Wednesday, July 3, 2013

John Petropoulos PIO issue 304 August 2010

What's this  illustration for?

This is the cover image and text for “Plato”. I’ve included this because I am really quite pleased with the energy, movement and colours, and of course because I am very very proud of my daughter Cassandra’s contribution of hand written type. Plato here has a childlike quality, an exhuberance that really appeals to me, making this one of my favourite illustrations in the book.

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

To an extent. I find that whilst waiting for inspiration, it really helps to sketch. Plato and
Zanzibar evolved through several sketchbooks and scraps of paper. The inspiration element kicks in when you stand back and survey these, and it suddenly comes together. No amount of just sitting and thinking will get you there. I find I need to “think” with my hand.

How did you get your start as an  illustrator?  

I used to co-write and co0illustrate a comic strip in the student newspaper at uni with a very good friend called Mark Sexton. After graduation, we continued publishing the series as “Bug & Stump”, which ran for nine issues. Illustration work began to appear as a direct result of this. As for illustrating as such, I can’t remember not drawing. I have always been a scribbler.

Who or what has influenced your  work?  

I’ve a comic history, so needless to say that the entire genre has influenced my style. This is by means the only influence. Children’s book illustrators as diverse as Maurice Sendak, Shelagh McNicholas, Kerry Argent have all made an impression on me.

What's your  favourite media for creating pictures?  

I’m a mixed media kinda guy. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer during the day (full time graphic designer) and as such am very comfortable with Photoshop. In terms of actual real world drawing, I’m most at home with pencils.

Do you  experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?  

Ooooohh yes! It’s horrible! There are times when nothing works, no ideas come, and days when every line is wrong, and I just can’t draw anything! When this happens, I’ll step away for a bit, maybe read a book or take  my girls to the park or do some other work. But I’ll return and persevere, and usually my hand and brain start talking to each other again.

What's the  worst thing about being a freelancer?  

Deadlines are usually very tight. I’m often up at
4am working on an illustration, and unfortunately at that time of night everything takes twice as long. That and doing business stuff like invoicing and bill collecting (blech!).

And the  best?  

I draw and get paid for it! How cool is that?

What are you  working on at the moment?  

I’m fleshing out a children’s book concept which I hope to take to a publisher. It’s based on a bedtime story I made up on the spot for my daughters. I’d rather not go into too much detail, except to say that my girls got a real kick out of it.
Where can we  see more of your work?

I’m a member of Illustrators Australia and my profile includes some of my work . In the real world out there, I have recently done the design and illustration for the Antipodes Festival (Londsdale St Festival, Melbourne).

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