Five Questions with Ailie Busby

February 27th, 2019

Catch a Star recently published two fantastic board books in collaboration with The Hampshire Cultural Trust and Jane Austen's House Museum. Inspired by Austen and her life in Hampshire, 123 Tea Party and The ABC of Musical Instruments are a beautiful and exciting introduction to spelling and counting. Ailie Busby's intricate and vibrant illustrations make the books truly special.
Ailie talks to us about working on the books, her life as an illustrator, and her inspiration when creating art.

1: What were you trying to achieve with your illustrations for The ABC of Musical Instruments and 123 Tea Party?

 I was trying to achieve fun and informative imagery that stimulates children to learn about new things. Hopefully I've done a bit of that...
2: Do you have any kind of routine when you’re illustrating?

 I always start my day with a dog walk. Walking my two fox terriers Dougal and Betty helps me think about my day ahead. Music contributes also and creates an atmosphere in my studio. Whenever I'm researching for a new book, sketching new characters or developing colour and print stories it relaxes and motivates me in my work.

3: Who are some artists that inspire you?

 I'm mainly inspired by 1950's and 1960's illustrators like Mary Blair and Tove Jansson. I think the colours and simple designs they used in their images were timeless and are still very relevant today.

4: Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?

 Be true to yourself and develop your own personal style. Use research to create original outcomes but mostly just enjoy the process.

5: How was your experience working on The ABC of Musical Instruments and 123 Tea Party?

I'm a big Jane Austen fan so this job was a privilege to work on. It was fascinating to learn how print and decoration played such a big part in Jane Austen's everyday life and to incorporate this reference material into these books was very exciting.

Ailie studied Illustration Design at East Anglia University, Cambridge, travelled around the world for a year, then moved to London and became a freelance children’s book illustrator. She relocated to Newcastle where she has lived for the past 15 years. She takes inspiration from all things vintage including children’s books and pattern design, Ailie uses traditional media to create charming, engaging characters.


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Tags: 123, abc, Austen, busby, instruments, Jane, musical, of, party, tea, the, ail

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