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Vanessa Cabban

As a child

Vanessa grew up between boarding school in England, and wherever her parents were living – Africa, Spain, Belgium and the USA. She started buying children’s books from car-boot sales and junk shops, always admiring them, but thinking she was going to be a painter. Vanessa liked to be solitary, and remembers drawing a lot. She didn’t grow up with television, so had a different memory of childhood to many people of her age.

As an adult

"I realized I should be illustrating children’s books when I noted that every time I went into a bookshop, I spent hours in the children’s section. While in art college, I spent a lot of time trying different areas, especially print-making. I liked to experiment. It was only when I went back to drawing and watercolours, that I felt I was going in the right direction."

As an artist

Vanessa liked to work in her studio in the garden, with her two dogs snoring nearby. Drawing was her favourite part of making a book, and she liked to use watercolours for their ability be strong or delicate. Creating characters in her drawings was the most important element to Vanessa, and she could draw people and animals, doing weird and wonderful things, all day long.

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