Jemma is a dyslexic, mixed-race (Jamaican & White British) author-illustrator who grew up on a council estate in rural Gloucestershire.
She was not a confident early reader. While she loved stories, getting the words off the page was difficult and having to read aloud in class was, in her words, traumatising.
Jemma naturally gravitated towards the arts and went on to study Fine Art at Falmouth University. Afterwards, she moved to London and worked in film and TV as a Set Decorator and Production Buyer for the BBC, Netflix, and Amazon, among others.
Through it all she kept painting and jotting down ideas and stories about the hidden things, people, and places she found fascinating and inspiring. Her sketchbooks are full of ideas and subjects such as magical forced rhubarb, the history and invention of colours, and all varieties of British flora and fauna.
She creates her characters on paper before using Procreate to make roughs that are then hand painted in gouache at her home studio in Vancouver, BC.
Thankfully, reading aloud no longer fills her with dread.