Illustrator Jennie Poh and author Janey Louise Jones discuss working together on their new series, SUPERFAIRIES, publishing this spring with Curious Fox.
Jennie Poh: I think I have the most amazing job in the world. Being an illustrator is all I’ve ever wanted to do, and be. It’s exciting, fun, magical. It is also incredibly hard work, and lonely at times too. Then came along Janey. I think this was 2011, when I received a very excited phone call from my agent Lucy saying a lovely author had chosen me to be part of one of her projects! I don’t usually get to meet the authors of books as this is taken care of by editors. However that snowy winter I met Janey at a beautiful hotel in London under a magnificent Christmas tree. We sat down and bounced ideas off one another, and this continued when we got home too. ‘Look at this gorgeous fairy dress I’ve found’ or ‘what do you think of this fairy headdress?’ ‘I think this spring wreath would look so pretty on the fairies front door’. Having direct contact with Janey has meant we have addressed issues and ideas faster than if we had to go through someone else. It really helps the creative process by having someone that is just an email or phone call away, when you suddenly have an idea we connect and discuss it and that keeps the ball rolling. From the word go, Janey has always been firm in saying we are doing this equally, 50/50. There isn’t one without the other. As an artist this makes you feel valued and appreciated. I feel honoured to share this journey with Janey.
Janey Louise Jones: I was browsing through the work of many artists when I came across Jennie’s stuff. I thought it had a unique charm and style which would complement my words perfectly. I was so excited when I successfully made contact with Jen, and we have got on famously ever since.
As Jennie points out, it was very important to me that we had an equal stake in the Superfairies project because I think that creates equality across all aspects of the brand. It seems to me that with such a visual concept, the images are every bit as important as the stories. I think we have a very successful working relationship built on trust and joint goals. It is very special to find this in a lifetime of working in the creative arts.
The fact that we share reference materials and ideas, as Jennie says, means that we share a vision, and we understand the aspirations of one another. I think there should be more collaboration between artists and authors. With Superfairies, we both identified with the fairies – feminine but powerful! That’s how we are too, and it’s a joy to find a working partner with the same approach to work and life.