A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
1. What’s this illustration for?
This is an image taken from the picture book The Robot’s Pet by Nigel Gray which was released last year by Koala Books. It’s a quirky tale of friendship and belonging. I had fun developing the main character especially.
2. Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration –how do you start?
Flashes of inspiration often come along in the middle of the night laying in bed pondering. I usually have a few ideas for stories in my head and just need the time to lay them down like a storyboard, that’s the really hard bit for me and takes ages usually. If I’m illustrating someone else’s text then I usually have to read and re-read the words a few times over until I get a handle on the visual direction I want to take.
3. How did you get your started as an illustrator?
After I finished a Graphics course in the early 80s I hauled my portfolio round to countless agencies, magazines and publishers. No-one was willing to give me a job but I think Penguin was the first to commission me for a cover. Other freelance work followed and before I knew it I had a career going. After three years of working fairly consistently here in Melbourne I moved to London, where I stayed for nearly twenty years.
4. Who or what has influenced your work?
I get influenced by my childhood an awful lot. Old episodes of Bewitched, Japanese tin toys, 60’s racing cars, Hanna Barbera cartoons and growing up in suburban Melbourne. Also things my daughter says and does are hugely influential in my work...my first book was all about her.
5. What’s your favourite Media for creating pictures?
I have worked digitally for the last eight years or so. I love my Wacom Tablet and Photoshop. Before that I had many mediums-scraperboard, gouache, oils, coloured pencil. One day I plan to go back to painting-famous last words.
6. Do you experience illustrator’s block-if so what do you do about it?
Yes, sometimes. If I have a pressing deadline then I just knuckle down and hope for the best....otherwise I go for a run, surf the net, read a book or tear my hair out and scream.
7. What’s the worst thing about being a freelancer?
The constant threat of poverty.
8. And the best?
Being your own boss. Setting goals and making a living doing something you love.
9. What are you working on at the moment?
I have three editorial/publishing commissions to get done this week. I’ve just finished illustrating a book by Lee Fox for Allen And Unwin. I have a couple of ideas for new books that I’m developing and need to get cracking on and also a pretty exciting project that’s been on the back burner for what seems like for ever.