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

Thursday 9 March 2017

Meet the Illustrator: Anna Wilson

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My beautiful Pelikan pen, a fountain pen gifted to me by my four siblings and their partners one birthday. Almost all my illustration work begins with this pen and a sketchbook. I love to draw from life on location and then take it back to my studio to develop into a finished piece. Also, my tiny mint tin filled with watercolours – this and a water brush means I have a portable studio with me at all times. The other main thing I like to have is a teapot filled with tea.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Pen and ink drawings are my favourite, finished with a touch of bright gouache or watercolour. Love how much simplicity can pop and come alive with just these simple mediums.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
At the moment my favourite artist is Marc Martin, a wonderful Melbourne-based illustrator. His work is so simple, beautiful watercolours that seem to capture the essence of daily moments of life with such simplicity. I also adore the work of another local artist, Kyoko Imazu. She is a printmaker but her work is filled with adorable creatures – filled with fantasy but she is is such a talented drawer that they everything feels so close to life. Finally, I love Egon Schiele for his magical lines.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I think I would most like to visit the 1920s and 30s in Australia to see Jessie Traill in action, drawing Sydney. This was also the time when Margaret Preston and many of Australia’s other female artists that were interested in portraying Australian plants with such great colour and character became renowned. I would love to have met those women.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
Two things. The first is a long held love of drawing. I have always drawn. When I was young, it was what I did when I should have been doing maths and English and all other things. I could draw and make things all night instead of doing what I should be doing. I remember in year 9 I decided to do all my maths work on a big A2 sheet of paper in a picture style instead of in my workbook. The teacher wasn’t that impressed, but I loved it. The second is a love of reading and books. I grew up with a mother that was a primary school teacher and also a great believer in books. I loved them and have always dreamed of making another world come to life just simply with a pen and a piece of paper.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often?
I am lucky enough to share a studio upstairs in our beautiful house in Castlemaine with my husband. He uses the space as an office and also to create beautiful bird based textile pieces. I use it to draw and frame things.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
I have two favourite parts. The first is the initial sketch process which for me always starts out in the world, on the street, in cafes, in front of a plant or currently, my chickens. The other favourite is putting the last bits of colour on a finished piece. That bit is so satisfying.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Carry some simple equipment – e.g. pen and small notebook – around and draw as often as you can. Even if you like computer based illustration or some other form, there is nothing like sketching from the real world to improve all other elements of the illustration process.

Anna is a photographer, illustrator and designer, who loves making pictures. She loves snow, ice and cold places as well as drinking coffee and tea in warm and atmospheric rooms - an almost perfect pair. She is happiest when she has a pen in hand, turning the world into images. See Anna's website for more - www.annawilsonstudio.com