Sandra McGowan: Illustrator Interview


Super delighted to be hosting an interview with the illustrator of the Black Water chapter headings, artist Sandra McGowan. I’ve always wondered more about chapter headings, they’re always such a great part of a chapter book…

Hey Sandra, your beautiful drawings really add to the appeal of Black Water, so well done! How did you feel when you were asked to create images for a story set in 1792? Delighted, but slightly nervous. I told Barbara that I would do a few drawings but that she didn’t have to use them!

Which of the chapter images did you enjoy drawing the most? Definitely the donkey and Finlay’s cottage. They were the first two I attempted as I was more naturally drawn to the subjects.

Sandra McGowan - Cottage

Which proved trickiest? The gulls. I needed a few attempts at them. It was hard to get them right without overworking them.

Did you have to do research at all? I had to do some research to get the right look for Finlay’s cottage and the sailing vessel.

Are you pleased with the finished product? which one stands out as your favourite? Yes, very pleased with how they look. My favourite is the donkey.

This is your first foray into book illustration. What type of artistic work do you you typically do? Drawing and working with acrylics. Main subjects are landscape and animals.

What is the hardest thing about producing art? Setting aside time to work, and starting!

How did you find the process of working on Black Water? Did you consult with the author or the publishers, or both?

I very much enjoyed the process. Barbara was already familiar with my work, so she gave me a list of ideas for images and left me to interpret them. Thankfully she and the publisher were happy with the results.

Thank you so much, and good luck with whatever project you tackle next, Sandra!

Sandra McGowan Barbara Henderson

Barbara Henderson & Sandra McGowan

Read MyBookCorner’s review of Black Water here. 

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