We’re delighted to welcome Polly Noakes as the 27th guest on Meet An Illustrator, the regular weekend quick-fire Q&A.
Polly, who has been illustrating children’s books since the 198os and now lives in rural north Yorkshire, having moved up there from the deep south just over a year ago, recently gave her Instagram followers a glimpse of her new studio:
View this post on Instagram
The paperback edition of A Present for Rosy, illustrated by Polly and written by Jonathan Emmett, was published by Walker Books just a couple of months ago.
She was author and illustrator for Hide And Seek, published by Child’s Play in 2018 and described by KIRKUS as “a visual romp” and by Publishers Weekly as “a study in how to design a beautiful book with a young child’s sensibilities firmly in mind.”
Books coming soon!
- Love From Santa – Michelle Robinson and Polly Noakes (Bloomsbury, 2022)
- Me and my shadow – by Polly Noakes (Child’s Play, 2022)
This mini-series aims to pique a reader’s interest in the featured illustrator. With that in mind, the following interview (from last year – 2020 – on Elephant Books) is highly recommended:
In the interview, Polly talks about her picture book, TheVery Long Sleep also published by Child’s Play:
As a child, what were the first illustrations you remember admiring?
I started drawing regularly from about the age of seven. I still have these drawings, mostly of fairies and imaginary worlds with lots of centaurs, no idea why!
Who/what inspired you when you were young?
I loved looking at books by Arthur Rackham and Shirley Hughes, especially the ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ books. I still admire Shirley Hughes’ work today and I am certain my love of illustration was sparked from gazing at her books while my mother read to me. It’s a very strong memory.
Who inspires you today?
The picture books of my tutor in the 80’s, Warwick Hutton – they are unique with an incredible use of perspective and light. And Brian Wildsmith.
Did you study art/illustration?
I studied illustration at Cambridge School of Art in the 1980’s and more recently on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration, graduating in 2015.
What is your favourite artist tool/product?
Tricky, as I have lots! But I love Blackwing pencils at the moment.
Where do you buy your art supplies?
What software/apps do you use?
After drawing/painting/mono-printing my work, I use Photoshop to clean it, resize and collage.
What was your first commission?
My first picture book, ‘Sally Sky Diver’, published by JM Dent/Orion – I walked in off the street and walked out with a deal. It was so easy in the 80’s!
What are you working on at the moment?
A baby board book publishing next year and a picture book called ‘Love From Santa’, written by Michelle Robinson for Bloomsbury.
Twitter or Instagram? Instagram
Coffee or tea? Both
Dog or cat? Both
Grape or grain? Both
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset
What do you listen to when you are working? Music – lots of jazz, Neil Cowley is a favourite at the moment.
Podcasts – anything about the creative process.
Radio 4 on and off.
Where can we follow you on social media?
This is a regular weekend feature, publishing every Saturday.