Caroline Pedler is an Illustrator, artist and educator.

Introducing Caroline Pedler who we’ve admired, been familiar with for some time! Caroline is an Illustrator, artist and educator. She has exhibited and curated numerous shows around the UK and more recently been part of illustration exhibitions in Bologna, Italy, Shanghai, China and Sharjah, UE.

Caroline has illustrated over 50 children's picture books and worked with a variety of International clients over the past 20 years, she is predominantly a co-edition iIllustrator, with her books being in 27 different languages and selling all over the world.

Previous clients include; Little Tiger Press, Sterling USA, Barnes & Noble, Hallmark, Sony, Tescos, Walmart, Scholastic, Parragon, Marks & Spencers, Readers Digest and Matalan. Here’s what happened when we delved a little deeper….

When did you start illustrating?

When I got my first commission with Gordon Fraser Cards (Andrew Brownsword – who are now Hallmark in 1997/8. In 1998/9 one of my Christmas cards was seen locally by a publisher at Readers Digest in Bath and she asked me to come in for a meeting – from there on I started illustrated children’s books for them and then she took me to Parragon when they shut down a year later. I illustrated 14 books for them before I worked with Little Tiger Press and others.

Who has been the most supportive in your illustration career, perhaps your teacher, family, friends?

My family have always been behind me in terms of support. Kirsty Thompson who hired me at Gordon Fraser took me under her wing as an illustrator for years after, working for Hallmark and Ling Design as one of their main illustrators, where I designed and illustrated full ranges of greetings cards and earnt a great salary from it. I loved it and I owe her a lot for believing in me and getting me started. More recently Ceri Hand has been my mentor and having her faith and belief in me has been transformative in believing in myself and putting myself out there as an experienced creative.

Did you always think art was something that was going to be a major part of your life?

It was the one thing that I was really good at. I used to hang out in the art block at school and was recognised as being really good at art but I don’t think I thought I could make a career from it back then. It was a different world where the careers teachers were steering you towards being a civil servant or a teacher. I said I wanted to be an infant teacher because I was good with children but not sure I believed it at the time. There weren’t that many exciting options back then and artist definitely wasn’t one of them if you wanted to earn any money. As I started to leave school I just wanted to draw and illustration was the only course that allowed me to draw a lot, so I did an A-level in Art and then an OND, BA & MA – all in Illustration. I live and breathe art and creativity. It is everything to me.

What is your favourite subject matter to illustrate?

I would say I don’t have a preference, but all my previous children’s books have been animals so I would say animals. I love creating emotion in a piece of work and between characters. To create an energy that can resonate with the reader and draw them into that moment. Contrast is something I enjoy, so maybe a large character with a small character and see what that does to the relationship. I also love to sketch out in the world and especially love industrial shapes and details, contrasted with nature and natural landscape. People have been a challenge for me but as I go out sketching more they have become more of a pleasure and seem to be creeping into my book ideas more.

How would you describe your style?

Energetic, emotionally accessible, it can be sophisticated yet playful. Sometimes bright and colourful although I am most comfortable in the more muted tones with a snap of something bright. My whole colour palette comes from living in Cornwall and holidays on the coast in the rock pools and beaches and where the darker hues contrast with the sea green, sandy beige, and pinks.

What is your favourite collaboration to date?

Collaboration is something I haven’t had the opportunity for so much and it’s something I am thirsty to step into. To work with a designer, a writer or another artist / illustrator. I worked with an animator in Australia called Andrew in 2006/7, which was exciting. We created the video for the debut EP The Beast, for a band called Angus and Julia Stone. It was exciting sending him my drawings and seeing them come alive. We worked together for a while after on more videos, and I loved the excitement of working to a different time zone also. I have worked with writer called Steve Smallman a lot, illustrating his children’s book stories. Our styles matched well, and we both worked hard to get little details into the final book that we both liked and knew the publisher wouldn’t necessarily pick for inclusion.

What interested you about being represented by Illo Agency?

They are a smaller agency who champion the individual, diverse, global and distinct, which chimes loudly with my values and beliefs and although I have created many books with writers and publishers that have strong meaningful messages for children, I want to tell my own stories now through the work I create for publication and I feel that Illo Agency are the agency who can offer me that. I met them in the right place at the right time and talking to Amy was lovely and although we have worked with each other before, I hadn’t met her in person and I really enjoyed her company, which clinched it for me.

Do you have a favourite author, film director, or designer?

I read academically more than I do for pleasure these days, and I am looking out for that book that will grab me to read it. My favourite film of all time is Bladerunner, so Ridley Scott. I love that there are so many details in that film that are hidden in the darkness, and although it’s a bleak landscape it sets a great background for the richness of the characters. It has some of my favourite scenes visually and the soundtrack is wonderful. My favourite designer is Vaughan Oliver. I learnt so much about composition from him, Neville Brody, David Carson and Chriss Bigg. I also love Antoni Tapies the Spanish artist and Cy Twombly, also an artist for similar reasons.

Are you working on any personal projects you can share with us?

I have a few book ideas that I have fleshed out into thumbnails. I also make my own limited edition illustrated books under my small press An-ti-dote Press which I really enjoy so always have a project on the go for that. Because painting is at the heart of my work, I have recently realised a love for large rocks and rockpools, so I am working with that on a series of paintings and have just exhibited some drawings and ceramics I made some time ago, which I will use the process of for this new body of work.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, do you have a favourite?

I love podcasts and I am considering doing my own after really enjoying talking to a fellow illustrator Sue Gent for the AOI around finding your voice. So, yes! I love creative Pep talk with Andy Pizza and listen to so many for different reasons inc life related stuff. But Andy’s have chimed most for illustration related chat.

If you have any questions or a specific project in mind, please do get in touch: [email protected]

At illo agency, we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrated by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.