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 illustration is for an article about Scylla from Greek mythology which is to be published by Macmillan Education. She had a spell placed on her which gave her six heads and grew hounds around her middle, obviously not the best outcome for any young woman. This is a mixed media piece mainly combining collage and acrylics.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
Sometimes there is a flash of inspiration, usually the subject will suggest either a style or technique. With most of the work I do research is the starting point, both for reference and background information. My studio space is literally across the road from the city library so a lot of time is spent looking at reference. I usually like to approach my research fairly laterally as the less direct route can create some interesting possibilities for the illustration.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I had studied printmaking before even considering illustration as a career. I was introduced to illustration by a flatmate and friend of his who were working illustrators. Seeing the work they were producing was pretty inspiring, from there I did a short design/illustration course and went out door knocking with a portfolio. In some senses it was probably my naivety which allowed me to approach people with so little training or experience.
Who or what has influenced your work?
It's bit hard to pin down any one thing that has influenced me. An exhibition of Picasso's reduction linocuts that I saw many years ago has had a lasting influence. Illustration and comic art from Raw magazine by Art Speigelman and Francoise Mouly was also a real eye-opener. Edward Gorey's illustrations for their humour and subversiveness are also great. For the job of being an illustrator one of my tutors Geoff Notman was a great influence and introduced me to the possibilities of illustration as a career.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
My favourite media is still the linocut, something which is only viable with very few jobs. Ink resist is another technique I enjoy which gives a similar effect but is much quicker to produce. With both of these techniques it is the look of the line-work that I love.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Thankfully illustrator's block is something that rarely happens. Looking at books completely away from the subject illustrated can often spark ideas, as can looking at the work of other artists/designers/illustrators/photographers. I have large piles of books and magazines in my studio and I'll sit and read if the ideas aren't coming freely.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
The worst thing about freelancing would be the amount of time you are sometimes given to finish a job. The problem of being at the end of the production line.
And the best?
The best thing is the variety the job offers. No two books or briefs are the same. The huge variety of books I've had to look at for reference over the years means that I'm now great at pub quizzes.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I'm working on some collage illustrations for some school maths books. Although the subject sounds very dry it's been an interesting challenge to produce engaging illustrations for the readers.