'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Meet the Illustrator: Leonie Cheetham

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less:
Simple lines, 
Free and loose,
Vibrant with pizazz!

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Daniel Smith watercolour paints
Derwent Inktense pencils
Faber Castell watercolour pencils
Water brush
Brushes in all shapes and sizes but I prefer smaller
Fineliners in every colour of the rainbow
Gel pens 
Sketchbooks for planning and ideas
Good quality watercolour paper

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Watercolour combined with ink

Name three artists whose work inspires you
Ooh, now this would be way too hard as I draw my inspiration from many artists and sources, but if pushed I’m quite enamoured with illustrator, Quentin Blake.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
French Impressionists as they dared to break the rules

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
Participating in The 52 Week Illustration Challenge founded by Tania McCartney was my starting point, but a lifelong love of children’s picture books would have been my initial inspiration. 

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often?
At the moment this just happens to be my kitchen bench which as you can see is quite contained, but I am in the process of converting my study into an art studio, but I can’t share pictures of that just yet as its way too messy!

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
Ooh, does there have to be only one favourite part? I enjoy playing with initial ideas, but best of all I love adventurously splashing on the colour and watching the watercolour weave its magic. Sometimes I hold my breath as I watch what happens!  ;)

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Practice every single day even if it’s just doodling a small drawing. Experiment with styles until you find one that is totally unique to you. Try different media until you find the one you love the most. Connect with other artists and illustrators. Never, ever give up, despite having days where you want to! 

Leonie is an artist, illustrator and writer living on the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia. 
She has exhibited, been highly commended in illustration competitions, illustrated a travel brochure and is currently illustrating e-book covers for an American crime author. 
She aspires to illustrate and write her own picture booksYou can find out more about Leonie - www.facebook.com/leoniecheethamart


  1. Always love to see your vibrant work on the Challenge wall, Leonie! Thanks for sharing and good luck!

  2. Leonie is truly a gifted artist with a unique talent. Her style is powerful, stunning, and moves the viewer to feel emotion. The varieties of colors that she uses as well as the style, together create something magnificent.

    I had been looking for just the perfect person to illustrate a children's book that I've written and wanted to have published 2017. I was referred by Dinah Miller, Author of STOLEN SISTERS- A John Treehorn Mystery. Leonie had been hired by her to do a book cover and Dinah was incredibly impressed and highly recommended her services. I'm so grateful that she contacted me about Leonie, because she was exactly what I was looking for.

    The story she is working on for me is very close to my heart, and is designed for ages 6-9 years old. It appeals to children and families who deal with special needs and learning disabilities, and how it affects everyone involved and around them. It is based on a true story and its goal is to inspire and encourage ones dealing with these challenges.

    Leonie has sent me just one rough draft of the main character, drawn in 10 minutes, and when I saw it I actually let out tears because it was exactly what I was looking for. I am very confidant that her artwork will greatly contribute to the feeling of this story and I look forward to seeing the final results. The book is scheduled to come out tentatively by July 2017.


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