A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Friday, February 3, 2012
Rebecca Wheeler PIO issue 266 Nov 2009
What's this illustration for?
This illustration is for a children’s book Im working on. It’s just a brainstorming illustration at this stage. I find I write better stories once I’ve played with the characters a bit through illustrations such as this one. The story isn't complete yet.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
I normally get ideas for illustrations when I'm half way through a sculpture, or inspiration for a sculpture when Im half way through a painting. I also tend to get inspiration for illustrations/ sculpture and paintings when its 2am in the morning and I am trying to sleep. I sleep with a journal next to my bed now. My studio has space for making, drawing, painting, sewing and illustrating, so I can move between projects easily.
I start an illustration normally with words. For this illustration I wrote down things like "look at the textures in nature", "use crazy almost clashing colours", "lots of stuff going on", "monster playground", "slide, skate, swing" etc. Then I will scribble down ideas for characters and poses, often looking at pictures of animals as starting points for character designs......but sometimes I'll get a character design from the shape of a puddle or a mark on the windscreen.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I have always been drawn to illustration and animation. Well past when I should have grown out of reading children’s books I was still hiring them from the library. Same with kid’s animations, I still hire them from the video store. At art school illustration was pooh, poohed as a lesser form of creativity, so I never showed anyone my character designs or children’s book ideas. Then after a break from art school I found an illustration course at NMIT in Melbourne. I felt like I "came out of the closet" as a secret illustrator and got exposure to many illustrators, learnt techniques and generally got a lot of creative support.
Who or what has influenced your work?
So many things have influenced my work. I recently found a box of old toys I had from when I was a kid. A lot of them were from Europe and made from painted wood. I looked at the colours of them and realised my colour palette is almost identical. I must have subconsciously been influenced by the toys I had when growing up.
As far as naming artists:
Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak, Sauerkids, Jon Pylypchuk, Marc Boutavant to name a few.
Australian illustrator such as Leigh Hobbs, Marc Mcbride, Dean Gorissen, Ned Culic, Shaun Tan and Neil Curtis have inspired me.....not so much stylistically, but to see established illustrators continually developing and progressing in their careers has influenced me to "keep on truckin".
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
I like digital mediums when working on character designs. I like acrylic paint on wood for certain effects. I like oils when I have the time to watch them dry. I also like pen and ink on occasion.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
I don’t experience illustrators block (touch wood). I do sometimes need a break from one project and so I'll work on another. I guess that’s why I have so many projects on the go.
Sometimes if Im on a roll with one project and I have to stop (for one reason or another) I can find it hard to get back in the groove, but there’s nothing a cup of tea can’t fix.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
It can be hard to plan ahead. It will be when you are about to go on holiday that a big job will come in.
And the best?
Not being stuck in peek hour traffic.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am developing a series of children’s books that I am looking to get published. I am looking at studying animation and basic robotics in 2010 and I am working on hand making wooden pepper grinders (an ongoing series of work called Totally Totem)
Where can we see more of your work?