Do you remember which illustrated children's books were your favourite when you were a young reader? Why?
My favourite illustrated book was The Sailor Dog, a Little Golden Book by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Garth Williams. The book had detailed drawings of a boat, a lighthouse and a storm. I still adore boats, lighthouses and storms so it's no wonder this book was my favourite. Or maybe its the other way around, maybe it was this book that started my life-long love for boats, lighthouses and storms.
What was your first ever published piece of work? Where did it appear?
My first published work appeared when I was 19 years old, in The School Magazine, August 1982 issue. It was a poem by Mary Ann Hoberman entitled, 'I Like Old Clothes'.
Do you have favourite things you like to draw?
Aside from drawing boats, lighthouses and storms I like drawing animals, monsters, trees, mountains, maps, old buildings, insects, patterns and, of course, people. Especially peoples eyes, hands and feelings.
Blast Off is about to have two new characters—Jools and Vern. Can you describe the process you went through in bringing these two characters to life?
The first thing I did was decide how human-like, ocelot-like and meerkat-like the characters should be. Since animals cannot sit or stand like humans I drew many different ideas before I had a feeling for what was needed. Then I researched the way the characters might dress. I sent some ideas to the School Magazine for feed-back and kept drawing and thinking till I was happy that both Jools and Vern were life-like enough be able to live happily in anybody's imagination.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
A very strange thing happens to me when I start to read a story that needs an illustration. An arm reaches out of the written page, grabs me by the shirt and pulls me into the story. Once in there, the only way I know back to my desk is to draw the thing that has nabbed me. Sometimes that thing is the fun in the story, sometimes it's the relationship between the characters, sometimes it's the place in which that particular story is set. Then, once I have drawn-out whatever it was that grabbed me, I find myself returning to my chair . That's when I really enjoy a nice cup of tea and an Iced Vovo biscuit.
To find out more about Peter Sheehan visit his website.