A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
What's this illustration for?
This illustration is for a short story entitled Staring Contest, written by Lyn Stoelwinder that is to be published in The School Magazine - Orbit - #1 2009. The story is about two siblings determined to win a staring contest despite an alien invasion.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
I start by reading the text carefully with an eye for any image that will capture the essence of the story. In particular I look for the story as revealed on that particular page, not the story as a whole. I find the best stories have twists to them and when a story requires two illustrations I love emphasising these surprises in my drawings.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I was very fortunate to have Aart Van Ewijk as my art teacher for a few weeks in high school. He retired soon after I arrived at the school but we remained friends for many years. Aart was an illustrator on The School Magazine and he introduced me to the then editor, Kath Hawk. That was in 1982 and I have contributed illustrations to the magazine ever since.
Who or what has influenced your work?
The art and techniques of animation have influenced the way I illustrate. I was a layout artist with Hanna Barbera for many years animating classics like Scooby Doo and Top Cat. Drawing for eight or ten hours a day for seven years gave me a good understanding of perspective and the importance of capturing movement in drawing. Also, I studied acting for many years and this I suspect has given me the impetus to try and inject some of the intensity, heightened emotion, psychological intrigue, humour and parodox one finds in great drama into my drawings .
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
Currently I'm playing with PhotoShop, but nothing beats a sharp pencil. So I still sketch everything by hand on paper, scan these drawings then play around with the colours in the digital environment.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
I don't really know what illustrator's block is. If it's those times when I feel like making myself a cuppa tea, I experience it once or twice a day but, having said that, these 'blocks' usually only lasts as long as it take to boil water. More often than not I will make the cuppa and return to my work only to become so immediately engrossed in it that I forget to drink the tea!
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
And the best?
What are you working on at the moment?
I currently have three picture book proposal with publishers, so, while I am waiting to hear back from them, I am busy illustrating the latest School Magazine. Also I'm creating a storyboard/animatics for animated television series called Nanoboy and Dogstar and I'm illustrating an article for the Walkley Magazine which is a magazine for, by and about Australian journalists.
Where can we see more of your work?
The Australian National Maritime Museum has a few of my drawings in their collection. I had one of my paintings hung in the Blake Prize 2008 (last year). Creating the cartoons and illustrations for the Fair Dinkum Histories, written by Jackie French, has been a great job over the past few years. You should be able to find these and all the other books I have illustrated in most good libraries. Also I have some drawings on my website; www.petersheehan.com