Author, Julia Richman, and I did a reading last weekend at The Deer Little Market, for Katya Cat: The Bacon Chase
There was a certain familiarity when I walked into Deer Park, with a board under my arm, an envelope with colouring-in characters, a sharpie pen, some pastels and what I call my ‘cheat note’ illustrations. After we had located a take-away coffee stall, we started wandering down, following signs saying ‘reading for kids here.’ Under a large pine-tree, we found some blankets that had been rolled out in anticipation of our arrival. I whats-app’d Julia Richman, the author of Katya Cat – The Bacon Chase, to find out where she was. Read more
Jane has been an illustrator for seven years and has worked with clients such as Penguin Random House, Magination Press, OUP, Cambridge and Pearson Education to name a few. Some of her books are Mattie’s Magical Dreamworld, Magic at the Museum and How I learn. She is based in England, but has strong ties in South Africa.
Celeste: First of all, tell me about the day that you first broke into the industry. Where were you, what was the push that got the publisher to notice you, what was the book…?
Jane: I feel like I’ve been breaking in the industry, little by little, for the past decade. I started illustrating when I was an undergrad student in Canada. I did a joint major in art history and classics and had a part time job as a personal assistant for my archaeology professor. One day she asked me if I knew anyone in the art department who would be able to do simple ink drawings of some ancient funerary monuments for a publication. I told her that I was sure I could do it, and from that day my job changed from PA to illustrator. I worked with her for the remainder of my degree, and for several years after I graduated. I even went on digs in North Africa, and drew all the excavations and finds. It was then that I realized that illustration was my passion.
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As I walked down the stairs at The Book Lounge, in the heart of Cape Town, it all of a sudden hit me. I could hear the children playing and laughing from below, general chit-chat and social noises of their parents and the sound of tea and coffee mugs clinking with their fellow saucers. In a few minutes I was going to illustrate the three main characters that I created from the imagination of Julia Richman’s book, Katya Cat.
Julia was calm as ever. In fact, it was all a little reversed as just the week before when we had our meeting to determine our ‘game plan,’ she was incredible nervous and I was calm. Now we were here with swapped emotions, in this gorgeous environment, with (another) Julia Anastasopoulos illustrations on the wall with buildings and stick characters holding balloon. Although for those of you in South Africa, you know Miss Anastasopoulos by her alter-ego name – Suzelle DIY.