Today I'm featuring the touching, lively and beautiful work of Lisa Stewart, illustrator and musician. Lisa's illustrated seven books, including five picture books and two illustrated books. And I'm thrilled to say that we are collaborating on an illustrated story together, to be published later this year.
Below she tells us a bit about her journey to becoming an illustrator, offers a delicious family favourite recipe devised by her daughter Claire, and shares with us some of her gorgeous illustrations.
Lisa Stewart's story
As a young mother, some 17 years ago, pushing my daughter in her pram to any paper, art supply, card or book store I could find I was instantly attracted to wrapping paper with illustrations by Jane Ray wonderful British illustrator and author). I adored her attention to detail and her animals, trees, water, sun, moon and stars. A new love was born, of children's picture books and paper.
Later in Germany I sent a CD of mine (I play the violin ) and a letter of thanks to Jane for her artwork. To my delight she responded with five picture books and a glorious phoenix card of hers and a friendship was formed.
My family and I flew to England to meet her. Seeing her studio and her artwork (admired by her husband and her three children) framed and hung throughout their home filled me with joy. My secret dream was to become an illustrator and be like Jane.
The illustrative style I use came about during the creation of a 20 page wordless love story. I began to cut out hundreds of tiny pieces of paper and create images. Friends and family were represented as trees, birds, fish, dragons and whales. A broken heart became thousands of little flowers and the night sky a full moon on black rice paper.
With support form my dear friend Lynndy Bennett at Gleebooks, I sent some publishers a few of the pictures from the love story and had a call from Ana Vivas from Scholastic Press. We met and I got to send in ideas for a book by Kerry Brown called 'Can I Cuddle the Moon?' I enjoyed doing some little drawings and to my amazement was chosen to illustrate it.
My dream of becoming an illustrator has come true.
Here is the recipe for 'Claire's Nachos ', a family favourite that my daughterhas been making from around the age of ten. She is nineteen now.
> 1 medium to large brown onion > 3 tins kidney beans > 1 tin tomatoes > 1 small tin corn (optional) > smoked chipotle in adobo sauce or other chilli e.g. chilli paste > 2 tsp cumin or premixed mexican seasoning > corn chips
For the guacamole:
> 2 ripe avocadoes > cumin > salt and pepper to taste > the juice of one whole lime
For the pico de gallo:
> 3 to 4 medium tomatoes > juice of one whole lime > salt to taste > chopped cilantro
> dice onion and fry in vegetable oil of your preference until translucent > finely chop/mince half a chipotle chilli and add it to the onion > drain the beans and fry them in with the onion and chilli until the beans soften > roughly mash the beans, then add the tin of tomato and the cumin > add the corn > stir well and season to taste
> halve the avocadoes and scoop out the flesh into a medium mixing bowl > mash with a fork and add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and cumin > mix well
Pico de Gallo:
> finely dice the tomatoes, and place in a bowl with the lime juice, cilantro and salt. mix well.
To serve, place bean mix on top of corn chips, with pico de gallo and guacamole on top.