Monday, July 20, 2009

Christina Booth

1.. What's this illustration for?

This is for my new picture book, Kip. It is due for release in April through Windy Hollow Books. It is the story of a rooster who upsets his city neighbours by crowing at inconvenient times during the day.

2.. Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?

My head is ‘busy’ most of the time. When I get a manuscript to consider I won’t take it on unless images start to flow the moment I start to read it. For my own stories the words often come first but images start to ‘grow’ not long after I start writing. I like to let the images and ideas grow and mature in my head for a while, tossing around ideas, then I start with large sheets of bond paper and a pencil or ink and rough out images until the right one emerges.

3.. How did you get your start as an illustrator?

I trained as a fine artist, majoring in painting but illustration had always been an interest. I also studied teaching and taught art for a number of years. A familiar path: when I had my first child I immersed myself into picture books again (I loved them as a kid) and decided to have a go. It took 9 years (and the introduction of home computers and the internet) before I had my first ‘gig’. I illustrated a poetry book for Bill Scott (Triple D Books) and then Colin Thiele and Max Fatchen. Picture books were still my passion and goal. I had my own manuscript accepted and that was the beginning. Purinina, A Devil’s Tale was released through Lothian Books in 2007. I have been busy illustrating full time ever since.

4.. Who or what has influenced your work?

I have a number of favourites and many illustrators and artists influence me. I am very inspired by Shaun Tan’s work and also Helen Oxenbury (chalk & cheese I know!!) I love the work of Anton Pieck, a Dutch illustrator and van Gogh and anyone who uses lots of colour and texture.

5.. What's your favourite media for creating pictures?

I have been spoilt by being an art teacher so I have had the opportunity to use many mediums. I change them according to the story I’m illustrating. Water colour is predominant as it is so versatile and can be combined with lots of other mediums such as ink, acrylic, charcoal etc. I do love using water soluble ink pencils and wax crayons for their intensity of colour and texture.

6.. Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?

Not often. Sometimes I worry about getting stuck in a rut, not thinking outside the square so to speak but generally I have to sift through lots of ideas and have to decide which direction to take, this can be difficult if you are indecisive like me!

7.. What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?

Working alone, I like to bounce ideas off people and illustrators are thin on the ground in my part of the world. However, email can help with that. Managing my time can be an issue, especially with a busy family but it can be a blessing also.

8.. And the best?

Being your own boss, being creative, playing and being paid (occasionally!) for it and being in charge of your own schedule (except for those publishers who think wonderful illustrations can appear overnight!).

9.. What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a number of projects but have a manuscript about the Australian Desert that I will begin soon. I have a month working in Adelaide (May Gibbs Residency) in March and will start a major illustrating project about a day in the park while I’m there.

10.. Where can we see more of your work?

I am listed on the style file, and my website can be visited at and of course you can buy my books and see it there!

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