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

Thursday 31 March 2016

Meet the Illustrator: Stephan Britt

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Hopefully something I would've liked when I was a child.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Lots and lots of colors, patterns, vintage toys, knick-knacks, books for inspiration, art on the wall, windows to look out of and my fat cat Leroy purring happily on my lap.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Watercolors, pen and ink, tempera, crayons, etc. I tend to use the cheapest supplies and paper possible, as I feel the pricey stuff stifles my spontaneity.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
 While there are literally countless illustrators whose work constantly amazes me, Richard Scarry, "Jolly" Roger Bradfield, and Tomi Ungerer are certainly at the top of the list!

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
 I've always been drawn to the late 1960s to mid-1970s, in every way imaginable. The art, the books, the movies, the cars, the fashion, the music, so on and so forth. It's definitely a "feeling" I try to incorporate into my work.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
 Ellen Raskin's "Franklin Stein" was one of the first books I remember making a huge impression on me as a wee Britt. I always knew I wanted to be an artist, but it was then that I truly fell in love with the idea of becoming a children's book illustrator.

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?
Having a wonderful idea for a drawing pop into your head when I'm out doing something else. That feeling of anxiousness as I rush home and put to paper what's been floating around my brain.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
 As cliché as it may sound, draw each and every day as though your life depended on it! Draw because you enjoy doing so and don't concern yourself with what others may think. Don't worry about getting better, be happy that you're good enough to draw and take joy in the process. Realize that you have a unique talent unlike anyone else and that's something to be mighty proud of!

Stephan Britt is an American artist and illustrator. His latest picture book, Normal Norman, is written by Tara Lazar and published by Sterling Children's Books. Visit Stephan's website and Facebook page for more information about his books and artworks.