Even after many of hours of practice drawing many different things, horses, hands, and feet still can be hard to put down on paper. When I find something difficult to draw I sometimes use a photo reference of myself or the thing that I'm drawing to make sure the illustration is as believable as possible. Sometimes what you think something looks like, isn’t right at all.
Illustrators can have very flexible career paths. Along with illustrating children’s books I have created images for apps, packaging for beverages, landscape prints, character design for animation, backgrounds for video games, illustration for magazine articles, and kid friendly dental offices.
When working on a children's book I rarely meet the author whose book I'm illustrating. In fact, out of the many books I've illustrated, I have never met a single author I’ve been paired with in person.
My illustrations are painted digitally, even though sometimes it can be mistaken for a painting created with real paint. I use digital paint brushes to mimic the real thing so if something needs to be erased, made larger or smaller, or the colour needs to be changed, it’s easy to go back and make those changes.
Drawing’s not just a natural ability. To get to be great at it, illustrators need to practice, practice, practice.
In addition to the artwork I do for publishers and professionally, I still draw and paint lots of things for fun.
Inspiration for ideas can come from anywhere, not just one specific place. Real life, dreams, your imagination . . . anywhere. This is why it’s always good to keep a sketchbook handy.
Being an illustrator, you have the ability to work from anywhere, as long as you can have your drawing tools handy.
When making digital illustrations, I create them in almost the same way as someone would create a traditional painting, except that my paintbrush is a special pen called a stylus, and the canvas I ‘paint’ on is a computer screen that has special technology that reads the pen as you paint or draw.
It can take anywhere from 3-6 months to illustrate a children’s book from start to finish.