Tuesday 18 September 2012

The First Ever ReadItDaddy Interview! We talk to Jenni Desmond, Author and Illustrator of Red Cat, Blue Cat (Blue Apple Books)

We're rather excited and honoured to be interviewing Jenni Desmond, Author and Illustrator of "Red Cat, Blue Cat" as our first ever interview. Jenni is a freelance Author, Illustrator and Artist represented by The Bright Agency and Bright Literary Agency. "Red Cat, Blue Cat" is published by Blue Apple Books. 

ReadItDaddy: What's the best thing about working in children's books / illustration?

Jenni Desmond: For me, it is doing a job that I am so passionate about- I feel incredibly lucky.  It’s great to get to be so creative every day and to be able to embrace the ridiculous side of your personality that you might give up when you have to become an adult.

ReadItDaddy: Who are your art heroes (past or present) / greatest influences on your work?

Jenni Desmond: There are way too many illustrators to list.  But I greatly admire the artists who lived in Paris at the beginning of the 1900’s such as Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso, and Japanese art and aesthetics particularly from the Edo period. 

ReadItDaddy: If you could pick a single superpower to help you with your work /
life, what would it be?

Jenni Desmond: It would be something that stopped time rushing by so fast. (We'll have a word with our friend Hermione and see if we can borrow her pocket watch! - Ed)

ReadItDaddy: This is probably a completely pointless question given your latest
book but do you consider yourself to be a dog or cat person (or both?)

Jenni Desmond: Believe it or not, although I do love cats, I would say I was more of a dog person.  I love taking my parents dog for long walks in the countryside - you can’t really do that with cats. (It's true, we tried once, it didn't work out very well - Ed)

ReadItDaddy: How do you feel about the rise of electronic media? Is it something
you see yourself dabbling in eventually?

Jenni Desmond: I think it’s important for children to learn and have fun in lots of different ways, and if electronic media can be another way of doing that then it must be a good thing. I might do some dabbling, possibly.

ReadItDaddy: Charlotte wanted to ask 'Who is your favourite Disney Princess and
are you going to do any books with princesses in?' (be warned, this is
a character assassination question subtly dressed up as a 4 year old's
innocent query!)

Jenni Desmond: After a long hard think I am going to go with Belle.  I have no princess books planned, but I would consider doing one if the princess was slightly mischievous. (Charlotte's reaction to 'Belle' was "YAY! Belle is the most beautiful! But I like Snow White best because she's cute! - Ed) 

ReadItDaddy: Charlotte also wanted to ask 'what's your favourite colour?' (hers
is, unsurprisingly, pink so she's secretly campaigning for 'pink cat'
(who does ballet) to turn up in the sequel if there is one!)

Jenni Desmond: My favourite colour is white.  Perhaps red cat could meet white cat in the sequel and there could be lots of pink kittens? (this answer definitely got a huge nod of approval from Charlotte! -Ed)

ReadItDaddy: What's your routine for getting motivated / started first thing in
the morning?

Jenni Desmond: I’m sure this is terrible for my health, but I have a whole cafetiere of black coffee every morning.  I also listen to a lot of music that motivates me, and I cycle to work or sometimes go for a run to get some fresh air and think about things.  When I get to the studio I always draw in my visual diary- I do one drawing a day, so that I can look back at my year and remember what I’ve been doing.  It’s also quite good as a morning warm-up sketch. (Definitely approve of the cafetiere of coffee - Ed!)

ReadItDaddy: Which piece of art equipment / kit is your essential tool of the trade?

Jenni Desmond: A 2b pencil and a good pencil sharpener.

ReadItDaddy: Last but by no means least, How important do you think bloggers /
tweeters and the online community are to authors / illustrators?

Jenni Desmond: I think they are fantastic for spreading the word about new work and new artists.  I love finding new illustrators through social media and its wonderful when you find one that excites you.  So for me it is an essential tool to promote my work and also to nose around to see what interesting and beautiful things everyone is doing. (Hear hear! - Ed)

Many many thanks to Jenni for her time and her superb answers and to Blue Apple Books for providing a copy of Red Cat, Blue Cat for review. Please drop by Jenni's excellent website and check out her beautiful online gallery and illustrations.