Today my guest is JENNI DESMOND, children's picture book author and illustrator
Jenni, thank you for being guest
Please tell us a little about yourself?
I am a London-based freelance illustrator and picture book maker represented by Bright Agency. Red Cat Blue Cat is my first picture book, which was published last week by Blue Apple Books USA- it was incredibly exciting! I studied History of Art and English at Sussex University, and then I did a Masters in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. Red Cat Blue Cat was my final project on the MA.
You are author and illustrator for Red Cat, Blue Cat which had me wondering if the illustrations or the story came first.
I don't have a set way of working, but normally what happens is that the idea for a story comes first, and then I play around with it a lot with illustrations, putting little bits of words alongside when I need to explain something that is not happening in the illustration. I then do a lot of experimentation with the characters and layouts visually, and then write it out properly to check that the words make sense. So I suppose they grow organically alongside each other.
Do you concentrate on your art for the younger audience?
My main focus at the moment is creating books for children. However, I also do illustrations for album covers, wedding invites, and textile designs. I would also love to make a more 'grown up' and macabre book at some point. I tend to create stories that I would have liked when I was little. I think children can be quite sophisticated in their understanding of images and stories. So I tend to write them for adults/parents, children, and myself. I don't believe that the line between what is fun for children and what is fun for adults should be as strong or distinct as it often is seen to be.
Are you working on a follow up book for younger readers?
My next project with Blue Apple Books was written by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by me, it's called Backstage Cat and is out in March. I am writing and illustrating a new book with them at the moment, and another one with a new publisher.