What's this illustration for?
This illustration is for my latest picture book ‘Wendy’ which came out last September with Penguin
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
I wish I had the time to wait for inspiration to happen. Do people actually do this??? Is it always ‘flash’ like in appearance or can it come along just sort of lumpy? These days, I just have to get on with it and hope that the ideas keep coming. I find I work better under pressure for some reason, even though this isn’t always an enjoyable experience.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I started out as a Cartoonist around 15 years ago but moved across to children’s books when the cartooning market dried up somewhat after the recession. I illustrated my first book in 1996 and realised, very quickly, that this was where I wanted to be.
Who or what has influenced your work?
Geez, so many people. Illustrators like Jean-Jacques Sempe, Sara Fanelli, Oliver Jeffers, Eric Carle, Arthur Rackham, Kevin Waldron, Neal Layton, Delphine Durand and Quentin Blake. Cartoonists George Booth, William Steig, Bill Watterson and Charles Adams. Writers like Roald Dahl, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jon Scieska & John Yeoman. I tend to be drawn to line-work and nonsensical, humourous folk.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
Probably watercolour but I’m always playing around with whatever’s lying about the place – crayons, charcoal, colour pencils, acrylics, cardboard. I love collage and spend a good deal of time collecting interesting papers and textures.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Yes, I do. Coffee helps. So does moving water. If I have time I walk down to the beach or jump in the shower. The shower is the best place to come up with ideas. Consequently, they are normally long showers. I really ought to get a scuba diving pad and pencil.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
Not having the quality time to spend on your own projects whether it’s writing, drawing or painting.
And the best?
Getting lost in a book or the process. The best days are when it’s all clicking and you have no idea what time it is. Solving creative problems can be enormously satisfying too.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished ‘My Aussie Dad’ by Yvonne Morrison, a picture book for Scholastic. Just sent off the roughs for ‘Haggis McGregor and the Night of the Skull Moon by Jen Storer for Penguin. Working on a book with James Roy for UQP and writing the framework for a book series for Penguin. My next picture book is coming along somewhere in there too! Not sure where exactly.
Where can we see more of your work?
My website has been slowly forming over here: http://www.gusgordon.com/