Friday, February 3, 2012

Nina Rycroft PIO issue 272 Dec 2009

What's this illustration for?

This is the Zebra illustrations for my latest book BALLROOM BONANZA, released in October. BALLROOM BONANZA is an animal alphabet, hunt-and-find picture book, depicting animals competing at Blackpool’s Ballroom Dance festival. The story celebrates my families musical Blackpool heritage, as my children’s great grandfather was the legendary Tommy Jones, bandmaster and musician at Blackpool’s Empress and Tower Ballroom from 1947 until 1978.  

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

When I read a story that I connect with, images immediately flow; my problem is getting these images down on paper in whatever way I can, as quickly as I can. The first few weeks working on any book is always unsettling because of this transition from thought to form.  

How did you get your start as an illustrator?

I came up with an idea for a story and relentlessly knocked on doors until someone answered.  

Who or what has influenced your work?

The underlying characteristic of my illustration work is gesture. I am inspired by illustrators who can playfully capture honest emotional expression using character interaction; Shirley Hughes, Jill Barton, Emily Gravett, Helen Oxenbury  

What's your favourite media for creating pictures?

A simple led pencil. I enjoy the months of playing and creating before I have to tackle the final artwork with (hopefully) the same amount of ease and playfulness.  

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

Rarely, But if I do, I like to give myself (and the illustration) time to work things out. I usually slip myself back into everyday life; walking the dog, shopping, cleaning, picking up kids from school, I usually get that flash of well needed inspiration when I least expect it...never underestimate cleaning the loo!  

What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?

The isolation.  

And the best?

The isolation.  

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m smack bang in the middle of two books. I’ve just finished illustrating Margret Wild’s NO MORE KISSES (Little Hare) and I’m about to start work on NOW I’M BIGGER (Working Title Press). NOW I’M BIGGER is sitting, face down next to me, I was hoping for a few days off...but I can’t resist, I think I’m just going to have to brace myself for the few unsettled weeks that lie ahead.  

Where can we see more of your work?

My website To view my BALLROOM BONANZA interview To view BALLROOM BONANZA front cover illustration demo

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