Friday, February 3, 2012

Deb Gilmartin PIO issue 271 Dec 2009

What's this illustration for? 

This illustration (Neighbours) was both for myself and formed part of an exhibition called Feline Groovy. Illustrations done in this style are what I call "The Wonkies". The Wonkies are paintings that hopefully get the viewer to make up their own story about them. Each "English" based Wonkie features cats or the reference to them, they are always set at night and you never see a human being in them. Neighbours came about as a comment on the fact that these days we all keep in touch via the media but we are really on our own cold little islands. So who do we really know?

Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start? 

I usually like to start with a weird idea that just pops into my head. Sometimes they start as a simple idea of putting an ice-cream van in a street scene and then the van takes on a life of its own. I draw lots of possible scenes and the ones that connect with something inside of me just start to grow. I also find that I play around with the composition in a thumbnail. Then, if I am on the right track, it all starts to fall into place. My enjoyment of the sense of the slightly absurd (English upbringing) and also the slightly sinister side of life appeals to me when I am working on a Wonkie.

How did you get your start as an illustrator?

I was the artist in residence for Australian Aerospace based at Oakey in Qld in 2006/07. While there my job was to record and document (in the form of a visual diary) the introduction of the new Tiger Armed Reconnaissance helicopter. This resulted in an exhibition called Tigers, Rotors & Blokes. Some of this work was displayed at the 2007 Avalon Air show and while there I met the Editor of Contact Magazine, a military magazine. This resulted in some of my work from the helicopters being published. Other work that I had done on the Lighthorse was used to illustrate an article on the Lighthorse Charge at Beersheba. So far, that is all the work I have had published but I am looking for the opportunity to illustrate a children’s book as this is really where my heart lies.

Who or what has influenced your work? 

Many, Graham Oakley, Shaun Tan, Christopher Wormell, Alexis Deacon, Quentin Blake, Charles Keeping too many to name.

What's your favourite media for creating pictures? 

Depends upon the style. I will use all media except for textiles & oils.

Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it? 

Yes I do. I keep working even if its a rubbish picture or painting. A good friend suggested that I just try and work through the process even if the results are bad and eventually the block seems to go away. Another trick I use is to go for a long walk and do something completely different like chat with my cats. They usually tell me what to do.

What's the worst thing about being a freelancer? 

Trying to get work

And the best? 

As I am very new to this I can't really say but being published was so very exciting, like selling your first painting. Being able to let my imagination fly.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I am working on a wonkie picture book that involves a cat and a long and dangerous journey through the night.

Where can we see more of your work? 

You can see more of my work at

No comments: