It’s holiday time and it’s the perfect period to take out your sketch pad and put your imagination on paper or, as in the case of illustrator Kate Daubney, give life to animals and characters with a dip pen at hand and a coffee nearby.
Kate, tell us more about when and where your passion for drawing started…
I was brought up in a tiny seaside village called Mortehoe in North Devon. From an early age I can remember taking my sketch pad to the local beach and writing stories about monster man eating crabs that lurked in dark caves and mermaids that ate periwinkles for supper. It wasn’t until I attended secondary School that I started illustrating my stories and with the help of a very enthusiastic art teacher my drawing skills began to sharpen and my future as an illustrator was set.
From drawing monster man eating crabs on the beach to illustrator of children’s books, how did this happen?
After three years of studying for a degree in illustration at Falmouth University I left with a portfolio which included a small collection of children’s book concepts. Fortunately one of these was spotted at the New Designers show in London by the publisher Caterpillar books. This then went on to be my first publication titled ‘The Monster Counting Book’. I guess those stories of monster man eating crabs had paid off!
Since then I’ve gone on to work on some brilliant projects with some wonderful publishers including ‘Whose a Cheeky Monkey’ with Ladybird Books, ‘Under the Sea’ with Egmont Books, ‘Hocus Pocus Diplodocus’ with Maverick Books amongst a host of other titles.
It sounds like an exciting job, populated by rather interesting creatures…
I’m very fortunate that my job allows me to work remotely and after a three year city stint in Bristol I moved back to North Devon where my partner and I acquired a small house, promptly followed by a small dog named Taz. All of my work now is pretty much supplied digitally and this enables me to have the freedom to not only work from home but means I can travel with my job.
I think travel is really important to me creatively as nothing inspires me more than first hand observation. I have sketch books crammed with little doodles of all kinds of characters and scenes from my travels. I love to get humour and detail into my work and for this my observational sketches are a fantastic resource that’s completely personal to me.
And now let’s find out what there is in your artist’s drawer…
To make my illustrations I use a dip pen with a Leonardt 801 nib for the line work and then colour the work digitally using a library of ever growing textures and patterns. I really like the line a dip pen gives you. The way you can get a different thickness and weight just by the way you twist the pen gives the line a very human touch and really underpins my artwork style. I also like to use a dip pen and ink for my sketches as it teaches me to be economic and confident with my marks.
Life as an illustrator...
Whether it be sat on a bench in France sketching village life or at my desk at home coming up with characters for the next picture book I can’t imagine life without drawing and am certain that in whatever context it may be, an illustrators life is for me.