Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Keepsake P&P Calendar by Janet B. Taylor

Welcome, Janet B. Taylor, a talented artist who has turned her love of Pride and Prejudice into a keepsake calendar.

Thank you, Mary, for having me as a guest today to help me get the word out about my calendars and drawings.  A special thanks to you for the lovely review of my calendar.  

Now where to begin? I hardly know. Like many fans of Jane Austen and Austenesque novels, I have been quite literally obsessed for the past 18 months, at least. I wanted to read anything I could get my hands on.  I relied on all you wonderful authors to supply my Darcy and Lizzy fix. When I couldn’t get a new book, I would re-read one I already had. I repeatedly watched the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

A Walk in the Woods
The first thought of drawing Darcy and Lizzy came from a suggestion of my friend and author, Jan Hahn. She wanted me to try a drawing that might be used for a book cover. I felt unsure of this idea since, unlike many artists, I cannot just start drawing. I must have a picture to look at while I draw. I gave the idea some serious thought and finally decided to give it a try. My first attempt at Darcy was put aside rather quickly. He looked like Billy Bob Thornton—definitely not my idea of Mr. Darcy. My second attempt was more successful; then I moved on to Lizzy. Lastly, using a photograph I had taken of the woods at Belton House, i.e, Rosings Park in the miniseries, I made a computerized drawing. That became the background for ‘A Walk in the Woods’.  I have hand drawn the other eleven backgrounds myself. 

Now my desire to read about Darcy and Lizzy had a new dimension. I wanted to draw them too. I knew I had to try Darcy and Lizzy in the music room, i.e., ‘The Look’.  My fourth drawing and most popular according to comments received is ‘The Kiss’. Being my favorite too, it was, without a doubt, one scene I had to do, and it seemed to flow onto the paper.

With each drawing, my goal was to capture the emotion and sense of the scene. I hoped the viewer could feel what was happening. I spent much time studying the eyes, the nose and the mouth.  I think the eyes are the most important feature but the other two follow close behind.

While on a tour of England, I visited Lacock, which was used for Meryton in the 1995 BBC miniseries. It was such a lovely little village, and I literally felt I had stepped back in time.  In one of the gift shops, I saw the work of an artist named David White. One of our guides was Hazel Jones who is a Jane Austen scholar. I decided to ask her about selling drawings and if one had to have a license. As it turned out, she knew quite a bit about it as David White is a personal friend.  On the last day of the P n P Tour, Hazel informed me that she had contacted David. Much to my delight I found that I could sell my work! When I visited The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, I was given the exact same information: the drawings were ‘my artistic interpretations’ of scenes from the miniseries.

Before I left for England in August, I had three drawings finished.  By the time I returned, I was inspired to draw again. Then there was the idea of a calendar in honor of the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. That meant I had to do nine drawings in less than four months if I was to get a calendar out before the first of the year. Well, as you see, that did not happen.  The drawings were done, but I had to get the calendar setup. By the time the printer got them done, it was later than I would have liked, but I had a calendar that I was proud to offer.  I do hope that, as a keepsake or commemorative item, it will still be desired.  Each and every picture was drawn with love as a tribute to Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, and the miniseries.

I also use my drawings to make note cards. Each one has a short quote, pertinent to the scene, on the front, and more of the quote on the back.  The cards are printed on 100% recycled card stock and have square flap envelopes.

Future plans:  The 2005 P&P movie, as well as something from Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.

Thanks again, Mary, for having me. I enjoyed being your guest and talking about my drawings.

To see more of Janet's work, please visit her website.


  1. Wow, that's really amazing that you just happened to meet Hazel Jones who is friends with David White. It's like you were fated to become a PP artist!

    So which is your favorite Sense and Sensibility -- your favorite Colonel Brandon?

    1. I enjoyed both but like the Emma Thompson one best, although I did not think Hugh Grant was quite up to par for his part. Alan Rickman is my favorite Colonel Brandon. Who is your favorite and which one?

      Yes, I thought it was pretty amazing that Hazel knew him. For her to go to the trouble to contact him was awesome. She is a lovely lady and gave us much valuable information about Jane Austen. I could have listened to her for hours.

    2. Loved your blog, Janet! I have the calendar and absolutely love it. Now I want you to branch out to mugs, tiles, journals, mousepads, tee shirts, etc. Anything you can put Darcy's face on sounds good to me!

    3. Thanks, Jan!! Funny you should say that...I received some sample mugs and tiles today. I am pretty excited about them. I love mugs so had to give them a try. The tile was the printer's idea and it was a good one. Loved the samples he made, especially 'The Kiss'! I will have to check out the rest of that list!:)