Sunshine Smile Publications is delighted to showcase the very talented Jane Eccles!
Jane is an illustrator who excels in drawing children and pets. Her ability to subtly capture their characters is done with great skill and technique, using pen & ink and watercolour. Jane's illustrations lend themselves to children's books, as well as gorgeous prints and cards. Her published work includes book illustrations for Scholastic, Macmillan, A&C Black, Watts, Child's Play and more! It is a privilege to showcase a small sample of her fabulous work! Enjoy!
Q & A with Jane Eccles, Illustrator
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am working on some private commissions through my folksy shop - I'm currently doing some birthday cards. I have also been experimenting with ACEOs (little pictures no bigger than 3.5 inches x 2.5 inches). I am also collaborating with a writer on a new book idea - it's at the very early stages at the moment with much to discuss, but I am very excited by it.
And I'm also developing some animals characters which are to be used on the new website of a company which runs Spanish & French classes for small children (Little Fidgets).
Is there anything you're busy promoting?
I regularly update my Kind Dog facebook page with work in progress or finished pieces, and me and my fellow illustrators at Frances McKay Illustration write regular blogs - usually about our current work or general observations about the world of illustration. We try to tweet as often as possible about ourselves and other illustrators that we have discovered in the wonderful world of cyberspace. Since being on Twitter I have made many new contacts and found my way to many illustrator's websites. It is surprising how much work you can get by just being on Facebook and networking a bit!
Can you recommend a children's book that you recently enjoyed?
I'm picking two books: one from my own childhood and one I bought for my own son when he was four. My book is Jade Tales by Micheline Maurel and illustrated by Annick Delhumeau - my copy was published by Edmund Ward and has my Puffin Post bookplate in the front cover. It is a book of magical tales such as that of Himlico, the eighth child who is spirited away by the portrait of his Chinese grandmother because his family cannot decide on a name for him. The illustrations are truly wonderful - the current trend for a retro look in illustration makes them seem very fresh and contemporary. I remember when I was little, thinking that it looked very modern and different!
My second book is George at the Seaside by Anne Gutman and George Hallensleben - one of the books in the series featuring George, a little black dog and Lily, a little white dog. George persuades his parents to let him go to summer school to learn windsurfing - George tells the other children on the train journey to the sea that he is a swimming champion. They finally get to try the windsurfers out in the sea... "DISASTER! It wasn't like at the swimming pool where the water only comes up to your knees. The sea was really deep. There were lots of waves. And I had a big problem: I didn't know how to swim." The pictures are glorious, bright and bold paintings and the books are funny and charming with George always getting in some kind of difficult situation of his own making.
Do you have a piece of advice for beginning illustrators?
I think the main thing is just to observe and absorb everything you see and hear - store it up in your head or in a little drawing or photograph - and just keep drawing and experimenting so that your work evolves. Invest in a lightbox - I read that Quentin Blake used one and immediately got myself one - it saves a lot of time and helps keep the freshness and uninhibited line of rough drawing in the final artwork. Loiter in art shops and try out new mediums and materials - I find them irresistible and love buying new inks especially - new kit is always inspiring! And make yourself known - I've noticed that lots of new illustrators and those still at art school have websites or blogs and these do get your noticed if you put them about a bit.