‘I completed my studies this year at Falmouth University, amongst the Cornish beaches and tropical gardens, receiving a first class Hons in BA illustration. It really is the most inspirational and idyllic place to study and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about doing an artistic degree. ‘
‘I’ve been surrounded by illustrators all my life, my dad, Leo Hartas is a children’s book illustrator and my Grandpa is actually the renowned John Vernon Lord himself, so I have a lot to live up to. When I announced that I wanted to do illustration my parents were pretty underwhelmed “can’t you do something else for a change” they said. My little brother is praised for his interest in history and politics, subjects far less predictable in the Hartas household. Though, of course my Grandpa and my dad have been huge influences and help, teaching me all their own tips and tricks of the trade. Other inspirations have been the work of Ronald Searle, Sidney Sime’s monsters and the beautiful character designs of Nico Marlet.
I love to conjure up strange characters, animals and multiple eyed monsters in my work and create fantastical worlds and places for them to inhabit and get lost in. I create stories for a young audience that allow my humorous characters and their fun adventures in picture books, though I do sometimes like to explore slightly darker stories for older children and adults too. I usually work traditionally in watercolour and dip pen and sometimes in 3D materials for puppet making.’
‘My first commission, during my time at university, was the Dark Lord series of teen books by Jamie Thompson, the first of which won the Roald Dahl Funny prize in 2012. I have since been among the 12 winners of the Lemniscaat illustration award with illustrations from my picture book ‘Little Kong’.
I am now hoping to get a few of my own picture book ideas off the ground and pursue a freelance career in children’s illustration.’