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

Thursday 3 March 2016

Meet the Illustrator: Simon Williams

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Bright, amusing, engaging, animated, images that make you smile.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Paper, Col-erase grey pencils, 2B pencils, erasers, patience and my Wacom cintiq.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Digital (Corel Painter) and Watercolour.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Bill Watterson (of Calvin & Hobbes)
Albert Uderzo (of Asterix)

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
There two I’d really like to visit:
Renaissance - To see the interaction / competition between Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci that created so much creativity.
Not an Artistic period but Disney in the 1920’s – to have been mentored by the ‘nine old men’ of animation.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
What sparked my interest in art and illustration are those ‘how did they do that’ feelings we all have about great artists. Bill Watterson’s simple but effective use of white space especially in his watercolours is breathtaking in any genre of the medium and Uderzo’s knowledge and ability to draw the human form even though it is caricatured is still a massive influence and source of inspiration.

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?
The layout stage where you start to really design the pages based on your original rough thumbnail ideas. This is the actual design part, you’ve got the ideas nailed in tiny thumbnail form but will they translate to the full page? It’s the answering of questions, the design of the characters and their position within the page, does it really need the background? Where should the text sit? From this point you really understand if the book is going to work or where it is going off track and needs to be re-worked. It can be both exhilarating and frustrating!

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Draw a lot, observe and don’t give up.

Remember the learning curve is really a series of plateaus and you don’t notice yourself getting better. It’s good to keep a selection of old images to look back upon as a reminder to yourself that you are getting better.

Simon Williams is an Australian illustrator who creates artworks that are bright, colourful and full of character. His children's books include 10 Hooting Owls, Dear Dad, I Want to be Just Like You and Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?  His latest picture book is Aussie Easter Hat Parade, written by Colin Buchanan and published by Scholastic Books. Visit Simon Williams's website and Facebook page for more information about his illustrators and artwork.