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

Thursday 26 November 2015

Meet the Illustrator: Kirrili Lonergan

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Whimsical, free flowing, playful and loose!

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
The essential part of my studio is accessibility! My area is a small, centrally positioned sunny spot where I can see the pool, the yard, the living areas and the kitchen. This allows me to create while observing, talking, feeding and spending time with my four children. I am forever multi tasking! I have an old recycled timber trestle table covered in lots of old wooden toolboxes with coffee cups full of brushes and pens. My trusty set of drying racks are an essential to utilise space and I would be lost without my desktop Mac and lightpad. To finish off my space I have loads of children’s books and artwork from fellow illustrators.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Gouache and pastels. I love layering and playing until I get the right balance.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Freya Blackwood, Stephen Michael King and Polly Dunbar are definitely my heroes. Because I have a Tilly, Polly Dunbar’s Hello Tilly was the first book to catch my eye and inspire me to want to become an illustrator. Soon after I noticed the work of SMK and Freya Blackwood and I am in awe of their talent.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I love the post-impressionism period where light and brushstrokes become more alive and art became more unusual.The freedom to express yourself started to develop.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
My mother was definitely my biggest inspiration. My childhood was full of exposure to art and craft in all its forms. She is a self taught artist and even today the grandchildren have a permanent creative space set up ready to go when they visit. I feel my history in paediatric nursing along with my love for creativity has inspired me to become a picture book illustrator for children.

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?
My favourite part is the initial mock up stage where you dump all your ideas onto the paper and then start creating sketches. I could quite easily become too consumed by this phase and hesitate to move on to the next!

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
My advice would be to keep practicing and never think it is impossible. Many illustrators will tell you to carry a sketchbook and draw anything you see, even if just for a few minutes a day. Be prepared to say goodbye to all your spare time because you will become addicted! Lastly, to believe in yourself, this is something that I am slowly teaching myself!

Kirrili Lonergan is an Australian illustrator. Her books include Lessons of a Lac (Little Steps Publishing), written by Lynn Jenkins and the recently published Dandelions (EK Books), written by Katrina McKelvey. Visit Kirrili's website and Facebook page for more information about her art and illustrations.