Illustrator and author of books for young children with a genius for simple storytelling
We became good friends in Cambridge and she was a regular visitor to Homerton College, where I worked. Her art work was part of the popular exhibition Picturebook Art at the Millennium at the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2000.
Jan's inspiration was her children and she was a keen observer of their antics. She talked about her books as "a celebration and savouring of the positive experience of parenthood". I was privileged to visit her studio regularly while she was creating a delightful version of The Frog Prince, published in 1991, and I could see how Sophie was the model for the princess and Laura for her little sister. Jan's books were always very physical and in this case celebrated her passion for dance. Her house was full of the children's drawings, as well as Jan's own work in progress, and there was usually a cat somewhere around. There is often a cat watching what's going on in the background of her books and I remember how much she relished working on Kitten Day (1989).
Jan was a most attractive woman with a strong sense of fashion. Although a listener and naturally quiet, she could be the life and soul of the party. She was generous, funny and had irrepressible energy. She was a restless spirit and moved house frequently in the years when I knew her. A good cook, she loved entertaining friends and family.
• Jan Louise Ormerod, illustrator and author, born 23 November 1946; died 23 January 2013