So as promised the second part of my look at one of Big Sky Publishing’s latest picture books – Chasing Rainbows; a sweet story about siblings trying to catch a rainbow and find that rainbow magic. During their journey, they find out a lot of things and discover something incredible. This time we will discover more behind the visualist – Cheri Hughes – who illustrates this fabulous story and many other of Katrina’s hit picture books as well as two of my picture books – The Forever Kid and Rain Shaker due out in a couple of months. Cheri takes Katrina’s beautifully crafted story which cleverly introduces STEM science concepts; interweaving them through a heart-warming narrative about family life; and brought them to life with her vibrant, joyful and effervescent artwork.
About the book:
Chasing Rainbows is a story about siblings, Sam and Ruby, that asks children to look at the magic of rainbows in a different way. Sam and Ruby are extremely curious about rainbow magic. They have some unanswered questions. Are there pots of gold at the end, will they feel zingy if they touched one, do unicorns live on the top? Together they set out on a mission to find these answers. This is seriously great picture book and I expect it to receive some strong interest not only in school libraries’ shopping lists for its STEM links but also for families as the sheer joy of the story make it a book to share again and again with your little people. Don’t delay – buy your own copy now!
Author: Katrina McKelvey
Illustrator: Cheri Hughes
ISBN: 978-1-922265-70-8 (pb)
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
Release date: August 2020
Format: 230mm x 260mm
Price (incl. GST): $14.99 (paperback)
Reading Age: 3 – 10 years
So who is Cheri Hughes?
Cheri is an illustrator based in Melbourne. I’ve been around and lived in different cultures. Specifically, the US, Japan, and Australia. I have loved illustrating from a very young age and it had been one of my modes of communication. it still is. I love escaping to worlds where I can create and express. That is also something I like to offer to the readers.
Has there been anyone who particularly inspired you on your journey as an illustrator?
I had an art teacher, actually many, who always supported and encourage me to follow my gut feelings. As I said previously mentioned moving to Japan had given me a handicap in communications and the best way for me to express myself was through visual aspects. It wasn’t a negative experience but it certainly challenged me to dig deep and find other ways to speak.
Did you know you always wanted to be an illustrator?
Yes. I knew I was heading to the creative world. No one could budge me. I was staying on my path no matter what. I loved books from an early age but I didn’t become an avid reader until middle school. The reason was that I was too busy outside climbing trees then I moved to Japan and I needed to keep my English up. Sydney Sheldon was my English teacher during those years. To be honest being an illustrator was just me. I didn’t grow out of it and kept drawing until I came to really notice editorial illustrations and I thought, YES! There’s a job for me. I can work and draw at the same time! Unbelievable! I was 15.
What would you be if you weren’t an illustrator?
I weren’t an illustrator I would be a scientist. When I was ten I had a unique experience of having to learn a language from scratch to be understood. This takes a while. Years even, to get to an optimal level. So I turned to science and maths. That language is the same in these subjects no matter where you are. I found beauty in the formulas and patterns. I still find it very fascinating.
Chasing Rainbows is an amazing picture book – bound to be a favourite read for many children – what’s your favourite book?Tough question… Maybe I could share one of my first loves. It was Oddkins. I was in the third grade and we still had teachers reading to us, storytime. Usually, it would be a chapter book which I loved but this particular book had illustrated pages as well. And every time she came upon an illustrated page I was ecstatic. I loved the story and I loved the illustrations. I finally found a copy a few years back.
What advice would you give other aspiring illustrators?
Always have a sketchbook and pen or pencil with you no matter where you go. Ideas pop out from nowhere and you HAVE TO jot it down.
Okay and just for fun- three things that might surprise us about you?
I was in theatre. I love anything where you can express yourself creatively.
I love cooking, and pretend I’m the witch bewitching everyone. Haha!
I lived in Japan for 14 years.
Thanks for your time Cheri, where can we find out more?
Website and blog: verycheri.com
Link to products: https://verycheri.com/products/