. I hope to book tickets to go the Bologna Children's Book Fair next year, as I didn't make it this year.
What's your ultimate dream?
To write and illustrate lots of books for people to enjoy all over the world. I would love to be the illustrator of a child's favourite childhood book! I hope one day to get a dog friend!
We really hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about Katy's life as a children's illustrator! We're so excited to have Katy with us at PP, and can't wait to get started on lots of exciting projects! To see more of her gorgeous work, you can visit Katy's PP folio page here or visit her website here.