Jane has always loved writing and drawing. Throughout much of her childhood she lived in Norfolk and wandered the fields and lanes with pencil and sketchbook.
She studied illustration and design in Brighton, where she met her husband, Ivan, who is also an illustrator. After college, they settled in Sussex and Jane taught art for a few years before leaving to have her first child, Owen. Since then she has had two more children; Alison and Ralph, and has written and illustrated over 20 picture books.
She prepares a dummy book of rough sketches before she begins the finished drawings. For these she draws first in pencil then, using coloured pencils, she builds up layers of colour, adding details towards the end. Each drawing takes many, many hours and a whole book can take a year.
Following the success of the books, it wasn’t long before Jane was asked to write a TV series for the toys. Model animation was chosen and sets were built to look just like the drawings in the books. Each ten-minute episode took about five weeks to film and Old Bear Stories won many awards including a BAFTA. Forty episodes were produced and seen in 90 different countries.
The books and TV inspired a huge range of merchandising and soon you could buy Old Bear stationery, mugs, calendars, alarm clocks, bubble bath and baby clothes. You could even have your own Old Bear toy!