My day starts with Austin who is always first to wake up about 7am. Then I chase the kids around each morning getting them ready for school. They are my first priority and my day actually starts when they are safely dropped off at Cherry Grove Primary School.
I work from home so I have to clear the kitchen of breakfast items before I can continue. I check all my accounts; Twitter, Facebook and email, and reply to all the messages from customers and potential customers.
I have a set routine for producing my art work. The customer will send me all the information and I put it all together and print it off, so I can have it as a reference. I then get my paper ready and start to sketch out the illustration.
Once I am happy with the sketch I will send it to the customer for approval. When they are happy I move on to painting the image in watercolour and then I use a thick black outliner and watercolour pencils to create a bright image.
I produce all my work by hand and don’t use any digital editing. Each picture usually takes about 56 hours work depending on the details required.
I spend a lot of my time looking at people and especially their faces and expressions. It’s so interesting to try and read someone’s mood and it’s all part of building up a character and what makes us all unique. I add the unique characteristics to each person I depict.
I have lunch at home with our cat Merlin, bearded dragon Smaug and our sleepy hamster Ginger.
But when the clock strikes three, it’s time to clear up and get ready to collect the kids from school.
I have written, illustrated and self published a children’s picture book called What’s that Noise? which will be released for sale on April 28 this year. I have also written a further four books, which I hope to complete early next year.
The inspiration for my story books come from my own two children and my three nephews. I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time with my gang and I find them exciting, fun and happy just as kids should be. One day as I was watching them play I thought it was funny that they all had very different characters just like little woodland creatures, so this is where I got the idea to dress them up as different creatures so they could explore the world and have fun.
I get cold a lot so I always wrap up warm and usually wear a scarf.
What is the favourite part of your job?
Sketching the pictures and seeing with whole illustration coming together.
What is the least favourite part of your job?
Clearing up afterwards. I have to have a clean work area so it’s so important to clean brushes and paint pallets, as it would be a disaster if any paint transferred on to the watercolour paper meaning I would have to start over!
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now?
I would love to be an art teacher. I really enjoy spending time with children. They all see the world in different ways.
How do you relax when you are not working?
Drawing is the best way I know to relax, but I do enjoy spending time by the River Dee and watching the world go by.
What is your favourite film?
I love the old 80s classics The Breakfast Club and The Lost Boys.
What is your favourite book?
A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines.
What is your favourite song?
Times Like These by the Foo Fighters.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you?
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet?
Not as yet. I did have a picture displayed in the Oxo Gallery in London which I donated for The National Brain Appeal. It felt pretty special seeing it up and it was for a wonderful charity.
●Name: Jackie Hallmark
●Education: Kingsway High School, Blacon College of Art and Design, Cumbria College of Art and Design & London College of Art
●Family: Married to Darren with two children Amber, 11 and Austin, eight
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