What's this illustration for?
This illustration is I guess for my son Oscar- because the boy in it looks a bit like him(or looked like him-he’s grown a bit in 6 months- but also Oscar doesn't have the hat- has a red winter sleeping bag thing that’s a bit like the wizardy coat he has there in the picture). It was during one of those periods where I try to generate a lot of ideas and base drawings/thumbnails for images.
It’s yet to be coloured, but I quite like it as black and white.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
I find if I starve my brain of distraction, it starts generating ideas (because it then has to generate its own entertainment).
For me growing things from the idea is crucial. Generally if I plan to do my own work /ideas- I'll spend a half day looking at art books and reference books, anatomy- basically art cramming trying to memorize/remind myself of all the details to pay attention to when i draw a particular thing (mind you I don't know what at this stage so I try to cover anything that interests me). Then I put everything away and start. Often putting on evocative music is good at the start to get fired up.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I'm pretty much self taught. (I grew up in Townsville where a coconut with a sunset painted on it was regarded as art.)
I was given a book when I was 6 called "The Complete book of Drawing and Painting" by Hugh Laidman-that guy could really draw and looking at it now I can see how the drawing in that one book affected me (even to my taste in women I suspect). I suppose other childhood influences would be Asterix, Richard Scarry, Brian Wildsmith and Ronald Searle, Jules Feiffer- but I'm not sure how much of that manifests itself.
Who or what has influenced your work?
In terms of artists I admire there are many, including the usual ones you might suspect (Klimt,Schiele, Ingres, Mucha, Singer Sargent, Rackham, Rockwell) but also slightly more modern people like Yoshitaka Amano, Brom ,Katsuya Terada and Juan Gimenez for example. I also quite like Shaun Tan and Ashley wood as Australian creative role models, and James Jean as a foreign one.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
For ideas a pencil or a ballpoint is fine. I tend to use my Cintiq tablet and photoshop. Initially when I bought the Cintiq I stopped drawing with pencil because I couldn't bear the thought of an expensive piece of equipment lying idle,- that’s worn off now and I'm back using a ballpoint pen of all things (when not doing 'work' work )
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Actually I find certain restrictions/limitations imposed force you to think creatively to find a solution, and help you narrow the solution space as it were. The problem tends to be more how to stage it or fit it on a page.
Bike riding is good because of the stimulation of exercise and the lack of mental stimulation- so your mind can wander (except of course those bits where trying not to be killed by traffic has your attention.)
I've cut and pasted some notes to myself at the end (originally for a talk).
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
Isolation, plus I've recently found that illustration is not actually regarded as art but as a trade - like a plumber or a house painter, except clearly there is a financial and work hours gulf between the illustration 'trade' and the plumbers.
I guess for me after years for working "for the man" it’s a slower than expected process of finding out where myself and my work ought to be.
And the best?
At this early stage,- being at home to see my kids first years- I know now that I missed quite a bit of the first year and a half of our first child when I was working in computer games. Creatively and long term art career wise I think it’s the only way to go.
What are you working on at the moment?
Primarily on a series called "Little Mates" for Scholastic, (but also some personal projects, and refurbishing my website and blog, working on t-shirts....the list goes on. On the "to do list" was a plan of entering the Waterhouse prize this year and using work for that for a book on Australian Dinosaurs...we'll see).
I'm currently looking for new projects and work though.
Where can we see more of your work?
I'm listed on the Style File and Illustrators Australia, and the American SCWBI (but not on the Australian).
My blog, which is fairly frequently updated http://lach-land.blogspot.com/
and website http://lach-land.com/ (which currently needs updating)