Get to know Janet Taylor

Please join me this morning in welcoming artist Janet Taylor.

What got you started as an artist? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

I have always liked to draw, even as a child. Some of my early efforts still exist and are quite entertaining to view. I was going to be the first female astronaut and did many drawings of solar systems and anything that pertained to space. Then I started drawing dress designs that were similar to some of the early Barbie dresses. I came across some of those recently and they did bring a chuckle.  Don’t think I would care to share either of those early attempts with anyone!

What got you started along the path to creating your calendar?

A friend, Jan Hahn, asked if I could draw a scene for a possible book cover. After much thought, I decided to give it a try. The fun I had doing that first drawing awakened the desire in me to attempt different scenes from the miniseries. With the 200th anniversary of the publication of P n P coming up in 2013, Jan’s original suggestion turned into the making of a  calendar.

If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your Jane Austen based art what would be the most important scenes?

That’s a tough question. I guess one of the most important scenes would be when I found out that I could sell my work. I was in England in August (perfect setting, right?) where I was first told I could sell my work. I was in the quaint little village of Lacock or Meryton in the 1995 miniseries. I had been viewing the work of David White and was talking about it to Hazel Jones, one of our guides and a Jane Austen scholar. She happened to be a personal friend of his and she felt sure I could sell my work. Unbeknownst to me, she contacted him to be sure. In Manchester, on the last day of our tour Hazel told me that she had heard from David and he said I did not have to have a license. My drawings were my artistic interpretations of scenes from the miniseries.  Later in Bath, at the Jane Austen Centre, I was told the same thing. I was ecstatic. I knew I could go forward. At that time, I had only done three drawings. I came home and got busy on the next NINE drawings.

Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

My main partners in crime are Lizzy and Darcy as Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. There superpowers are getting in my head and not letting me rest. I am never quite satisfied and have to keep trying to fix one more thing…make it better or more like them. Next I would have to add my son and grandchildren as my other partners in crime. Their superpowers are their love and support. They have given me much encouragement.

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

My secret lair is very special indeed and secretive, too! Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but it’s my kitchen table. That can be a problem at meal time but the light is good there and I can spread out. I believe it is occasions such as this that prompted the making of tv trays. Sometimes I draw at my computer but that is when I am fine-tuning details. I will zoom in on the nose or mouth, whatever is giving me trouble at the moment, study it intensely then make changes accordingly.

What are the biggest challenges faced with creating your calendar and notecards?

With the calendar it was time…getting it done for 2013, then finding software that did what I needed. I didn’t have either. My calendar was late and I had to do most of the setting up myself. I knew how I wanted it done but could find no software on the market that would do it. With time as a major factor, I had to quit looking for software and get busy designing.

What important lessons have you learned along the way?

Probably the most important lesson in my drawings has been to pay attention to the details. They can make or break the drawing. It never pays to rush. I have to take my time, get it right the first time and be confident of what I am doing. Easier said than done!

What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

When someone likes my work, that is extremely satisfying, especially if it is a drawing that gave me fits! Anytime someone tells me I captured the look of the characters or scene, it makes my day. That was what it was all about.

If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?

I would start sooner!  Second, I am changing my paper. I have been using a textured paper and it is hard to get the pencils to blend as much as I would like. I am hoping this new paper, which is smooth, will help the drawings to look better. I hope my enjoyment of drawing the scenes never changes.

Tell us about your calendar and why we need to drop everything and get one now.

For all of us that love Jane Austen, her novels and other books written about her novels, we are fortunate to be alive for the 200th anniversary of the publication of P n P. This is a very special anniversary. My calendar is a one of a kind P n P calendar. Even though the drawings are from the miniseries and it is not everyone’s favorite, the calendar still has much more to it. It has a page of quotes, a time line of JA’s life and some historical facts of the time. The drawings and quotes that go with them follow the order of the book. There will never be another 200th anniversary and not another 200th Anniversary Calendar of this kind. It is a unique keepsake. As one recipient wrote me…”Online pictures simply do not do it justice!”  When these are gone, there will not be another printing.

What’s in store for your art in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

My first big project is to draw Santa Claus. I have been commissioned to do this drawing and was sent a lovely photograph ‘of the man himself’! I am looking forward to this drawing and hope to start it next week. Then I will be doing at least two drawings with Matthew Macfayden as Darcy and possibly one of him with Keira Knightley. I want to do a drawing of Jane, Bingley and Mr. Bennet. Someday maybe I will get all the characters done. Big dreams, huh!

I have already started work on the 2014 calendar. I plan to have it ready by late summer/early fall. The Jane Austen Centre in Bath is interested in carrying the 2014 calendar so it will be a priority. Watch my website for mugs, mouse pads and tiles which are coming soon. I am also being sent a neat little compact with one of my drawings on it! That should be much fun. I think I could enjoy having a nice ‘Darcy’ compact!

Thanks so much for having me, Maria. I have enjoyed being your guest today.

You can find Janet on line at:

JT Originals

More Agreeably Engaged

9 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. What a lovely interview, Maria Grace! Janet, I loved reading about your drawing story, especially the kitchen table! lol

    I absolutely love your artwork, as you know. The calendar is right in my line of vision when I am at my desk (Darcy has his tense first proposal face on at the moment!) and I am looking forward to purchasing some of the other delightful things you have created lately.

    Can’t wait for the 2014 calendar and to see your work on sale via the JA Centre!

    Cassie

      • Janet T on April 15, 2013 at 12:25 am
      • Reply

      Thank you, Cassie. I appreciate all your kind words and especially how much you are enjoying your calendar. You may have to send me a pic of the 2014 calendar on display at TJAC. 🙂

      I’m glad you read the interview and liked it, even the kitchen table! Lol

  2. I have some of your lovely notecards, Janet, and I don’t think I could bring myself to actually write on them! haha I am very envious of people who can draw or paint well. I say all the time that I would love to be able to capture the Lizzy and Darcy that are in my imagination, as they don’t look just like the actors who’ve portrayed them (though they definitely lean more toward Colin & Jennifer). Congratulations on your success and I can’t wait to see your future creations.

    1. Thank you, Monica. I think you have the set of cards that were from my very first drawing, if I remember correctly. Sometimes I see Darcy and Lizzy in my mind a little differently too but it seems that mine lean very much toward the look of CF and JE. I did enjoy the miniseries and that has affected my vision of them tremendously.

      Thank you again!.

    • Jan Hahn on April 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm
    • Reply

    Great interview Maria Grace and Janet! I have the great pleasure of knowing Janet ‘in the flesh.’ We’re good friends, and she is a lovely, lovely person – generous, gracious, very talented, and encouraging. I’ve loved all her drawings and especially enjoy seeing the calendar hung near my desk. I also have cards, coffee mugs of Darcy and Elizabeth, and a yummy mouse pad of Darcy. Believe me, I take every advantage to stroke his curls with my mouse.

    1. Jan, thank you for your sweet words and your encouragement. I guess I should thank you most of all for asking me that all important question that got me started down this path of drawing.

      By the way, I think you have the mouse pad with the ‘best’ curls! Jan has the mouse pad that is shown on this post and Darcy’s hair (curls) in that drawing is my favorite of all the drawings.

      Thanks for reading the interview and commenting, Jan!

  3. Thank you, Maria, for having me as your guest today and for your willingness to help promote my work. I appreciate you very much!

  4. Wonderful interview, Janet – and your artwork is awesome! I enjoyed hearing the details of your start with it, and thank you to Jan for getting you started on sharing these images with all of us. I am anxiously awaiting some of your planned drawings, and in the meantime am ruminating over which of your current ones I must procure! So nice, too, that Maria included in this interview the lovely photo of you — it is great to put a face to the online correspondence, and more so to see that you are as lovely as your communications and artwork would suggest.

    1. Tess, what wonderfully sweet things that you said! Your comments mean much to me! Thank you. I will definitely let you know when I have some of the planned ones available. So glad that you like my work and enjoyed the interview. It was fun. It always helps to have a face to go with a person doesn’t it. I hadn’t thought about that as I had your photo and face to go with our communications.

      Thanks, Tess, for reading the interview and taking the time to comment. I hope to hear from you soon! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: