Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bettina Guthridge PIO issue 282 March 2010

What’s this illustration for?

A book I illustrated written by Ogden Nash.

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

I always start feeling terribly excited by the possibilities of a new project. The first scribbles are always the best as they are full of energy and enthusiasm and I am working in “flow” of the moment… I get the essence of it all down and then I prefer to leave it to settle and come back and see it afresh. That’s when the hard work starts, fine tuning the scribbles, developing the main characters, setting the scene and keeping the initial energy going.

How did you get your start as an illustrator?

By chance. I had just returned from 9 years in Italy, had young children, wondering what to do work wise, when a musician friend, seeing some of my drawings suggested I send some work to the ABC as they were looking for someone to illustrate their songbook. The minute I started to work on the initial pictures, I realised this was the work I loved and have been illustrating ever since. Also written a series of 6 books which was a great challenge.

Who or what has influenced your work?

I grew up watching my father draw his political cartoons for “The Bulletin” at the dining table (his studio) All he had was a drawing board, a bottle of indian ink, some paint, a rubber and a few brushes and  was a freelancer back in the 50’s, managing to support a family. Watching him at work, I thought that drawing was such a ‘magical process’ and still do.

My most favourite of favourites is Quentin Blake. I am always astounded and inspired by the brevity, energy and humour of his line. Inspiring others include Tony Ross, Lisbeth Zwerger, Charlotte Voake, Matisse, and Raoul Dufy.

What’s your favourite media for creating pictures?

I work fast once I am happy with my roughs, so pen and watercolour inks are usually my preference. I am currently working on illustrations in gouache for a picture book I have written, and also learning Photoshop and Painter.

Do you experience Illustrator’s block-if so, what do you do about it?

Wonder what other profession I can take up… medicine, law, a donut van franchise, then I make coffee, do some gardening, plan an exotic holiday on the internet, read the paper –ANYTHING- but look at the white  sheet of paper on my desk.
When all avenues are exhausted I return to my desk and start work!

What’s the worst thing about being a freelancer?

Perhaps the isolation which you feel when you are not busy.

And the best?

The freedom of working for your self in a wonderful creative area, plus no traffic jams or office parties to contend with.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a series of books with Margaret Clark and writing and illustrating a personal project.

Where can we see more of your work?

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