A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Friday, February 3, 2012
Stephen Axelsen PIO issue 276 Feb 2010
What's this illustration for?
Ode to a Sausage, by Paul Waterhouse - The School Magazine, Touchdown 3, 2002
I loved the opportunity to draw the young Queen Elizabeth by a suburban backyard brick bbq.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
No, no flash necessary. I read the text and make loose pencil lines. The inspiration required is in the text, hopefully. If not, inspiration is comes from the text as I imagine it should have been written.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
Dumb luck. When I was still at uni (social sciences) I earned money house painting. One job was for a publisher of cricket and fishing books who thought he would like to do a children’s book. On the strength of a portfolio of scraps I illustrated a book, without contract or advance. It was never published but I lugged it around to other publishers until Angus and Robertson let me do some Blinky Bills. Never did become a social scientist.
Who or what has influenced your work?
English illustrators. Arthur Rackham then Ronald Searle and later Quentin Blake
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
Pen & ink & watercolour, and more recently Photoshop with the Wacom tablet.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
No, but if I did I’d dig a hole in the garden or build a curvy brick wall.
What’s the worst thing about being a freelancer?
And the best?
Best is working in pyjamas, sometimes all day, and napping at will.
Worst is the absence of benefits and too much time spent alone.
Need more friends and benefits, or friends with benefits.
What are you working on at the moment?
A couple of readers and a Nibble. Nothing big but I’m poking away at some stories of my own.
Where can we see more of your work?
www.stephenaxelsen.net A brand new site is coming any minute now. Ignore the old blue one if it’s still there. Yuk.