‘Dirty Bertie: Jackpot!’ is the 25th book in the series, what is your secret to success?
Having a great imagination in the form of the writer Alan MacDonald. Alan really understands Bertie and gets the whole humour of his character so it’s been great working with him on the previous 24 books.
After illustrating 25 stories, is it still easy to find inspiration for Dirty Bertie’s forthcoming adventures?
I can’t say as that is down to Alan, but all I can say is that having someone take your imagination to new and exciting places in the form of the different adventures that Bertie has, keeps the illustration interesting and fresh for me.
Which is your favourite Dirty Bertie book and why?
It’s very difficult to choose, but I think it would have to be Zombie because that contains the story ‘Zumba’ where Miss Boot joins a zumba class. After Bertie, Miss Boot is my favourite character so it was great to draw her in a leotard and leg warmers!
How would you describe Dirty Bertie books to those who haven’t read them yet?
Bertie is such a funny, likeable, little but misunderstood character. He tries really hard and very rarely succeeds. He has an innocent mischievousness. Both boys and girls really enjoy the books too.
Where can fans of Dirty Bertie find out more?
What was your favourite book as child?
My favourite is the first book I ever bought called ‘A Hole is to Dig’ written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
How did you get into illustrating?
I started out as a fashion illustrator whilst working as a milliner in Hong Kong and later in London. Having shared a flat with two children’s book illustrators whilst at college I’d always secretly harboured a dream to do this as a job. It wasn’t until I met my agent Christine Isteed who encouraged me to pursue children’s books rather than fashion that I started to believe that I could do it.
With award-winning books already in the bag, do you have any literary ambitions you’re yet to fulfil?
Absolutely loads! I’d like to illustrate ‘Beowulf’, ‘The War of the Worlds’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ to name a few among many other classic stories.
Do you have any top tips for budding illustrators?
Draw, draw, draw! Think and free your imagination and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
Do you have any projects in the pipeline you can share with us?
I’m really excited to be working on a fiction series called ‘The Bolds’ written by Julian Clary. It’s a very funny, playful text with hilarious characters. I’m working on a fairy-tale retelling with my sister, Lynn, and later in the year I’m working with Andrea Beaty again on another story in the ‘Iggy Peck’ series.