Angela Roberts is an English artist who has painted professionally for over 25 years as a traditional artist, but more recently has found herself being drawn towards her love of book illustration, especially for children and young adults.
Angela studied art and design in college and has since worked on developing her whimsical, delicate style. A lover of nature and fairy tales, Angela paints everything from birds and flowers to unicorns and princesses.
In this special Q&A, we ask Angela about her artistic inspiration, love of storytelling, and the magic of beautiful illustrations.
1. Tell me about your paintings and what inspires you to choose your subjects.
I've always painted in watercolour as I love the delicate nature of this art form. My paintings are built up in many thin layers to give them depth and also the very fine detail you see in them.
A lot of my inspiration comes from nature itself. I love being outside, walking through forests, and watching the birds and animals in my garden. I also love the change of the seasons. Being amidst nature gives me a sense of peace.
I'm also inspired by authors such as C. S. Lewis and Hans Christian Anderson. The magic of walking through a wardrobe to a mysterious land (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) or sleeping on a hundred mattresses to see if I could feel the tiny pea underneath (The Princess and the Pea) and other such fantastical stories influences the subject matter of most of my paintings.
I'm naturally drawn to fairy tales as I was brought up listening to my mom making up stories of imaginary worlds full of princesses, forests and talking animals. That love has never left me!
2. What do you want to tell viewers with your art?
I want to bring stories to life with my illustrations, but most importantly I want to bring joy with my art. I spent many hours with my mom and grandma when I was younger, looking at my favourite storybooks and listening as they read them to me. These memories still bring me happiness and joy and they always will.
Books and the illustrations within them create everlasting memories for children. I think my illustrations, being so magical and whimsical, could bring the same happiness and joy that I felt as a child.
3. What attracts you to children's book illustrations?
I'm drawn to book illustration, especially for children's books, as they give us the opportunity to not only let a child's imagination run free but also to teach and inspire them.
When I was a child the books that I loved taught me many things, from being imaginative and creative to gaining a better understanding of the world around me.
For instance, The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson taught me that life isn't always happy. Although it was a sad story, it taught me empathy by showing me that some children were not as fortunate as me.
Another of my favorite books, Beauty and the Beast taught me to be compassionate. The beast was gruff and grumpy, but that was mostly because he was angry and afraid.
Even when a book is a work of fiction it can still teach children about real life and even help them understand their feelings and emotions.
I would like to think that a story could also inspire children to be anything they want to be.
4. Tell me about some of the stories and illustrations you loved as a child, and how you want to contribute to that storytelling tradition.
I grew up being read fairy tales such as The Princess and the Pea, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Sleeping Beauty by my mom.
I was fascinated not only by the stories but by the beautiful illustrations. The stories took me into a magical world where anything was possible. They inspired me to use my imagination, and because the illustrations were so beautiful and detailed, they made me want to paint and draw and make up my own magical worlds.
If I could use my gift to bring enjoyment to young people and to inspire them the way in the way that I was as a child, it would be a dream come true!
Grace, watercolour painting by Angela Roberts
"This painting of the beautiful white unicorn was inspired by my love of all things mysterious and magical. It's the first in a series of three unicorn paintings named Grace, Beauty, and Strength. In this painting the graceful white unicorn stands silently in the quiet, mystical forest as a raven watches from the branches of an old tree."
Daydreaming, watercolour painting by Angela Roberts.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff, watercolour painting by Angela Roberts.
"Based on a Norwegian folktale, this painting shows the three billy goats gruff on the fabled old stone bridge while the troll hides underneath."