Artist Feature - Jane Heinrichs Feb 16 2015


My studio is like a moveable feast. My husband travels between Cape Town and London for work, and I frequently go to Canada to visit my family, so my studio moves with me across the globe.  All I need to create my illustrations are my box of water-colours, good Fabriano paper, a scanner and my computer with photoshop.  At the moment we're based in London, with frequent jaunts across the globe planned for 2015.    

Watercolour is my favourite medium. It is a capricious medium, and I love the frustrating relationship I have with it. I love the fluidity and spontaneity combined with the glowing, transparent colours. With watercolour, there are no rules, once your wet brush hits dry paper there is turning back. And, no matter how many techniques and tricks you've learned, you're never completely in control.   

My artwork is a marriage of draughtsmanship and flowing watercolour. I take inspiration from vintage illustrations and old master paintings.  

At the moment I'm working with Random House South Africa on a series of books about a little girl named Mattie who has fantastic adventures with various African animals.  The series was actually inspired by a collection of prints I designed for my Etsy shop. Random House commission the stories based on those illustrations.  We've already finished two books, and I'll be working on two more in the coming year.  

If I don't draw or write on a daily basis, I start to feel out of balance and anxious. So, I'm driven by that fact that storytelling is like breathing for me. At the moment, I've challenged myself to post a drawing, no matter how small, every day of the year on Instagram and Facebook.

Up until my baby daughter was born a few months ago, I took fairly advanced ballet classes two to three times a week. I love the combination of music and movement.  A dancer's goal is to create a beautiful, dynamic, three-dimensional line with each step.  I think that's what I strive for with my illustrations, too. 

I usually listen to BBC3 radio while I'm painting in the morning. I love the soothing classical music, which creates a soundtrack for my brushes to dance to as they move across the paper.