A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Friday, February 3, 2012
Rosalie Street PIO issue 270 Dec 2009
What's this illustration for?
This is one of my favourite illustrations; I did it almost a decade ago when I was starting out. It gained a lot of positive feedback, which gave me the confidence to start creating my own children’s picture book. I produced lots of shadow pictures but kept hitting a brick wall with the story line and words. I got frustrated and put it aside, life has kept me preoccupied the past five years and I never got back to it. I dug out my Shadow folder the other day, it’s back on the boil and the ideas are brewing. I hope to finish it soon as it’s been waiting in the shadows for too long.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration – how do you start?
If it’s a personal project I need that initial flash of inspiration to plant the seed.
If it’s a commissioned job I begin by brainstorming and researching. I collect as many relevant images as I can find. I always make scrapbooks, take photo’s and sketch, and Google the internet for reference material. If you surround yourself with inspiration you will be inspired.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I started out studying fashion and theatre design, and costume illustration was my best subject.
Once I made the decision to become a professional illustrator I began building up my folio and getting as much feedback as I could. I think I will be forever building on my folio and experimenting in my search for an ideal individual style.
Who or what has influenced your work?
When I was a small child I loved the works of Beatrix Potter, Dr Suess, E.H. Shepard, Quentin Blake, Dick Bruna and Jan Pienkowski; and my favourite story was ‘Little Black Sambo’.
Presently I adore the works of Ana Juan, Shaun Tan, Ron Brooks, Armin Greder, Lisbeth Zwerger, Chris Riddle and Amanda Upton. My mentor has been Ann James.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
When I’m working on the rough I draw on paper, then I scan the rough into Photoshop where I can play around with it. I have a nice big Wacom tablet to draw with, it’s so much faster than redrawing and rubbing out on paper, and you don’t end up with a bin full of wasted paper.
Once I am satisfied with the rough I print it out, put it on the light box and trace it.
For the final illustration I tend to use acrylic paint and aquarelle pencil on Arches smooth 300g water colour paper. Many of my illustrations are touched up or completed in Photoshop.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Usually if I get artists block it’s because I’m tired or stressed, or I haven’t given my mind enough breathing space.
To unblock I take the dog for a walk or go for a swim.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
I think you need to be incredibly motivated and self disciplined to be a successful freelancer.
Working from home can be distracting. I am forever cleaning the house before I commence work. My husband reminds me to take time off, otherwise I just sneak in and work every chance I get and the weeks blur into one.
And the best?
I like the freedom of working from home. I can put my family first and keep life well balanced. What I do for work is also what I enjoy doing in my spare time; it’s not a job I will ever retire from and often it doesn’t feel like work at all.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve written a children’s picture book based on the Black Saturday bush fires, and it’s almost ready to send off to a publisher (fingers crossed).
I also have a deadline looming for Copeland Publishing: Melbourne’s Child Magazine.