all about clara
Born in Notting Hill, London, quite a while ago.
I’ve been drawing since forever – there’s never been anything else I wanted to do. Just possibly it runs in the family. As a child I didn’t notice that that my Mum was (and still is!) Shirley Hughes. To me she was just my Mum.
She did her work on the living room table, and simply pushed it to one side when we needed her. There was no closed door, no
‘Shh! Mum’s working…’
This is one of my early efforts at writing a story.
I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a work of great genius.
a narrow escape
I did go to university to do a proper brainy subject (history). I lasted three days and never even unpacked my suitcase. I thought ‘WHAT AM I DOING HERE?’ and rushed straight to art school instead (Chelsea School of Art, The Ruskin in Oxford, The Royal Academy).
First I illustrated for newspapers and magazines, including a weekly cartoon for the Guardian with Mark Haddon. I started doing books for children when I had a family of my own, and when my children grew up somehow the books never did. I’m absolutely hooked on children’s books.. It’s the most amazing piece of theatre, where words and images play merrily together and anything is possible.
I live in Twickenham with my husband and two grown-up children, and I work in a room at the top of the house overlooking the treetops and back gardens. Here I am, drawing and painting and cutting and sticking, or staring out of the window dreaming up stories… it’s very quiet and peaceful, which I love – except when I accidentally rustle a plastic bag, which sets off a cacophony of squeaking from the guinea pigs who also live here and think everything is a lettuce.
In my imagination my workroom is neat and perfect, with impressive bookshelves and beautifully arranged arty things. That’s because I live in a dream world. In reality it’s very messy, with coffee cups, overflowing waste-paper-baskets and boxes bursting with STUFF.