Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Glen Singleton PIO issue 472 Jan 2014

Please describe your chosen illustration

This illustration was from Father Koala’s Fables I illustrated way back in the 90’s. The second book in the series of Father Koala picture books I illustrated for Scholastic Australia..This illustration has always been one of my favourites. Old Father Koala (written by Kel Richards) tells his selection of rhymes ,fairy tales and fables throughout the series.

~What medium did you use?

I used pen and ink and watercolour

~How long did it take?

It’s a bit of a way back now.  But it would have taken 2-3 hours to pencil (After having done the thumbnail roughs for the whole book first)… another 2 or 3 to ink in...then 2 or 3 days to colour.

~What is it for?

The opening page for Father Koala’s Fables (Scholastic)

When did you know you had a talent for illustration? ~How old were you?

Probably in my teens. Though I could always draw from a young age. I used to spend lots of time on weekends drawing and hammering away at things with an old Rapidiograph pen my Dad gave me ,labouring to get things just right. (still do) Lots of cross hatching . Not sure why I chose such a laborious technique to try mastering at the time. I think I had seen some old etchings somewhere in a book perhaps…and I had the pens and Indian ink to do it with.. I recall having a fascination for drawing complicated elaborate contraptions and cars and hot rods for years and persisted until I got the wheels in the right perspective and all of the ellipses correct. It enabled me to cheat the freehand curves without plotting them in Geometrical Drawing and Perspective at High School!   I had drawing pads full of intricate pen and ink drawings that I still have buried away somewhere.

~How did you know? Did someone encourage you?

My parents always encouraged me to draw …as both of my parents were artistic in lots of ways. My Dad especially always used his pretty vivid imagination to embellish the Beatrix Potter stories we had as kids I remember. Like the Tales of Peter Rabbit.. Perhaps this is why most of the animals I draw wear clothes!. I don’t seem to have the slightest problem tossing a shirt and pair of long pants on a koala….with a hat for good measure. He used to draw me lots of things in little notebooks expanding on the stories he’d read.. But do remember asking him could he draw me something…and  him saying on lots of occasions to try drawing it myself…Maybe he just didn’t feel like drawing at the time…or perhaps he just wanted me to learn to draw. Suppose all that practice paid off.

Have you ever studied your craft at an institution of any sort?

I only made up my mind to enrol at Queensland College of Art in the last few days of Grade 12 at High School in 1976.  I studied Animation and Illustration there from 1977-1979 graduating with a Diploma of Art (Vis. Com). That cartoon drawing carried across into the picture books I’ve illustrated.

~How long was the course?

Three years –from 1977 -1979

~How affordable was the course?

Back in the Stone Age the course was basically free apart from your art materials, your lunch …and a $30 office admin fee.

~Would you recommend it to upcoming artists/illustrators?

If the course was still around …and for free I think everyone would enrol!

~Do you run courses or workshops yourself?


What computer programmes do you use?

~Can you recommend any?

Most of my illustrations are still  hand drawn but occasionally use PhotoShop to fiddle with and adjust or drop in mechanical colour etc. But other than scanning and emailing artwork…it’s all ‘non-digital’ for me. It still works just fine!

Have you illustrated any books?

~How many books?

A few.

THE GOLDEN KANGAROO- Garrison Valentine/ John Williamson
CINDY ELLA- Tom Champion
SANTA KOALA- Colin Buchanan
1001 COOL JOKES (Series) Freaky Facts- Magic- Science Experiments- –Hinkler Books
ALL ABOARD THE NUTMOBILE- Macadamia House –Em Horsfield
THE HARVEST RACE- Macadamia House –Em Horsfield
SANTA’S MAGIC BEARD- Macadamia House-Em Horsfield

~Do you have a favourite?

I like them all. But THE LAMINGTON MAN (Scholastic) always stands out. I love the cover.

~How are you usually commissioned? What is the process?

The editor from the publishers contacts me to ask if I would be interested in illustrating  a new book. Then they send the manuscript by email to read over and have a think about it.

~Do you have contact with the authors?

Some of them. John Williamson ..Nigel Gray and Tom Champion. All on Facebook these days mainly. But some I’ve never met (or even spoken to.) But then…I’ve never met any of the editors either. They are just voices on a phone.

~On average, how long does a picture book take to illustrate?

8 to 10 weeks or so roughly.So waay longer than what it’s worth to draw.

~Is it difficult working to deadlines?

Deadlines aren’t a real worry. It’s more trying to get it all done in a little time as possible. Always trying to draw them up to a standard…Not down to a price.

~Does it interfere with your creativity?

No..Not really. I used to draw a lot of illustrations for advertising agencies back when illustration was popular… so got used to drawing it..fast. They always wanted everything yesterday.

Who is your favourite Australian children’s book illustrator and why?

I like Kerry Argent’s work… and the late great Greg Rogers. Not just because we all work(ed) within a few km’s of each other either coincidently…or that Greg and I both went off together to investigate illustrating children’s books at a weekend workshop put on by Scholastic in the early 90’s…But I do like the beautiful work they produce(d)

What’s your website or blog address (if you have one)?

My website address is www.glensingleton.com

Would you like to tell us anything else about yourself and/or your work?

I cant think of anything better than sitting at my drawing board in my own little world…preferably on a rainy cold ‘English weather sort of day’…listening to music on my internet radio stations from some part of the world ..illustrating children’s books. I’d draw them til the cows come home. It’s wonderful to be paid for something you love doing. Great to do a hobby for a job ….unfortunately it only pays like a hobby a lot of the time! But then we were warned way back at that weekend seminar in the 90’s that we may need to draw them for the love of it. That’s what I do.

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