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

Thursday 9 January 2020

Meet The Illustrator: Fiona Halliday

Name: Fiona Halliday

Describe your illustration style in 10 or less words:
a mix of traditional and digital techniques

What items are an essential part of your creative work space: honestly, just peace and quiet!

Do you have a favourite artistic medium: 
I start off with sketches which are invariably dreadful. I wring my hands for a while about that and then crawl into Photoshop - I like the perfect lines you can make.

Name 3 artists whose work inspires you: 
currently Errol Le Cain, Eyvind Earle, Beatrice Alemagna 

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I would love to have the opportunity to follow Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi around for a while through the late 15 – 1600s – just to watch them harness all the dark, traumatic energy! And then I’d skip forward in time to dally with Joan Eardley in the late 1950s-60. She lived and worked latterly just up the road from where I grew up, and she put such strange, dear magic into our wild Scottish seas and skies.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
My family are all very artistic, but I never started dabbling until my early thirties. I had just moved to Austria and couldn’t speak German, I think maybe that was the impetus. I really like creating characters and watching them move across the page. I don’t think I’d be an illustrator if it wasn’t centred around telling stories about characters. 

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
My studio is just a desk in the spare room, but my husband painted a wall in our kitchen with iron filings so it is magnetised, and it is great for doing dummy layout and just sticking up bits of artwork to see how it all looks together.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
I find beginning a project really, really tough! I love the moment when I get the character right and they kind of look back at you from the screen and say ‘hello! Are we going on an adventure?’ I also love when I just know where a picture is going. Sometimes I scrabble around for weeks trying to get the balance right and it doesn’t work at all, and then something suddenly clicks, and you get this sudden surge of elation.  

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Find out what it is you love about illustrating and make that the fulcrum of what you do. For me I need to be in love with my character and the story. I can’t really draw a good picture without first knowing who my character is and what he/she is going through. Then the rest (kind of) falls into place. My only other advice is work hard, be steadfast and be true to yourself. 

Fiona Halliday is a Scottish Author- Illustrator with a passion for children’s books. She lives and works in Upper Austria. ‘Numenia and the Hurricane’ is her debut picture book. She has just wrapped up the illustrations for Zeena Pliska’s ‘Hello Little One,’ and is currently working on illustrations for ‘The Storm Goose,’ which she wrote. (All with Page Street Kids.) She is represented by Essie White of Storm Literary Agency.

For more information please visit Fiona's website and instagram or check out her wonderful book trailer here.