Margaret Anne Suggs is very prolific illustrator born and raised in America, now based in Dublin, Ireland. She he loves to draw and, as you would expect, her specialty is children’s picture books. She describes her detailed work as “(…) peppered with charismatic cats and ladybirds that bring stories to life.” Mags, as she is also know, creates art as sweet and witty as herself.
Mags in incredibly accomplished and busy, with a Master’s Degree from the the National College of Art and Design and currently working as the Promotions Officer for Illustrators Ireland, Mags also lectures in the Illustration department at Ballyfermot College of Further Education.
She’s also the winner of The 2016 Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior) alongside author Katleen Watkings, for Pigín of Howth (Gill).
I hope you enjoy the interview:
1) Mags, who were (or are) your artistic inspirations?
Mags – I’ve been enamoured with the work of Beatrice Alemagna (mix of media, full compositions and phenomenal colour!) and Elena Odriozola (such texture and pattern! lovely white space). I’ve also enjoyed looking back at the work of Patricia Polacco (she combines pencil work with a splash of colour). All three women are so individual and original in their work!
My students (at Ballyfermot College of Further Education) inspire me a lot! They are fresh and full of ideas and energy. They keep me in touch with what’s hip. They make you think anything is possible.
2) What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
Mags – I’m very old school so I prefer fine art techniques – pure painting and drawing. I also really love line! My sketchbooks are filled with just black line drawings. Experimenting with new media helps to keep my work looking fresh, so I’ll try anything – from print to collage to stitch.
3) Could you please give an example of a project you’re really proud of?
Mags – “A Chocolate in My Pocket” (written by Eric La Branche) is a picture book that I’ve worked on for about a year, and it was published in 2016. First released in Dutch with the English version following it. It’s a really sweet story and I’m just delighted I was chosen to illustrate it.
4) Could you please share a picture of your workspace?
My wonderful husband had 2 skylights put into my studio last spring and the light is amazing now! As soon as the windows were put in, my boys and I painted the studio pink. It’s nicer than it sounds. And of course I have to have all my books nearby to inspire me.
5) Where can people find you online?
Illustrators Ireland: http://www.illustratorsireland.com/illustrator/margaret-anne-suggs-2/
What’s your favourite ice-cream flavour?
Sadly, I’m lactose intolerant. But when I DO eat ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food would be my ideal stomach ache.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I had always intended to summer in Ireland and winter in the south of France. I’ve got it 50% right, don’t I?
Do you collect anything?
Children’s Books. The collection started at childhood and is really an addiction now. At last count – just over 1,700 – we realised it was time to get some new bookshelves.
What’s your favourite word?
DELIGHTFUL! It’s such a compliment to be something that is full of delight.
What makes you happiest?
My little family
Mags will have an upcoming solo exhibition at The Seanchaí – Kerry Writers Museum.
Keep your eyes peeled for news in her social media channels!
Thank you Mags! Wishing you a fantastic 2017!