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"Chef and Sue" illustrator Anne Edwards

Anne Edwards is the creator of many lovable animal characters including Chef and Sue, Thomas the Cat, Princess, Glamour Puss and many more. Chef and Sue are a dog and cat combo familiar to many as they feature in their own weekly cartoon strip serialisation published in the Waitrose Weekend magazine.


We love love the humour in your work here at Artist Papers. What inspires you?

There is an aisle in Waitrose between the brandy and chocolates,section opposite the TV pages display and on the bottom shelf you can find ‘Inspiration’ . I have another view in that amateurs wait for inspiration the rest of us just get up and go to work. The truth is I don’t know where they come from, but I do think they find me, but I have to keep looking.. Oh and the cheque always inspires me.

It's great to see your work in the Waitrose magazine, how long does it take to create from start to finish, the cartoons? What is the process?

I plan about four illustrations in advance so I don’t wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night thinking what am I going to do this week. It can take days of gestation and dozens of drawings to get the joke and look right and then the actual drawing will take about 3 hours. But it is the planning of it that takes the time. Like a constipated accountant I work it all out with a pencil. The working drawings on done on tracing paper then stuck together in layers and arranged till its right. Then I draw them in waterproof ink and watercolour on hot presses watercolour paper or Bristol board.

Which is your favourite design you've ever done, and why?

I don’t have a favourite. The moment they are finished I am dissatisfied with them and want to start again, so my favourite will always be the next one.

You are big in Japan I understand? Why do you think that is?

If I did I would bottle it. Chef and Sue have fans in Japan, but they write and say they don’t understand the words so they must just enjoy the happy pictures. My work does have a simple graphic quality which I think appeals to the Zen of Japanese psyche.

You said you use Strathmore paper for some of your cartoons, which paper do you use? What do you find good about it?

I alternate between Strathmore hot pressed watercolour and Bristol board. Both are a great soft colour, not a harsh white. The watercolour is smooth enough to take ink but absorbent enough to take watercolour and the Bristol board is crisp enough to take pen while with care and using only a little water will take watercolour without buckling.

What are you plans for this year?

With luck my youngest daughter will go to University in September which means my work here is done. I’m planning a gap month in Greece in October. Swimming, sitting, drinking Metaxa, so I’m working hard to ‘bank’ art work so I can take time out.

You can see more of Anne's work in our gallery here.



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