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Thursday 17 September 2015

Meet the Illustrator: Paul O'Sullivan

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
A cacophony of mechanical mayhem, punctuated by the odd successful combustion...sorry that’s slightly more than 10 words!

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I’m old school, so my Grant enlarger for scaling up thumbnails or rough sketches, my A0 drawing desk, numerous lights, a light box, French curves and of course pencils. You can say a lot about pencils! I used to buy very posh Derwent Graphic pencils for inordinate sums of money. Then I discovered a $2 pack of pencils from Woolworths for writing which are the best I've ever used

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I’m actually trained as a Informational Illustrator so in the past have largely worked in Gouache with either brush or airbrush...this is actually where I'm most happy.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Easy! Peter Phillips a pop artist from the UK in the 70s, Michael English a super realist and John Salt

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I would like to visit the late 60s and early 70s and see the beginnings of the Super realist movement. I have always admired photographic realism and accuracy. I love this because of the dedication and patience it requires and the ability to truly understand form visually...I love it because it challenges me.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I have many inspirations but feel largely my main inspiration came from reading Michael English’s book The 3D eye when I was about 12. My mother had me drawing from the time I could hold a pencil...from then on the dye was set.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often?

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
I love the conceptual side. The gathering of ideas and whether you can make them fly. I always dwell on a mantra internally when confronted by a blank sheet...You can make this into anything you can dream, your only limitation is your imagination

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
To never give up. Keep knocking doors, keep taking risks. Each day always do something to further your dream and hone your skills. As the motto of the SAS says....He who dares wins!

Paul O'Sullivan is a voracious artist, philosopher and collector of ideas. He is the illustrator for Gary Crew's latest picture book, The Visions of Ichabod X, published by Harbour Publishing. The detailed illustrations contain Steampunk-style elements and reflect Paul's fascination with the silent films of the early years of cinema. Follow Paul O'Sullivan's Facebook page for more information about his art and illustrations.