A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
What's this illustration for?
This is from my book Out of the Egg published by Houghton Mifflin in the USA and Walker Books in Australia and NZ. It's the most important page in the book where the little chick comes out of the egg and, just in time, controls her mother's mean impulses and saves the day!
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
I usually come across an idea in my head or my life which I roll around and loosely attach words to. Then I sketch the story in 32 pages and see how much of it can be told in pictures. When the pictures are doing as much of the telling as possible, I work the words more until they seem to me to read just right.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I have worked mainly as a designer and puppet maker until now and my start as an illustrator coincides with the publication of my first picture book.
Who or what has influenced your work?
My deepest and most subconscious influences are probably the picture books I was read as a child-- books like Millions of Cats, The Little House, Make Way for Ducklings, Angus and Wagtail Bess, Curious George, This is New York, Madeleine, Barbar and of course Tintin. But more recently I have loved and looked hard at the work of wonderful prints makers like Clare Leighton and Gwen Raverat and at Durer too. Banksy's street stencil art is another great source of inspiration.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
I really enjoy the graphic qualities and textures of wood block printing and I love stenciling and collage too. I find pencil drawing is essential for planning books and giving characters life and pen and ink reminds me of so many great children’s book illustrators I can't help trying my hand at it now and then.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Not really, but I think it helps to be illustrating your own words and ideas rather than someone else’s.