a potted history

Me, left, with my sister
I had a rather unconventional upbringing to say the least, living in cramped quarters above a take-away whilst my parents slaved away downstairs day and night, leaving my sister and I to wreak havoc largely unsupervised. I grew up on a visual diet of entirely unsuitable horror movies, melodramatic Chinese costume dramas and The Care Bears. I was sent to a girls' school from the age of three, which also happened to be a convent, where I was fed a mind-altering cocktail of Catholic doctrine and ghost stories about suicidal dead nuns haunting the old buildings. These things explain a lot about the odd stuff I create these days.

I'm the one NOT making the obscene gesture here. Rocking that fringe and the ghetto outfit, though.

with Mum and Dad
My parents came from Hong Kong in the late 70s and by 1982 had started their own business in a little Georgian town called Bewdley, where I grew up running wild, climbing trees and wading in the River Severn. By the time I was eleven, my Mum decided that I'd outgrown my school and sent me for all sorts of harrowing entrance exams, which eventually landed me a place at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham, where, thankfully, I didn't develop a Brummie accent (although hints of one come out on occasion). I performed well in all sorts of things apart from sports, where I was not good with anything to do with balls or sticks. I played music, worked hard, became extremely myopic and meanwhile, I didn't really spend enough time thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life.

That's how I ended up studying sciences at A Level and from there it was a slippery slope to studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, where I found a passion for zoology, in particular dead things - evolution and that kind of fossilly nonsense. Somewhere during my third and final year there, I realised that zoology, in the academic sense, was not for me. I applied to study foundation art and design at Chelsea College, survived that and landed in Bristol for three years studying illustration with a generous smattering of animation. 

I was picked up by my agent, Jelly, during my degree show and have been with them since 2006, working on all sorts of things ranging from children's educational books and editorial work to promotional campaigns for clients like Honda, Fiat and Ikea. From 2006 to 2009, I also worked as a character designer and animator at the lovely 12foot6, but I left in order to be completely freelance. During all this, I managed to marry the love of my life, buy a little thatched cottage in Essex, sell that and then move to Wales.

I am now too ugly to show you pictures of. Oh, OK, here's me more recently than 1983, minus the heavy fringe (although I'm contemplating it again):

With the husband in Scarborough
Home is now a rather dilapidated, but pretty, Georgian farmhouse. We moved here in April 2011 and have grand plans for making it a long-term (that is, longer than five years) home. I have developed a rather time-consuming obsession with vintage interiors. I sew things badly. I grow vegetables very badly. I hope to keep chickens without killing them. I am happy.

Thank you so much for stopping by my little site and reading my ramblings!

Karen x

Selected client list:
Smart Car
Dorling Kindersley
Nature journal
BMI Baby
Paramount Comedy