We are delighted to welcome author / illustrator Jonny Lambert to Story Snug. Jonny is visiting various blogs during the week as part of a blog tour to celebrate publication of his beautiful new picture book, Little Why.
A big thank you to Jonny for writing this fascinating post about the inspirations for your art.
Squiggles and Splodges
As a young lad, going to tea with the grandparents wasn’t just about chocolate biscuits and cake…though that was always a treat…more it was a chance to sit at the kitchen table, by my Grandpa’s side, watching his every brush stroke as he transformed a few squiggles and splodges of water colour paint into trees of every season.
Long before I could fully understand and appreciate the inﬂuence he would have on my future, I continued to doodle and dream, and copy every brush stroke he made.
What future could there be in Art?
No-one in the family had ever taken Art seriously, other than as a satisfying hobby that you do when you have the time. Making a living from Art was unfamiliar territory…not a real job…a bit avant-garde!
Successive teachers noted at every parents evening, that while my written course work bordered on being ‘acceptable’, my humorous drawings of historic battle scenes and detailed diagrams of river estuary erosion, were a welcome distraction and earned my marks.
What had inspired my creative results?
The children’s magazine, ‘Look and Learn’. Information delivered in manageable blocks of texts, and illustrated brilliantly by the likes of Angus McBride, Richard Hook, Wilf Hardy, Roger Payne…to name but a few…who ‘revealed’ social and natural history, technology and science through the art of Art.
Long before computers helped us create and manipulate pictures, these amazing illustrators drew, air-brushed and painted the impression of our world…past, present and future…onto paper and board.
Resigned to the fact that I wasn’t going to be heading into scientiﬁc academia, my parents supported my enrolment into the Reigate School of Art and Design at the age of 16. Artistic studies in Life Drawing and Art History, and the creative possibilities of Print and Design expanded my horizons and ﬁlled the following 5 years.
Books, and in particular the art of the illustrated story book, were (and still are) a constant companion. On and between the covers, talented artists and illustrators, gifted with imagination and the ability to transform ideas and words into pictures, were making a living from Art.
Inﬂuenced by the anthropomorphic character creations of Bestall, E H Shepard, Dick Bruna, and Richard Scary; the graphic and textural qualities of Eric Carle, Charlie Harper, and Jan Pienkowski; the intricate detail of Kit Williams and the seemingly simple brush line of David Low…I thought I’d give it a go!
Having worked as a Disney book artist for a number of years, and in addition, art directed, designed and paper engineered for an amazing catalogue of generous authors and illustrators, I ﬁnally took the plunge and illustrated my ﬁrst titles, ‘Where’s Ted?’ and ‘the Wide-Mouthed Frog’…and, as they say, never looked back!
As one of my tutors once said, ‘don’t tell people what you can do…show them.’
Thank you Grandpa.
Thank you Jonny! Little Why is absolutely adorable and we love the way that he is so distracted by the attributes of the other animals that he just can’t stay in line!
We were delighted to find that there is also a Dutch version of Little Why!
You can win a copy of Little Why on Picture Books Blogger’s Blog.
Jonny Lambert grew up in Surrey and always knew he wanted to be an artist of some sort. Encouraged by his art tutor at the Reigate School of Art and Design, Jonny is now an artist of many sorts: a talented illustrator with over 300 titles to his name, designer, paper engineer and most recently, Group Design Director at Templar Publishing. He lives with his wife, daughter and a menagerie of animals in West Sussex.
Jonny on Twitter