A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
What's this illustration for?
This was a book cover illustration exercise using the much loved story ‘Old Pig’ (written by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ron Brooks and published by Allen & Unwin 1995). I absolutely love this book. In one image I wanted to capture the poignancy of the story, the tender relationship between Old Pig and Granddaughter, as well as symbolically hint at Old Pig’s impending departure from the world.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
I jot down words and images that immediately come to me on first reading of a text. Then I work, work, work until I feel I get to the essence of the subject. Self-initiated projects require a longer ‘brewing’ process. I keep a note book for ideas and images that interest me (things that I see, dream or imagine), and after some time I’ll revisit the book and look for connections – either obvious or intuitive - between ideas.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I worked for five years in the art room of The Newcastle Herald producing illustrations and other editorial graphics. I also trained in printmaking at uni and I’ve been a practising fine artist for many years and I think this has been invaluable learning.
Who or what has influenced your work?
I’m influenced by everything I see really. I love so many illustrators – Shaun Tan, Ann James, Kerrie Argent, Kim Gamble, Ron Brooks, I’m initially drawn to beautiful draughtsmanship, but it’s the artists’ ability to capture the emotional bones of a story that is most important.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
Probably watercolour and pencil. Lithographic crayon is nice too for B&W work. I trained in lithography at Uni and the love of this medium has never left me. Having said that I like turning my hand to any media - I’m starting to create images in Adobe Illustrator.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Yes! When I was a carefree artist and musician I would swap between art forms and projects – that really worked. Now I’m a busy parent, I swap between picture making and cleaning yoghurt off the floor! The principle is the same – I do something else and let ideas ‘brew’ in the back of my mind.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
Unpredictable work flow.
And the best?
Doing what I love. In pyjamas.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on an illustration of a stockman for an educational publisher.