Mandy Foot is an illustrator, designer and above-all an animal lover who works in a studio also occupied by two sheepdogs, Cody and Mav, and a cat affectionately known as Kung Fu Maow Maow. She currently works for the Adelaide Zoo Education service where she has been able to draw just about every animal there is.
1. What books influenced you most as a child?
I don't actually remember having a lot of books as a child but I do remember when I was about 9, my sister won a 'Design a Stamp' Competition with our school run through Australia Post. Her prize was an 'Animation' book by Preston Blair. I loved it, and I still have my sister's book to this very day!
2. How did you become an illustrator?
I was always drawing as a child. I studied hard at school, finished 5 years of University and always pursued my goals even if it meant some detours along the way! For a number of years I had a day job working in the print industry and by night continued upon my freelance illustrator/designer career path. It’s taken a lot of hard work to reach my ultimate goal.
3. Which artists’ work most influences your own?
From the early days definitely the Disney artists. I'm a huge fan of animated movies and the life and personality they bring to their characters. I have also been blessed to meet so many talented artists over the years, and each has inspired or motivated me in some way. There is always something to learn from somebody and often from those you least expect.
4. Ultimate artistic dream?
I'm lucky enough to be living my dream. I've always wanted to illustrate children's books and it's great to see the smiles on kids’ faces when they read my books. I would love to be able to keep creating books that receive such fantastic feedback and I'm always aiming to improve on my artwork with each book I do. I want to see them getting better and better.
5. Describe your art studio or illustrating space.
Messy! I like to call it organised chaos. My drawing table is covered in whatever I am working on at the time along with paints, paintbrushes, colour charts, water pot, as well as reference material, paper towels, masking fluid, ruling pen, paintbox, the ever important daylight desk lamp so I can work at night, and the list goes on. I think if I had a bigger drawing table, I would just fill it up with more stuff!
6. What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Never ever give up and work hard. Be a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as you can. Seek out those you admire most and learn from them. They have obviously made mistakes and learnt along the way so learn from their life's lessons. Ask lots of questions, no matter how small you think they are. But most importantly, enjoy what you do!
For more information about Mandy Foot, head to: www.mandyfoot.com.au