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Meet the Illustrator: Jacquie Hughes

I love to write, but drawing?  Nope, that I can not do!  How I wish I could draw, or paint or sketch….  I’m a words person, and this book needed a pictures person!  Enter stage left: Jacquie Hughes
Jacquie Hughes Picture
SH: Jacquie where does your inspiration come from?
JH: Inspiration can come from so many places.  I keep sketchbooks which I fill with drawings (from life and imagination), notes, collage, images torn from magazines and technique experiments.  Most of these aren’t seen by anyone else but I use them as a starting point or resource for work.  I love to read and sometimes a story or poem will inspire me. 

SH: Can you tell me a bit about the draft stage, when you’re creating the characters?

JH: I love this stage of the work because it involves big sheets of paper and a lot of relaxed, almost unconscious drawing, which is reigned in a bit later when I find the strongest drawings.  It’s quite a magical process bringing a character from my imagination and making them ‘real’ on paper. Bringing other people’s characters to life is a different but equally enjoyable process.  I’m always a little bit nervous when I first show my sketches to a writer but I enjoy collaborating because another person’s input can push you out of your comfort zone.  I also enjoy researching clothes and objects that are associated with characters.

SH: How do you use colour in your work?

JH: If I’m entirely honest I’m more confident with drawing than I am with colour but I’m constantly developing my sense of colour by looking at paintings and photography.  If I see a colour combination that really works (regardless of the subject matter) I replicate it in swatches in my sketchbook, using gouache.  Then I have a little store to dip into. Sometimes I work more intuitively than this though and sometimes a writer will have their own ideas about colours that they’d like you to use, which is great.

SH: Can you tell me a bit about the type of work you do?

JH: I work in traditional media. For this project [She’s Not Good for a Girl, She’s Just Good!] I’m using watercolours and colour pencils.  I also like to use mixed media, combining paint with collage, printmaking techniques, charcoal, inks and colour pencils.  There’s something about the mish-mash of textures and line really excites me.  I recently tried a friend’s I-Pad Pro which was a revelation and I’m currently saving for my own so I may move into more digital work.


And the results of this are all the amazingly beautiful illustrations that you can see in She’s Not Good for a Girl, She’s Just Good!

Jacquie thanks for being a part of Thea Chops Books’ first ever book! 

7 thoughts on “Meet the Illustrator: Jacquie Hughes

  1. Hi. I’ve just read this book and think it’s lovely. I’m a dad of 3 girls and a local primary school teacher (Rosendale Primary School) and I think the messsage of your book is great. I see so many children believing they can’t do things because they are a boy or a girl.

    Would love to hear more about any future books. I’ll be reading it to my class tomorrow!

    All the best


    1. Matt that’s so great to hear! Thank you for choosing to read our book to your class tomorrow. I’d love to hear what the children think! I’m working on a second book now with a similar theme. Please check out our instagram feed or facebook page for updates! Hope the kids enjoy the book! Suze


      1. Thanks for the reply. Yes very excited to read the book. It’s right on the button. Feel free to visit our school at any time, perhaps to read the book? 🙂


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