Joanna Troughton has written and illustrated 14 titles in the Folk Tales of the World series. She graduated, with a first class honours degree in graphic design, from Hornsey College of Art and is now a successful, well-established artist. Joanna lives in London.
Keep up to date with Joanna Troughton and her work at joannatroughton.blogspot.com.
PLACE AND DATE OF BIRTH:
London; 9 September 1947
Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
MOST TREASURED POSSESSION:
A print of a cow by Katherine Hale (author and illustrator of Orlando)
'Tangled Up in Blue' by Bob Dylan
Days of Heaven
When did you start writing?
As a child I always drew. I used to tell a story in my pictures as I drew rather like a comic strip or a storyboard. When I was ten I wrote and illustrated a book about a horse (the plot was a bit like Black Beauty). I loved drawing horses and dogs - I wasn't so keen on drawing people. When I went to art school I wrote and illustrated Spotted Horse - I was twenty-one. It was later published. When I left college I was lucky enough to work on picture books straight away. I've written and illustrated twenty-four of my own books since then, and have illustrated many books by other authors.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from folk tales, fairy tales, myths and legends from all over the world. I am very interested in animals and birds, and love drawing them for my books. I am also interested in people from other countries - the way they live, their customs and beliefs. I have never travelled, but use libraries, museums, zoos and television for my research. The National Geographic magazine is very useful too!
I remember the long hot summer of 1989 when my two sons were aged three years and five months respectively. We were living in a caravan in the garden of our old farmhouse in Suffolk, while the house was being renovated. I remember, at the end of each hot day, giving the children a bath in a plastic toy box under the shade of an old pear tree. That summer was full of lovely memories.
Favourite place in the world and why?
My favourite place is Godrevy Lighthouse which sits in St Ives Bay in Cornwall. I used to stay in the village of Gwithian every summer as a child. Driving down to Gwithian, my first sight of the lighthouse meant the beginning of the summer holidays - a month of bliss to look forward to!
What are your hobbies?
I don't have much spare time, as family and work take up most of it. I read a lot, and I like gardening. I grow old-fashioned roses, and like our garden to look untidy and wild, rather than neat. This is lucky as my sons are football mad, and we are just about to get a dog!
If you hadn't been a writer, what do you think you would have been?
I would have been an actor like my father and two brothers. I like going to the theatre and films and often feel a yearning to act - it must be in my genes. Illustrating is a lonely job, so it would be fun to work with lots of people, like you do if you are an actor.