A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Sunday, March 1, 2009
1.. What's this illustration for?
This illustration was done as an entry for the Waterhouse Natural History Art prize - www.thewaterhouse.com.au - an annual competition hosted by the South Australian Museum. Ther winners were announced on August first and it was highly commended. It is about 100x 85cms.
2.. Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
No problems with inspiration - the problem is finding the time to execute all the ideas I have - never enough hours in each day! In this case I had been a finalist for the last two years with lino prints, and this year decided to use the technique that I have used for illustrating many of my books. In my latest picture book The Most Beautiful Lantern one double page spread had a jungle scene, which led indirectly to a twin commission for the Singapore Zoo and Singapore Night Safari. The large illustration for the Zoo has been used as a mural in the Zoo shop, on buses, bags, cups and many other items of merchandising. When I was thinking about what to do for the Waterhouse this year I decided to do an Australian version of that.
3.. How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I did a Bachelor of Design majoring in illustration at SA Uni, and have been working as a freelance illustrator ever since, although now spend about half my time writing and half illustrating.
4.. Who or what has influenced your work?
Many many influences – so many wonderful illustrators – Wayne Anderson, Maurice Sendak, Ron Brooks particularly when I was starting out. My time traveling and living in India and South-East Asia has been a huge influence on the directions that both my life and work has taken.
5.. What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
This illustration was done using watercolour with graphite pencil over the top. It’s time consuming and drives me crazy at times but I love it. The best bit is when I’m doing the shading and the three dimensional images begin to emerge out of the flat paper – that’s always a bit exciting. I also work with lino prints – I love the process of carving especially, and in pen and ink with watercolour.
6.. Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
It is always a little difficult starting off a new big project, and I usually spend at least a day procrastinating, but eventually just have to force myself to sit and start drawing. I have big blank sheets of paper in front of me and start of by doodling until my ideas start taking shape. Once I’ve begun, I tend to get quite obsessive, and often have to be physically dragged away from my desk.
7.. What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
Definitely the irregularity of income – I sometimes fantasize about a weekly pay cheque.
8.. And the best?
Spending my days doing what I love. There are some days when I am so immersed in what I am doing that time seems to simply evaporate – the kids are home from school and I have had no sense of the day passing.
9.. What are you working on at the moment?
The next in a series of information/activity books that I have done for Curriculum Corporation, Key Into India, which is exciting and making me want to go there again, my third novel, and a series of greeting cards – (and a few other things)