Steggall, Susan 1967-
Steggall, Susan 1967-
Born March 8, 1967, in Poole, England; married Paul Rutherford (a teacher); children: Oscar, Ralph. Education: Middlesex Polytechnic, B.A. (graphic design; with honours); Oxford Brookes University, teaching certificate.
Home and office—Fordingbridge, Hampshire, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Illustrator and educator. Graphic designer based in Glasgow, Scotland, 1989-90; primary school teacher, then infant coordinator in Cambridge, England, 1992-96; primary school teacher in Ringwood, Hampshire, England, 1996-97; school librarian in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, 1998-2006.
On the Road, Kane/Miller (La Jolla, CA), 2005.
Life of a Car, Frances Lincoln (London, England), 2007, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2008.
Susan Steggall told SATA: "My first book, On the Road, was inspired by my two children, Oscar and Ralph, and their obsession with vehicles of all kinds. Oscar, especially, used to spend hours lining up parades of matchbox cars all around the house—along steps and radiators, across the back of the sofa, and around his sleeping brother's head. And they both used to love going on a car journey and spotting the different types of vehicles passing us by. Even at night, Oscar could tell a Peugeot from a Renault by the shape of the headlights!
"I soon started to get drawn into all of this. So I painted an A-Z of transport on their playroom wall—starting comfortably enough with ambulance, bus, and caravan but staggering to an awkward finished with yellow submarine and zeppelin! I developed this into a simple book format, but soon abandoned the alphabet idea and decided on following a simple journey instead.
"I have tried to create pages that are full of interest but retain a direct visual appeal. And I like to include the functional and the ordinary, things that probably aren't picturesque but may be interesting and familiar to young children.
"I build my collages up in stages. First, I sketch a rough layout in pencil. Then I tear out some crude shapes for the main elements, to get an idea of the balance of the page. From there, I gradually refine the picture, adding detail and shifting things around as I go. At the moment, my work is made almost entirely from very carefully torn paper, but I'm starting to wonder about this—after a while your hands can really ache, and it's a disaster if I break a nail! I like the gentleness of the torn edges though.
"I usually work whilst my children are at school, and sometimes whilst they're asleep. I have music, or the radio, on all the time and I tend to drink too much coffee and eat too many ginger biscuits—especially when I get to a tricky bit.
"Some of my favourite children's books are Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, for the beautifully written text; Do You Know Who Sunk the Boat? by Pamela Allen, for the illustrations; and The Grumpalump, for both. I also love The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, for the idea, and Owen and the Mountain, by Malachy Doyle, for its simplicity. I don't like books that are obviously contrived, or adhere to a restrictive pattern, or those that seem to be imitating something else. I love poster art, well-designed labels and packaging, and hand-drawn typography."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of On the Road, p. 125.
School Library Journal, April, 2005, Wanda Meyer-Hines, review of On the Road, p. 113.
Times Educational Supplement, April 22, 2005, Jane Doonan, "First Journeys to Big Ideas," p. 12.
Kane/Miller Publishers Web site,http://www.kanemiller.com/ (August 15, 2007), "Sue Steggall."