The eldest of 5, Jacquie scribbled and strummed her way through a tomboyish and happy childhood in the north east, drawing, writing and playing guitar, but always happiest when she could find her own space. She chose Graphic Design as her first route at art college in Newcastle in the mid 80s purely because it looked like the best route to being able to draw for a living. She couldn’t ever envisage herself doing anything else ( apart from being a rock and roll star and she quickly realised she was a much better artist than she was a guitarist!)
Before computers became a tool in design, she was trained using gouache and magic markers to produce designs and storyboards.
‘Time’, she was taught, ‘is money!’, so she learned to draw and colour quickly.
After studying illustration at Lincoln, she began working as what was known as a ' visualiser' in the busy and fast paced advertising industry in London in the late 80s. Always working at the rough design stage, Jacquie found herself loving the pace of the work but quickly frustrated at never being able to produce finished pieces.
She found working as a freelance editorial illustrator for several years much more satisfying before going into teaching for 10 years in further education in Newcastle while her two boys were growing up.
She admittedly had never considered making paintings until, in her late 30’s on a trip with her graphics students to London, she wandered around some funky little galleries in Notting Hill.
A penny dropped, and she started painting, starting with pop art iconic images often using song lyrics infused with her images. She found a studio in the centre of Newcastle and immediately knew she was doing the right thing; a self confessed workaholic, she loved for the first time ever having her own space and working alone despite being in the city.
The process of putting paint on canvas mesmerised her and soon led her to delve into more personal subjects and she started to resent leaving her studio.
She soon left her teaching job, which she had loved, but had grown increasingly frustrated with the pressures of the education system .She admits it was terrifying giving up a steady income but once Jacquie got her hands dirty she couldn't stop. Her iconic acrylic canvases began to sell and she began working in illustration again, which she’d not had time to maintain while she was teaching.
She dabbled with oils in a hugely personal set of paintings as part of her multi media solo show, 'THE JACK THAT DIDN'T FIT IN THE BOX', a darkly tongue in cheek look at growing up, sexual discovery and catholic guilt , all massively influenced by the music that had inspired her.
Her pop art work moved into a more teenage comic influenced style, thanks to someone commissioning Jacquie to paint Wonder Woman.
Always influenced by comic book work as a child and in her early storyboarding career her illustration work followed suit , and her trade mark became, in a nod to Lichtenstein, to take a single comic frame and sum up a story, or a feeling in one frame, usually with speech bubbles.
Now working from her garden studio in the relative peace of rural Leicestershire where she moved to in 2011, Jacquie’s original work has been exhibited countrywide in but much in the North East, including The Biscuit Factory, The National Glass Centre in Sunderland, Customs House South Shields, Psyche in Middlesborough, Balman Gallery In Hexham , Jam Gallery in Whitley Bay; in Dublin, and London many times, including fashion designer Pierre Garroudi's gallery, Arthouse Gallery, Coningsby Gallery.
Jacquie’s illustration work is produced ultimately using the same techniques as her paintings, harking back to her days as a visualiser. She still draws her roughs with pencil, then uses a lightbox, a sad and old but invaluable piece of equipment held together with much gaffer tape and a prayer, to trace, tidy up and develop her linework with ink using a brush pen.
She produces her paintings on canvas using acrylics.
’I’m obsessed with clean opaque colours, which I mix myself and layer up and up until I’m ready for the linework, which is my favourite part of the process. I get such a buzz out of painting my black linework!’
The difference between her paintings and illustrations is in the colouring .
For commercial illustration work that requires digital files, she scans her finalised ink drawings into the computer rather than drawing onto canvas, and colours them digitally using a tablet and pen though she still has a big box of markers and inks which come out occasionally when a more hand coloured effect is needed. Her commissioned illustration work is featured regularly in magazines as diverse as The Big Issue and Tatler, GQ, Women’s Health, Psychologies, Cosmopolitan and Wall Street Journal to name but a few.
She has worked on book jackets, cookery books, TV and web based animated advertisements and her work crops up regularly in Sunday magazines, from The Times,The Telegraph, Guardian to The Sun’s Fabulous Magazine.
Jacquie admits to still being childishly thrilled at seeing a new magazine on a shelf knowing she has an illustration in there, but nothing has been as thrilling as seeing her work used in the décor of the pop art Celebrity Big Brother house in 2017.
‘I was a massive fan of Big Brother, so to see my images on TV every night was pretty cool,’ says Jacquie.
Jacquie is happy to work with customers with commissions for paintings, having a commercial background and constantly working to briefs with art directors through her agents in her illustration world, she is more than comfortable working with customers with their own ideas. She admits to love working under pressure and to tight deadlines, although the all-nighters worked in advertising when she was younger don’t have quite the same appeal these days!
Where Jacquie loves to see her work in print, and onscreen, illustration work can be a very throw away business, and she says there is nothing like seeing one of her paintings at home on a customer’s wall, and knowing how much they relate to it, not just as a painting but as a statement.
‘Sometimes, in fact, often, I get it wrong,’ admits Jacquie, about her subjects, ‘But every now and again I strike a chord with people and they identify with my work, and somehow manage to live with these fairly colossal conspicuous statements in their homes.’
Jacquie loves to retain a retro comic feel to her images while taking a tongue in cheek pop at modern culture. She uses her work to communicate her own comments on the world by having fun with it where she can, and finds it a brilliant way to deal with life by laughing at herself and her own frustrations, feelings and the tribulations of getting older that we can all identify with!