Jackie Taylor is an author and illustrator. Her first children’s picture book, Home, has just been published in China, and two more are in development. She has always loved books, particularly illustrated ones and has had over 25 years’ experience working in publishing as a book designer.
She has an MA from Cambridge School of Art in Children’s picture book illustration and a long-ago degree in Biology, which still informs her intense interest in the natural world and how to protect the planet.
What was the last book you read?
The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, which I loved. It’s deceptively easy to read, but thought provoking. The descriptions of the Lake District are very evocative and took me back to when I did my first degree at Lancaster University. We would pile everyone into my ancient Austin 1800 and head for the hills.
And what did you read it on?
On paper. Always on paper!
What’s next on your reading list?
Bleak House – because of the recent TV adaptation – and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as I’ve never read it and there’s a Hemingway quote that ‘all modern American Literature comes from’ this book. I’m also dipping in to Wainwright’s Walking Guide to the Lake District Fells and obsessing over the beautiful illustrations, descriptions and maps, as a result of reading The Shepherd’s Life.
What TV series are you obsessing over right now?
Blue Planet Live
What do you like about your job?
The flexibility of being my own boss means I can get outside when I need to, into the natural world, for a reboot.
Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore and why?
Growing up in Cambridge, my favourite bookstore was Heffers Children’s bookshop. This used to be a separate little shop on two floors. It had a spiral staircase down to a basement filled with books, a wobbly mirror and squashy cushions to sit on and read – bliss. The children’s shop is now incorporated into the main store and just as lovely as ever, still filled with cushions.
Name your favourite app and why.
Instagram. I have two accounts, one for illustration and one for photos taken on my daily outdoors reboot. I’m always searching to create images that remind me of how it felt to be in a particular place.
Guilty pleasure from the world of fiction?
Collecting too many books, particularly vintage children’s picture books and re reading and obsessing over them as objects when I should be working.
What was your first job in the book industry?
I was the design department ‘runner’ in the reference group at Cambridge University Press, and progressed to science group book designer from there.
When was your first London Book Fair?
2019 was my first London Book Fair. I found it a good way to make connections, hear industry figures speak and refresh my knowledge of what’s happening in the world of picture book publishing. I’m hopeful that illustrators will develop even more of a presence there in years to come.
Learn more about Jackie Taylor Illustration here.