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

Thursday 6 October 2016

Meet the Illustrator: Gwynneth Jones

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Poetic, welcoming, nostalgic, whimsical and emotive.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
ABC radio, my glass drawing table and my water pen. Also coffee, sometimes wine. And the dog underfoot of course.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I think it would be black ink and a water brush on paper. If I grab materials to take away, that’s what it will be. I am also very fond of watercolour pens now. Anything that bleeds

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
I am inspired that there are so many ways of illustrating out there and that anything goes!

I am drawn to Chris Riddell’s fine line work, watching Anna Pignataro do watercolour over her pencil drawings inspires me to free up and stop rubbing out, and Armin Greder’s style and take on the alphabet makes me want to be adventurous.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I would like to visit a time when artists were trying new things, like the expressionists (1900 – 1935) with their bold colours and themes, because they did so to evoke emotion and ideas. I like that way of thinking, and try to do that with illustrations.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
Books inspired me! I think gazing over illustrations you love and absorbing stories as a child doesn’t leave you, perhaps that’s why book creation is a dream for so many.

I have always drawn faces, especially eyes and mouths, characters and animals. I doodle over meeting agendas, and when I’m on the phone. I majored in Plant and Wildlife illustration many years ago, and have always had a good sense of design and draft(wo)manship. I thought that my style would work for children’s books, and that I would give it a go and see what happened.

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 doing roughs, planning the book, collaborating and sparking ideas off the top of my head from the text. Drawing and scribbling in pencil without worrying is the best part.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Join SCBWI and CBCA and do some workshops, meet other artists, go to a conference or two! The friends you meet are really supportive. Put drawings away for a while when you are stuck, they look a lot better later and suddenly can be miraculously fixed. Have a FB profile or website with your work displayed, because you never know who will look. And draw all the time.

Patch and RubyDance with Me
The Great Sock SecretThe Sugar and Spice Collection

Gwynneth Jones is an Australian artist and picture book illustrator. Her books include the Speech Pathology Australia Award shortlisted title Don't Think About Purple Elephants, written by Susan Whelan, and all three books in the newly released Sugar and Spice Collection by EK Books, Patch and Ruby (by Anouska Jones), Dance with Me (by Penny Harrison) and The Great Sock Secret (by Susan Whelan). Visit Gwynneth Jones's website and Facebook page for more information about her books and creative projects.