Clara Vulliami was born in London in 1962. The daughter of author and illustrator, Shirley Hughes and her architect husband.
As a little girl her favourite hobby was drawing – she used paper until it ran out and then moved on to the walls of their home! Fortunately, her mother always encouraged her artistic talents, buying her beautiful paint palettes and pens.
Clara studied Fine Art at the Chelsea School of Art, The Ruskin (Oxford) and The Royal Academy. The course taught her that the two most important skills in her profession are how to really look at the world around you and how to draw people. She says, For me, faces, expressions and gestures tell the story in a way that words can’t on their own.[Text Wrapping Break]After graduating, Clara began working life as a portrait painter and an illustrator for magazines and newspapers – including doing a weekly cartoon for The Guardian Women’s Page.
She started concentrating on writing and illustrating children’s books only when she had children of her own. I’m interested in the real lives of real children, trying to shed some light on the kind of things (starting school, a new baby, a lost toy…) that seem ordinary from the outside but feel huge on the inside. I do think that children are very fascinating, and much braver than us grown-ups.
Clara has written and illustrated numerous stories for children and babies. She also enjoys illustrating books by other authors. For her painting pictures is pure pleasure and comes very naturally but she says learning how to use words took a bit longer.
She lives in Twickenham with her husband Mark who is an artist and designer, their children Jack and Martha and three gerbils.