A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Friday, February 3, 2012
Doris Unger PIO issue 268 Nov 2009
What's this illustration for?
For myself, to keep myself sane.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
For my own work yes, but often I have to work at it! If it is a commission I go to the library and surround myself with related research and inspirational images, that often does the trick. The painting/illustration above is entitled 'Plastic Python' which is part of a series of works inspired by a friend who had an exotic belly dancing act complete with a live python, and my adventures as a cleaner. Sometimes I get all these ideas for pictures as I vacuum or wash the dishes or something very ordinary like clearing my desk.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I've been drawing and colouring in since I was in kindy and have continued ever since. My very first chance to get into print was when I worked on a community newspaper in the 80's and I got to do a regular cartoon called 'Pinkie the Bandicoot.' I did printmaking at Art School which got me on to posters, then exhibited my own paintings and now I am focused on books and illustrated narratives. Who or what has influenced your work?
My mum got me started by keeping me well supplied with art materials when I was a kid. Many things have influenced my work, life around me, other artists work like George Herriman's cartoon strip 'Krazy Kat' greatly impressed me, I love the surreal design and quirky poetry. Elizabeth Zwerger and her beautiful water colours are also inspirational, medieval illuminated manuscripts, also film animation and books of course. I am also inspired by word play/ puns.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
Can't beat lead pencil and paper, ink outline with water colour and gouache, and perhaps a little digital tweaking. I also paint with oils on linen but haven't done that much of late.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Yes. Watch a film or go for a walk. Doodling around with ideas and a pencil in hand always helps. Sweep the floor. Clear my desk.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
Spending ages on a quote and then not getting the job, or massively under quoting.
And the best?
Realising the job you quoted and didn't get wasn't really your cup of tea and allowed you to get the job of your dreams.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on illustrating 2 stories of my own which I have also written. I have discovered just how hard it is to do both and have developed a new admiration for those who succeed.