1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became an illustrator.
I’ve always loved drawing and painting. As I child it was my favourite past time. As I grew older it was all I could imagine to do so I went to art college. Whilst there my tutor suggested illustration so I went onto University and did a degree in it. Upon graduating I was extremely lucky to land my dream job illustrating greetings cards for a top UK department store. I absolutely loved it and learned so much. After 16 years there I went freelance which is where I’m at today. This chapter in my life is the best yet. I do what I love and love what I do.
2. Is Trace Race: Things That Go your first children’s book?
Yes it is. This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to illustrate a children’s book. It has always been a dream so it’s amazing that it’s actually happening.
3. Did you enjoy the experience?
I loved it. This was such a fun book to work on and the publishers were so lovely and easy to work with.
4. What is the most difficult part of your job?
Usually starting. Sometimes I read the brief and just don’t know how to begin but I start drawing and the ideas start coming.
5. What is your artistic process?
I always look for inspiration on Pinterest, Google, Instagram and then I just draw and draw. I always scribble ideas first and then I use a digital pen to draw straight onto the computer.
6. Where does most of your inspiration come from?
I have a particular love of folk art. Anything from different cultures and faraway places really appeals to me. I love window shopping and looking on the internet. You see a colour palette or pattern somewhere and it sparks lots of ideas.
7. How do you handle creative slumps?
It can be quite hard working on your own. I used to work in a studio with some really talented people so whenever you got stuck they were always ready with ideas to help you. Now I either put on my headphones so I can really concentrate and work through it or if time allows I will leave it alone for a few days until the ideas come. Never abandon a project. It’s amazing what you can do when you persevere. Some of my best and most unexpected work has happened this way.
8. What are your perfect working conditions?
A cold rainy day and a long block of time all to myself. I put my headphones on to shut everything out around me then I just get lost in what I’m doing. I love it.
9. What is your favorite work you’ve done?
It’s difficult to say, I work on such a variety of things and in different styles. Recently I did a range of children’s birthday cards which was lots of fun and I feel quite proud of.
10. Are there any fun new projects you can tell us about?
Race to the North Pole is my next book and I’m really excited about it. It’s about this little penguin and his journey to the North Pole to find Santa.
11. Is there any type of project you haven’t done but would love to do someday?
I would really love to do some fun animal alphabet or counting books for young children. I would also really love to do illustrations for an advertising campaign. Would be great to see my work on billboards, adverts etc.
12. Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?
Draw, draw, draw! Don’t be too heavily influenced by what other illustrators are doing. Find your own style to really stand out. Perseverance is key and self promotion are key. It can take a while to get your feet of the ground but if it’s your passion then keep going.
Written by Andi Landes | Illustrated by Klara Hawkins
Follow the trail for an exciting adventure with a rocket ship, a train, a boat, and more things that go! This storybook includes a die-cut path so toddlers can move their fingers along different roads as they encounter vehicles in fun settings. With adorable illustrations and rhyming text, this book is perfect for story time.