Even if you don’t have children, or know any humanoid under the age of nine, you are no longer excused for your lack of interest in children’s book illustration. Lorna Scobie, one of Kingston University’s finest illustration graduates, will knock your jaded skulls together with her particularly acerbic knack for characterising animals in a style that frequently leaves her up to the elbows in ink and glue.
Her work and her wit is very engaging and seeks to be engaged with; a particular speciality of hers being the way she consciously explores, and delights in, how the tangible quality of her mark-making might translate across a multitude of platforms. In particular, the next generation of story telling mediums (be it on an iPad or beamed onto ones eyeballs).
“I like telling stories, drawing stories and one of the three Toy Story’s. Most of my work ends up involving animals as I think they are slightly more interesting than people to look at (although I do also like people). There isn’t a set medium that I work in but very often I end up filthy – this is quite stressful for me as I have OCD and have to wash my hands a billion times a day or else.”
Why or who or what made you go to art school?
When I was young I was always completely sure what I definitely wanted to be when I was older. I was always going to be either an archaeologist, palaeontologist, marine biologist, zoologist, chemist, physicist, mathematician, vet, engineer, architect, ancient historian, ichthyologist, rainforest explorer, naturalist or a safari park ranger. I don’t actually know why I went to art school but I do know now that it was the right decision!
What’s the best mistake you made when you were studying?
I was advised in first year that writing a story about my cat dying in a multitude of ways would be “the biggest mistake”, however it introduced me to the idea of interactive storytelling. I wrote a Choose Your Own Adventure story in which user’s could dictate the fate of Runty (the cat in question).
If you could show you your work to one person, who would you choose and what would you show them?
It would have to be Lord Bath, Alexander Thynn. Although, amongst other things, he is a painter and writer, it is his large collection of exotic animals that interests me. I would show him some of my animal drawings and he would say “draw all of the animals in my safari park” and I would say “Ok, I’ll do it, but you will have to pay me,” and he would say “OK”.
Can you give us one prediction about your work for the next year?
It’s going to get digital! Not the way I work – but the way it is seen. I am really interested in how children’s publishing is branching out onto digital devices and I want to create work that is specifically for them. I want to experiment with how a story can be explored using an iPad and look into illustrating for games.
What’s the best thing you saw in the last three years?
A baby squirrel I met it on the pavement when I was walking home from uni. It was the size of an actual leaf!
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