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Sarah McMenemy

As a child

As a child, I was fascinated by my mother’s talent for drawing: the beauty of her observations, and the ease with which they flowed onto the paper. I can remember being frustrated with my childlike attempts to emulate her work, but soon drawing became a strong theme in my life. I grew up in London, but I was lucky to be able to spend a lot of time roaming free in the countryside, when I stayed with my grandparents. I made moss gardens in old shoe boxes, dressed up in old party dresses and made a house with my sister in the tiny garden shed. The beach and boats also played an important part in my childhood experience.

As an adult

I studied illustration at Brighton Polytechnic, during which time I was funding myself by drawing facades of elegant, terraced houses around Parliament Hill and Hampstead, near where my family lived in London. I then worked as an illustrator, on a very diverse range of projects, and when my children were small, I created little books for them. My agent showed them to Walker Books, and so began a rewarding, and enjoyable, working relationship.

As an artist

I have illustrated and written two books for Walker Books so far. The first, Waggle, was a wonderful vehicle for the experiences I had accumulated from playing with my children, and from my own memories of having a puppy. I loved using pure, bold colours, and condensing all the lines and shapes to create the simplicity and movement I wanted for the story. Jack’s New Boat was also a joy to work on, using my favourite seaside palette of colours. It was interesting to create more depth in the sea-scape settings for the story, and to put across different emotions: frustration, sadness and joy.

Things you didn't know about Sarah McMenemy

  1. I love chocolate and making chocolate cake.
  2. I work in a studio in an old chocolate factory!
  3. I like thunderstorms.
  4. I don’t like getting out of bed.
  5. I like putting my bare feet in streams on hot days.
  6. I like sledging on snowy days.
  7. I love dancing and music.
  8. I like laughing at silly jokes.
  9. I like walking around boats in harbour when the tide is out.
  10. I make elaborate sand castles, sand boats and sand cars at the beach.

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