'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 15 June 2014

Guest Post: Illustrators Australia with Jess Racklyeft

KBR is delighted to welcome graphic designer, illustrator and editor Jess Racklyeft with this glorious guest post on Illustrators Australia, their quarterly magazine Outline, and the Australian children's book illustrators we know and love so well.

I’ve been a member of Illustrators Australia for several years, and the editor of their quarterly member magazine Outline for two. Over this time, I’ve been so lucky to interview some very talented illustrators – including illustrators working in my favourite (and most obsessive) field - that of children’s books.

Illustrators Australia is a non-profit body set up to promote and protect the rights of Australian illustrators, from students to emerging artists and established illustrators. As a member, I’ve participated in some great events such as the 9x5 Show, attended conferences and industry-related events. Through their folio website, I’ve picked up illustration work from authors' self-published projects to card designs.

I’ve also absolutely loved piecing together the issues of Outline magazine – secretly, it is my way of learning more from Australia’s best illustration talent! 

Marc Martin

Once we settle on a theme for the each edition, I research the topic – the current state of the market, changes in the industry, and of course some of the best illustrators currently working in the field. I’ve worked on topics such as Editorial, Typography, Animation and Education. Everything is put together in inDesign, and I’m constantly inspired by the portfolios of the artists profiled – I love sharing their illustration work alongside their words.

Our recent issue on children’s illustration allowed me to contact such heroes of mine such as Marc Martin, Mitch Vane, Natalie Marshall, Shane McGowan,
Children’s Book Publisher Erica Wagner, and Rights Manager Joanna Lake.

Natalie Marshall

These talented individuals kindly shared a deep look into their career history (for example, I learned many of the artists I love are former graphic designers), their inspiration, processes and, of course, their utterly amazing art.

I’ve been blown away by the generosity the IA community have in sharing this sort of information – even down to such details as where they found the best printer locally, or where they pick up digital textures to create their work. Our industry representatives – Erica and Joanna – also gave a great insight into the operations of their publishing houses (Allen & Unwin and the Five Mile Press, respectively) – something that usually mystifies or terrifies a lot of us illustrators.

Mitch Vane

Although only members can access the full editions, they recently allowed access to the public to the individual profiles and many of the past year’s editions are currently available to view. Prepare to be inspired!

You can also learn more about Illustrators Australia from their website www.illustratorsaustralia.com. For the illustrators out there, I encourage you to consider applying to join this organisation and support their great work, which will mutually support your own.

See Jess's beautiful illustrations and work at www.jessesmess.com.