A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Thursday, January 15, 2009
What's this illustration for?
This illustration was for a friend of mind who requested I draw her mother’s sixteen-year-old cat that had passed away last year. Capturing the personality of such a close family member certainly put the pressure on. I understand her mother was very please with the result.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
Sometimes if I have an idea or subject I would like to work on I think about it for a while, forming it slowly in my mind. Then when I’m ready to start I’ll have a good idea of what I want and trying to achieve. Flashes of inspiration can come at this time and ideas can grow as you work on them.
On other occasions if someone has an idea of what they want I’ll try my best to deliver it. I’ll complete some basic layouts first and then start creating. The above illustration started by looking at a series of photos and then choosing the best angle and mood. I don’t think about colour much until I’m in the thick of it.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
Just started to draw subjects I was interested in when I was young, experimenting with lines and shapes. I got into a lot of trouble at high school for drawing instead of focussing on my work. I left it for a long time and over the last couple of years focussed on building my skills again and a portfolio. I’m very pleased I started again.
Who or what has influenced your work?
There are so many things in this world that have influenced me, nature, people, different ideas about life and especially other artwork. I particularly go to other exhibitions and see what other artists are doing. I also keep up to date with the latest art magazines and book displaying different techniques. Understanding how other artists have approached a particular subject and what they used to create their piece.
If I had to say one person in the last couple of years who has influenced me I would have to say Shaun Tan, a genius on so many levels. If you illustrate, paint, or write, you would not do yourself a disservice by looking up his work.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
A trusty HB and water colour pencils. I’m experimenting with paints at the moment but I like the detail and control of a sharp pencil. I also use quality water colour paper.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Yes I do. I wash dishes, iron, sweep the leaves, and generally avoid my workspace. That said, I just start and before I know it I am in the zone and the hours fly by. I don’t know if this works for everyone but I have music playing the background, it tends to keep one part of my brain busy while the other works.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
The worst thing for me would be not reaching a client’s expectations and at the same time a certain personal quality of work I like to achieve in myself.
And the best?
It challenges me and forces me to do better. Also, the feeling I get when other people are please by my work. Like most artists I want my work to touch people in some way.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m keeping myself busy with some personal projects at the moment but always willing to look at new subjects and ideas.