1. William Blake's The Complete Illuminated Books.
I always return to this book whenever I’m feeling a bit confused. As a young illustrator it can be difficult not to compare yourself to others and end up doubting your style. Whenever I look at Blake’s drawings I’m reminded by what I truly love. His work is a constant inspiration to me.
2. Cornelissen & Son
I like to get all my materials from here. It's a few yards from the British Museum and feels like Ollivanders from Harry Potter! It's covered floor to ceiling in tiny hand-labelled wooden drawers filled with inks and oil paints. There's a hallowed silence when you go in there and all you can hear is the floorboards creaking. I usually go in to stock up on black ink but always come out with something random, like gold leaf or egg tempera paint.
3. Hampstead Heath
I walk on Hampstead Heath as often as I can. All my children’s book ideas have emerged from long weekend walks there. It's the closest you can get to wild rugged countryside in London. Arthur Rackham walked through the park everyday and based all his fantastical trees and woodland scenes in his fairy tale illustrations on the Heath. It feels steeped in history, plus there’s the ancient duelling ground in the centre of the woods where Byron and Shelley would duel and the benches on Parliament Hill where Sylvia Plath would have sat.
4. Leonora Carrington
I’ve become really obsessed with Leonora Carrington recently. I’ve been reading everything I can lay my hands on for the last couple of months and have just ordered her short stories. She was such a ballsy character. She is fully committed to what she believed in and refused to be swayed by any social scene. Her tumultuous relationship with Max Ernst is heartbreaking.
I have never been to Charleston but I’m planning a weekend road trip there with my friend so I’m brushing up on my Bloomsbury knowledge. I’m about to move into my new house that I’ve been renovating since the summer and I have a strong feeling that going to Charleston is going to make me want to paint murals in every room.
Words by Fee Greening
Interview by Abi Corbett
Image credits: William Blake: Thames Hudson. Cornelissen: Coolcities.com. Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath: Bruno Saski. Leonora Carrington: Unknown. ©Charleston Trust