Illustrator Janet Pickering is our latest Undiscovered Voices finalist being showcased. For the anthology she chose to illustrate the ancient legend of Pandora. 

Tell us about yourself in 50 words or less

I am an author/illustrator, based in the Lake District, where I live with my fat cat, Oblio, and my fish, Sue the Murderer. I love animals, nature, snow and mountains.

Who or what do you think informs your illustration the most?

As a child, I was shocked to be told that fairies, mermaids and unicorns do not really exist and now seek to re-create with my illustrations, the same level of wonder I experienced as a young reader.
I like children’s books from long ago, particularly those which tell of myths, legends and mystical magic. The illustrations of Rackham, Dulac and Bilibin in older books have long enchanted me, as do those of contemporary illustrators Levi Pinfold, Shaun Tan, Jim Kay and Pam Smy. In a previous existence, I was a teacher and noticed that books for older children were often bereft of inspiring illustrations; this is something I seek to address in my work.

What materials do you enjoy using the most?

Working in graphite or ink, I build up colour with spirit-marker and coloured pencil. I am just setting out to explore the possibilities offered by combining my traditional drawings with digital media.

Why did you choose the scene you illustrated for UV2018?

I chose to illustrate the tale of Pandora for UV2018 because, given similar instructions, I too would have succumbed to temptation and opened that box. I wanted to convey the chaotic, horrific power of the event, and show that there is always a tiny flicker of hope, even in the darkest of times.

If there was one thing that stood out the most about being a part of UV2018, what would it be?

The best thing about UV2018 has been meeting so many knowledgeable industry professionals and fascinating illustrators, both published and aspiring practitioners. So much advice, encouragement and enthusiasm!

What has been the most valuable part of UV2018 for you?

Particularly valuable has been the portfolio review, where massive amounts of constructive criticism were given, to produce a much more finely tuned representation of my work.


Janet's website is: www.catiechocklet.com
Follow her on Instagram @catiechocklet and Twitter @PickeringJanet

Undiscovered Voices is an anthology published every other year by the British SCBWI and aims to help fresh, new voices in children’s literature – both writers and illustrators – find agents, publishers and ultimately readers. Undiscovered Voices has launched the careers of writers and illustrators, who have gone on to publish more than 200 books. These authors have been nominated for, and won, an amazing array of literary prizes: including the Carnegie Medal, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Branford Boase Award, Blue Peter Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and nearly 30 regional awards. Visit www.undiscoveredvoices.com for all the details and news when submissions will open for the next anthology.

You can download the Undiscovered Voices 2018 anthology here.

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