The powerfully vibrant descriptions of the characters in The Mirror of Pharos (not just their physical appearance, but their ‘voices’, behaviour and mannerisms) made conjuring each of them into existence so much fun. One of the illustrators I most admire is the brilliant Chris Riddell, who has an ability to create deliciously ‘characterful’ characters through very clever observation of real, ‘everyday’ people. The humour and wit of caricature is also something I’m very interested in and I especially love the work of Gerald Scarfe. But it’s the authenticity of drawing from ‘real life’ that I think results in the most believable and reassuringly human characters. Without actual Jacks, Charlies and Jagos to observe, it is the author’s skill in ‘painting’ characters with language that enables me to set about creating them visually.
Charlie is, without a doubt, one of my favourite characters. At once impetuous and thoughtful, daring and supportive, she is a true friend to Jack. And she’s pretty impressive on two wheels!
My mountain bike was my most treasured possession when I was growing up. So Charlie’s love for her bike really resonated with me. The image of her and Jack racing along the dusky street, streetlamps pinging on and off as they pass below with the mysterious glowing disc, is a brilliantly exuberant one – especially after the rather tender but awkward conversation she’s just had with him about the newspaper clipping concerning his parents. I hope that I have managed to capture some of that determination and energy in my drawings of her!