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Thursday 4 August 2016

Meet the Illustrator: Tom Jellett

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
A bit messy.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Somewhere to put a cup of tea. i go through a lot of tea. And a radio. i need a radio.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Not a favourite as such, but i enjoy working digitally . . .it’s a lot more forgiving, and it gives you a degree of flexibility to try different things. having said that, i still enjoy the feeling of a freshly sharpened pencil on tracing paper . . .

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
It’s tricky trying to limit it to three . . .there are so many. Can I say more than three?

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
Late 18th century Paris . . .around the time of Degas and Lautrec . . .if only to improve my abysmal French.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I've always loved reading, and I’ve inherited the family illness of loving books, so that combined with an enthusiasm for drawing, it seemed like a no brainer. I was also inspired by other book illustrators that i look up to and was fortunate to know, people like Kerry Argent, Vivienne Goodman, Julie Vivas and Craig Smith.

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

Image credit: Alexander James

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
The earlier stages . . .when you are plotting out the story across 32 pages . . .just that moment before you commit to a certain direction when the story at that stage can be one of many many possibilities. The moment when you don’t quite know how everything is going to look.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Read and draw. Repeat.

I think it’s good to spend way too much time in libraries and bookshops . . .it’s important to find out what you like when you’re feeling out for your own direction. It can be overwhelming and intimidating - there are so many talented people out there doing great work, and there are so many resources and places where you can find this stuff . . . illustrator’s web pages, illustration blogs, online galleries etc. The internet has made a huge difference in being able to access all of this . . .twenty years ago the only place you find other illustrator’s work were ten year old illustration annuals.

Tom Jellett is an Australian editorial illustrator and children's book illustrator based in Sydney. His children's books include Australia at the Beach by Max Fatchen, My Dad Thinks He's Funny by Katrina Germein, and The Gobbledygook is Eating a Book by Justine Clark. His latest book is Grandpa's Big Adventure, written by Paul Newman and published by Penguin Books.Visit Tom Jellett's website for more information about his books and editorial work.