June can't remember a time when she didn't love drawing and her Mum said that she would sit in her pram and draw. The only thing she liked at school was the Art Room.
After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art, she taught Art and Design for several years before becoming a freelance portrait painter.
In 1999 June started illustrating Children's Books, working for Frances Lincoln Ltd, Miles Kelly Publishing and Floris Books amongst others. HorsePower commissioned her for illustrations for the 2008 and 2009 Royal Windsor Horse Show cataloge and website. Gervalie's Journey written by Anthony Robinson and Annemarie Young and published by Frances Lincoln Ltd, was winner of USBBY Outstanding International Books 2009 and Scholastic Best Books of the year 2008.
She loves drawing horses, dogs, people at work, boats, messy things, markets abroad, buildings and trains, cars and lorries. She works from life and goes and takes lots of photos. When people say "Oh, you're an illustrator; that must be a nice job", she agrees with them.
June lives in an old draughty Edinburgh house with her husband and children.

 

The following is an excerpt from an interview for Papertigers an online magazine highlighting the series the 'Refugee Diaries'

Papertiger Interview August 2010
What has it meant to you, to illustrate the books in the Refugee Diary series? It was great to get the job as Frances Lincoln is an excellent publisher. The impressionistic style they wanted was right up my street as I use this way of working in my seaside drawings. And as a portrait painter it was ideal to be using these skills for illustrating the children and their families.Anthony Robinson and Annemarie Young interviewed each of the children over many hours and then Anthony wrote up each child’s story in their own voice, weaving in their particular words and phrases. They talked about the trauma and upheaval they faced in their own countries because of war and political unrest, and of their journeys to refuge. I became immersed in the children’s lives and journeys and almost felt I knew them all personally. A few weeks ago I was able to meet the children and their families at an event held in their honour in London and it really felt like meeting up with old friends. They are wonderful people and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to get to know them through the books.
What research did you do? At first I thought it would be difficult to find enough reference material because the families had left in such a hurry with only a few treasured photos. But searches on the internet produced enormous amounts of information on Iraq, Congo and Chechnya. I spent hours looking at clips on YouTube and found posts by Russian soldiers fighting the Chechens which were very useful for Hamzat’s Journey. I was able to get details of uniforms and weapons and views of towns and cities destroyed by Russian bombing. A doctor friend who fits artificial limbs was very helpful for researching Hamzat’s story. Researching these issues can often be overwhelming as the images online are harrowing.The diaries are also about the children’s journeys so I needed reference for all sorts of transport from ferries to rowing boats, lorries and aircraft, so I was always taking photos when out and about and especially at the docks at Dover which appear in two of the stories.
The Refugee Diaries are particular in that they also incorporate photographs.  How did that affect your approach to the project? The layouts for each page were roughed out in advance so I knew where, but not necessarily what, was going onto the page. However, my brief was to do impressionistic illustrations so this was a good contrast to the crispness of the photographs. The photographs also guided my colour themes and often the mood of the images. The torn paper around each photograph links the images together. The whole idea was to resemble a diary.
What is your studio like; and how does a typical day pan out, when you are working on the illustrations for a book? I have a studio on the ground floor of my house which is full of books, pin boards and mirrors. When I am working on an illustration on an A1 drawing board I hold it in front of the mirror and immediately see a fresh viewpoint – useful for colour and composition. The pin boards are a jumble of photos and drawings – all quite chaotic but I like to be surrounded by stuff. I am not minimalist in any shape or form!  I have sketch books all over the place and a display cabinet full of old children’s toys and dressed up toy mice! I also have my computer and a huge screen – I work in front of this with all my reference displayed for each picture.I work office hours, typically 9 to 5 because I rarely have the luxury of waiting until my mood is right. I read my emails, sharpen my pencils, get fresh water, squeeze out new paint and then get started.  I often have to work weekends too when a deadline approaches although I am slowing down a bit now.
Excerpt from Papertigers online magazine August 2010
http://www.papertigers.org/gallery/June_Allan/index.html