Introducing Queenie. She’s a leopard-loving mature lady by freelance illustrator and self-confessed “fashion pervert” Amanda Bailey. Amanda’s work often taking form using “old school” materials such as pen, paper and paints, her cougar creation likes to keep herself feeling anything but old with her toy-boy lover. Long live the Queenie!
How do you usually work?
I use mixed media with all of my work, and love the texture of watercolour as it is really interesting the way it can be manipulated. I like using gouache and acrylic because with the right brushes and ink quills I can create fine details of outfits, and build and layer shades and textures. But the hero of my materials is definitely ink. I only use Photoshop to create coloured back drops or sharpen images if the work needs it, but I’m admittedly very old school and all about the pen, paper and paints. I find it more fun and creative.
What was the inspiration behind Queenie?
There were quite a few influences behind Queenie. I was brought up on the TV programmes Absolutely Fabulous and Birds of a Feather and really wanted to create a tongue-in-cheek ‘hag’. I definitely had Dorean from Birds of a Feather aka ‘The Chigwell Slapper’ (an archetypal Essex girl), and a bit of elderly Eddie from Ab Fab in mind when I researched her. Let’s just say Queenie thinks she’s a mature version of Anna Dello Russo, but she’s most definitely less stylish!
Can you tell us a bit more about her?
Queenie is 84 and she prides herself on the fact she has a toy-boy lover called Jeremy who is 67. She hasn’t eaten much since 1978 (hence her trim figure), so her M&S shop consists of champagne, kale, spinach, sea bass, chicken and tomatoes. She’s a salad girl. She always buys flowers because they make her cottage look nice and Jeremy isn’t romantic like that. Queenie has two exotic shorthairs called Butch and Prince, and she has a small collection of pedigree stoles that have sadly passed.
We see her sporting a leopard shawl. Is the print fashionable or fashion victim?
Oh babes leopard is totes fashionable! Queenie has worn it since the ’70s when it was still legal to buy leopard fur.
What do cats mean to you?
Cats mean a lot to me. They were our family pets as my mum is a definite cat lover. At the least we had two and the most we had six. Any old waif or stray that came to the back door for a nibble and a saucer of milk almost always got adopted! All were moggies and all had their own hilarious quirks and personalities. I prefer dogs but I would love an exotic/British shorthair cross-breed called Pudding one day.
Illustration by Amanda Bailey
Words by Alice Freeman