Help our followers get to know you. What does a typical day in the life of Meg Cowley involve?
Well I’m typically woken up by my two cats frolicking around and demanding cuddles and breakfast (mainly breakfast)! Jet and Pixie are adorable little rascals that dictate most of my waking life to be honest! We eat breakfast (the most important meal of the day!) and then I usually blast out my chores – I can’t sit down and work productively knowing I have other things that need doing.
I do most of my work between late morning and late afternoon and this is split between writing and illustrating – my two loves! I plan out my projects into daily, weekly, monthly and yearly to do lists, so I am generally pretty organised and know what needs to be done. I always aim to work on projects that motivate me – that reduces down time and artist’s/writer’s block (which I’ve discovered usually happens because I’m not enjoying a project!). My main distraction these days is Pixie. Jet sleeps all day, but Pixie loves to play fetch, so she pesters me constantly! (She’s sat next to me right now, squeaking at me to play fetch...)
In the evenings, it’s family time, or time for me to go to my part time job. I enjoy family time, because I get to cook a lovely meal for us (I love cooking and baking!), and we can spend quality time together. Then again, I enjoy my job because I meet so many people from all walks of life (and it’s nice to talk to people instead of cats occasionally too!).
When did you first become interested in illustrating?
I’ve drawn since before I can remember. I used to have a making table at home, which was covered in all my crafts and drawing stuff. My parents very kindly donated that part of the room to my mess! They’ve always encouraged my creativity, for which I’m eternally grateful.
My early stick people doodles soon evolved into ones with fingers and toes (I distinctly remember being so proud of that!). At school, I was constantly being told off for drawing in my class books. The teachers never believed that doodling increased my concentration!
It inspires me to remember back; no matter how amazing an artist, writer or creative, we all start at the same place. I truly believe you can achieve great things, as long as you believe it can be done, and work hard to get there. My stick figures these days are awesome. ;-)
What are your favourite things to draw?
That’s a hard one! Currently, I really enjoy drawing natural things – flowers especially. They have such amazing details that you really don’t realise unless you stop and look. I don’t think we do that enough these days, with our hectic lives! It was a joy to create The Wild Colouring Book – I learned so much about each flower as I drew it.
Where do you find inspiration?
In everything, everywhere! I love to pause and absorb some small detail of life – a lone flower growing in an urban sprawl, a sea of flowers in a meadow, a rainbow, the pattern broken glass creates on the floor, a glorious sunset, towering cathedrals of clouds in the sky, the night stars sprawling out... The natural world holds all the inspiration I need.
IIf you weren't an author/illustrator what would you be?
A cat. They are so totally spoilt rotten...
In seriousness, anything creative really; I love to draw, write, cook, garden, design... but I can’t think of anything more awesome than writing and illustrating!
Why do you think adult colouring books have become so huge?
Life is so stressful, and I think as a society we are no longer content to live as robots, i.e. working each day and doing our duty until we retire. I think that as society advances, quality of life increases in importance and we look to find something that fulfils us.
I think in part, colouring as adults does this, not least because, for a moment, it returns us to that blissful, peaceful time of childhood. Just with reading a good book – we need that escape from reality to recharge our souls. It’s also something that is accessible to all, universally appealing, and transcends socio-economic borders. Colouring is the answer!
What does your working environment look like?
Immaculate. (That’s a lie...) I have a lovely, small office – my own little snug nook. It contains my PC desk, and a couple of bookcases stuffed with my art supplies. The clutter always creeps out, but I clear enough space to work! I do wish I was tidier in all honestly, but as long as I have room to work, I get along just fine. I have a lovely view from my desk facing west, so every day I can look out and see the sky, some hills in the distance, and the glorious sunsets.
Do you listen to music when you work? If so, who/what?
Mostly I forget! I have to write in silence, otherwise I can’t concentrate. So I’ve gotten into the habit of not putting music on. However when I’m illustrating, I can listen to anything really – current chart music, game sound tracks, movie soundtracks, all sorts.
What are your favourite things in life?
Home, my family, earl grey tea (my elixir of life) and margherita pizza. Mmmm, pizza...
Finally, please give 3 words that describe your work.
Charming. Appealing. Whimsical. (I hope!)