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- author Jackie French

Thursday 5 November 2015

Meet the Illustrator: Liz Anelli

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Drawing centred, narrative, layered, multi-media, not all that tidy

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My Renew Newcastle studio is larger than the living space of our flat with 3 big windows overlooking some very nice cafes. I sit at a Victorian desk from the London Natural History Museum that has come round the world with me and been the reassuring companion for every commission of my career. I also love a 0.3 propelling pencil, my colour-coded drawers full of collage materials, my collection of odd objects to print with, Radio4 and a variety of podcasts, cups of tea/coffee/good friends for necessary moments of procrastination.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
No – my favourite thing is to combine media either using a computer or traditionally with a tiny pair of scissors, a steady hand and a dab of glue.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Chris Corr – I love his naïve freedom with gouache paint
Richard Scarry – information graphics at its finest
Tove Jansson – the perfect storyteller in line and word.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I’d like to have been one of those Medieval explorer map-makers or a manuscript illuminator in a monastery – doing the decorative Bible margins. I would make it my life’s work to include slightly naughty details hardly anyone else noticed.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I drew stories before I could read or write. I think it was how I got my own way as the youngest child. Why would I want to be anything else?

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often?

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
I like days going out drawing for research. That never feels like work and I generally get into some interesting conversations about whatever it is I am recording. I love the excitement of creating storyboards and tiny little dummy books and then allowing these to grow into larger roughs. There are so many decisions to make with the actual artwork (which colour, texture, shade to chose) that this stage is a tightrope of highs and lows.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
 Never, ever give up. Read and look at other good picture books, don’t be too proud to take advice (especially from people younger than yourself), draw what you love not what you think will sell, enjoy yourself.

Liz Anelli is a UK-born artist and illustrator living in Australia. She has illustrated several books, including Mike Lefroy's Howzat! (Walker Books) and is also known for her printmaking and maps, such as the amazing Port of Newcastle map which incorporates stories from the history of the area. Visit Liz's website and Facebook page for more information about her illustrations and artwork.