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Meet the Illustrator Q & A (featured on Kids' Book Review, September 2016)

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.

Eclectic, multi-layered, naïve, whimsical, curious and introspective.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?

Good light, good coffee, enough room to lay-out picture book storyboards and some wide drawers for my pads, collage papers and found things.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?

Yes, collage. In many ways it’s a medium almost too clever for it’s own good. It has the ability to add layers of narrative within narrative.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.

William Steig, Serge Bloch and Laura Carlin.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?

The Post-Impressionism movement. Most of my favourite painters were working in this period, including Van Gogh, Pissaro and Toulouse-Lautrec. These guys broke new ground, not only with their broad brush strokes but with their subject matter, painting common farmers, street people and landscapes when previously painters of the day painted mainly scenes portraying religious, historical or fictitious settings. Toulouse-Lautrec was an amazing storyteller.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?

I think I was enormously fortunate that I grew up in a household full of mad keen readers. We had bookshelves in almost every room. We were surrounded by books and some of these books had pictures in them. At some point I guess I realised that someone had to draw the pictures that accompanied the words in these books and I was already an eager artist, so why not me?

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?

The final stage when I’m pulling all my preliminary work together to (hopefully) make the story sing. It’s the most fun stage. Time to turn up the music!

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?

Work hard, hang in there and always back yourself. Every illustrator who has worked hard has something to offer.


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