1,) Describe yourself :I am an aspiring Canadian artist-illustrator-author, an Ottawa native, part New Zealander with a side of Scottish decent, who has spent a good portion of my life pursuing the arts. To describe myself, I would say that I am determined, down-to-earth, (somewhat of a) perfectionist, independent, and creative
I love gardening and working outdoors, fresh air, and drives in the country. Also, discovering new eating places and local shops. I’m a big supporter of small business owners so it’s always “Buy Local” for me whenever possible!
I have always been attracted to the arts mostly drawing, painting & sculpture, but I have been involved with other forms of art or artistic expression over the years too, such as writing-poetry, theatre production, Arts & Crafts, Music – playing guitar-violin, singing & song writing, food blogs & cooking.
When I was 19 moved out to Alberta for 2 years then returned to Ottawa where I enrolled myself in a 2 year Graphic Arts Technician program at Algonquin College while working in a local Art Store. Then I moved on to work for a local printer where I worked mostly in an administrative role for a number of years.
By the mid 2000’s I was diagnosed with MS and it was after a bad relapse that I decided to get back to my artistic abilities and pursue fine arts once again and this creative artistic outlet really helped me in my recovery and have stayed on that path since as I found the more I painted the more I forgot about my illness.
2.) Tell me something about the place where you were born? I was born in Ottawa, Canada. I lived in New Zealand at a young age for almost a year then moved back to Canada and have lived here ever since. I live in a moderate city, Ottawa, the capital of Canada, where we experience all four seasons in this region. I like the spring (new growth) and the smell and color of fall the best! I never get used to the cold dampness of winters here at times. I mostly like this city I was born in because of its picturesque and green space with many parks and old architecture. Walking on sunny days and going for drives up the valley are always fun!
Sue 4yrs old on the ship to New Zealand -1964
3.) What pictures influenced you as a child?
I don’t know….let’s see…classic cartoons but I always liked the Norman Rockwell style–like biblical pictures in a book I had as a child and also the beautiful illustrations in this large heirloom family bible my mother has which always had a transparent parchment like page over each colorful picture.
4.) Did you have a favorite book as a child? I've always loved children's books and grew up with many and had so much joy reading them to my son when he was young. Some of my early children’s books I remember were Rupert, Dr Suess books, nursery rhymes but I remember well the books my son had as a child and one of my favorites was Hairy MacLary from Donaldson’s Dairy by a New Zealand author. It is such a fun and delightful book! It made me laugh and smile so I really enjoyed reading that one over and over. My favorites by Dr. Suess were the Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs & Ham and One Fish Two Fish.. to name a few!
5.) Did you like to draw as a child? Were you encouraged?
I liked doing crafts and coloring but drawing did not really surface until I started taking art classes in Grade 7 or 8. I had much encouragement in my high school days from my art instructor who was always supportive and a positive influence.
6.) What is your earliest memory of making art?My earliest memory of making art was when my girlfriend’s mother enrolled us in a summer arts program at a local community center when we were about twelve years of age. I remember learning to sculpt with soap stone, do Indian beading and make masks, which I absolutely enjoyed!
Me at Bakervale House I grew up in1969
7.) Were you the class artist?
Not particularly. I did not exactly have the confidence I should have had-- I always seemed to have had a lower self-esteem in my earlier years. But a lot of times my artwork did get the class’s attention and my classmates always complemented on my artistic ability.
8.) Did your parents draw?
9.) Did you go to the public library as a child?
Yes, we also used a Bookmobile library trailer that came around in our neighborhood that was part of the Public library setup in the city.
10.) Did you have books at home as a child?
We had many books of all kind in our house growing up. There were children’s books, some of the classics, philosophical, biographies, fiction and of course two sets of encyclopedias as well as National Geographic.
11.) Did you have a teacher who influenced or inspired you?
Yes. I’ll never forget my high school art instructor, Mr. Karl Schutt, who had a big influence on me and inspired me through most of my high school years and still does!
12.) What did you do BEFORE you got started with children’s book illustrations?
An opportunity presented itself at the end of high school to work at the National Postal Museum assisting in ink drawings and silk screening for a Canadian stamp. In my twenties I took a 2 year Graphic Arts Technician course in college and ended up working in mostly administrative roles over the years for printing companies. Over the years, I attended the Ottawa School of Art taking sculpture and drawing while always expressing myself through some artistic form or another, mostly self-taught, such as experimenting with wood carving, paper-tole, papermaking, photography. I have always practiced my artistic skills in one form or another either drawing, painting, paper- tole, sculpting, arts & crafts and graphic design work over the years. My interests in theatre eventually led me to a place called Centrepointe Theatre. Here, I worked as one of the backstage crew on a number of productions, mostly with sound and lighting.
13.) When did you realize you were interested in illustrating for children?
I wrote poetry several years ago in hopes of actually publishing them one day as children’s books. But then other priorities of home, life and motherhood demanded more of my attention at that time. A few years ago, I was unfortunately diagnosed with a potentially debilitating disease. So it was my friend’s paintings that I saw at his showing and my son who was taking visual arts at university in Toronto over the last 4 years, that inspired me to start drawing and painting again-- this time using acrylics. Not soon after that, my husband wrote a series of children’s stories about these bears he had purchased to help cheer me up through a rough time. After that, I decided to use illustrating as a creative outlet to develop pictures for his book’s and the poems I had written years ago.
14.) When did you become an illustrator?
Only in the last three years or so did I decide to jump into the world of illustrating. Well specifically children’s illustrating, after being inspired from my husband’s story writing about the bear adventures. This prompted me to take on illustrating the pictures and I have not looked back since!
15.) How did you get started in picture book illustration?
Because of my love of children’s picture books I decided to dive into the world of children’s illustrating this past 2 years. I had started drawing illustrations for the Bears of Biggleton book my husband wrote and I was not happy with the way they were turning out. So, I did some research online and discovered two children’s illustrating courses– several online video courses by Will Terry & another amazing course by Mark Mitchell on “How to Be A Children’s Book Illustrator”. I was so inspired and enthused to illustrate after receiving much knowledge and instruction from both of these wonderful award winning artists! A good portion of my time this past year has been spent taking these courses while working on illustrations for several new children’s books.
16.) What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given as an illustrator?
Probably, I would have to say from Will Terry, because of his awesome attitude –Always have fun with your illustrating…Never give up on your art, always keep at it and keep trying, you are always learning and you never stop learning from those around you. ” We learn by doing!” he says.
17.) Of the six fundamentals of 2D design (line, shape, volume, perspective, shading, and color):
a. Which is your greatest strength? Shading
b. Which poses your greatest challenge?
18.) Tell us about the book that you have written?
My Shiny Light is a poem I wrote among several others a number of years ago when I was inspired to write something a little more philosophical at the time for children. Something that had a message in it… that most children might be able to understand at a young age. And this past year I decided to dig up those poems I wrote then try and do illustrations for them…. thus My Shiny Light book was created! I have four others that I would like to illustrate as well.
19.) What inspired you to write this story?
My own reading of books on life, philosophy, situations, people and the universe in general! I thought-- is there anything out there for young children that touches on these areas I was reading about?
20.) Did you self publish or go through the other publishing routes?
Yes I decided to self-publish.
21.) Is your book available for purchase?
Yes, it is available now in paperback on Amazon and Kindle and through the Biggleton Books Online bookstore as well.
22.) Describe a typical day in your life.
A typical day in my life is to get up with my husband in the mornings and have breakfast before he goes off to work. Then I usually go to the computer to check email and so forth. I check my calendar daily to see what I have marked to do, appointments etc. and plan my day of illustrating and doing some design work, preparation. Break for lunch and do my physio after lunch and then it’s back to drawing or sometimes painting for the remainder of the day until my husband returns home from work.
23.) When you are creating, what music is playing?
I usually play a variety of music at times anywhere from an assortment of acoustic guitar. I love a Spanish ensemble called RASA who play an Indian-Jazz fusion influenced type of music, to psychedelic, jazz and blues.
24.) If you had to describe your work in terms of your artistic influences, you would say it is...
It probably has a bold sometimes outlined look or style about it. I guess some of this influence comes from artists such as Emily Carr, The Group of Seven & my son Matt Clement over the years.
25.) Who are your favorite artists ? Illustrators ? Authors ? Artists:
I have always loved Dali, The Group of Seven, Robert Batman, Bill Saunders and my son Matt Clement as artists but there are so many more it’s hard to name them all---
Illustrators: Will Terry, Ian Jeans, Michael Dante DiMartino, ---
Authors: Lynley Dodd, Terry Pratchett, VC Andrews, Deepak Chopra, Barbara Hand Clow & Margaret Atwood again to name a few. There are so many excellent authors and artists! Also, I have always been a huge fan of all animation-especially children’s animation & Claymation since I was in grade school. I will always and forever be inspired by other artists and their endless talent for creativity and imagination...
26.) Favorite Quote: "O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives". ::: Jim Morrison :::
27.) What new projects have you got coming down the pike?
As of the last ten years, I am expressing myself through traditional art with drawing again, using colored pencil and graphite. Currently I am working with acrylic paint on stretched canvas creating an array of paintings of many portraits (including local musicians), landscapes, abstracts and still life.
Right now I am starting the illustrations for a new project, which will be a series of 5 books called “The Bears of Biggleton” books, written by my husband Dave Faught. The first one is sub-titled Fuzzmo The-Magnificent. So, that will keep me busy for a while I suppose. I am hoping to continue working on a few more smaller books which were written at the time I wrote My Shiny Light and hope to publish them in the future as well!
I have also launched my own children's book soon called "My Shiny Light". Visit the Biggleton Books website for more information!
28.) To enjoy more of a good thing you can visit...
or my blogspot: