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

Thursday 6 April 2017

Meet the Illustrator: Marjory Gardner

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Bright, happy and friendly, with strong linework and rainbow colours

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Lots of desk space to s p r e a d  o u t (I’m very messy!), good light (from window and desk lamp), a sloping drawing board, an ergonomic 'kneeling’ chair, radio, computer, lightbox and Jessie our jack russell asleep in her basket. I have large folios full of original illustrations, plus paper and card for drawing. My filing cabinet is full of contracts and roughs, and my boxes of index cards records all publishers and work done since I started freelancing.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
A blue clutch pencil, Copic markers, Prismacolour pencils, black Artline pens, inks and paint and a 000 brush.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
There are so many fabulous Australian illustrators I wouldn’t want to single out just three, so instead I’ll pick three from the UK: Lynne Chapman, Louise A. Ellis and Jane Foster. All have a lovely brightness and whimsy to their work which I admire.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
Fifty years into the future. I wonder what children’s illustration will be like then? Will there be anyone left still drawing by hand?

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I’ve loved to draw. I spent my early childhood in Malaya, and as school was only in the morning (because of the heat) I used to draw every afternoon. Was never ‘the best drawer in the grade’ but kept at it, and thankfully both my parents encouraged me.

In my final year of high school my art teacher encouraged me to apply to study graphic design. If not for Mr Scales, I’d be a primary school teacher…although I get the best of both worlds as I often go into schools giving workshops, which I love!

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often?
My studio desk. I always intend to be less messy, less cluttered…but never seem to get there!

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
The colouring in. The hardest part is doing (and redoing and redoing) the roughs, but once I’ve settled on the look, I love turning the black scribbles into colourful finished art.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Be professional, even if you aren’t yet published. Never, ever talk down your work. Try if possible to meet the editors you are working for face to face (rather than by phone or email). Meet your deadlines. Don’t compare your style, successes and failures to anybody else; it’s way too destructive. Join as many professional groups as you can - ASA, SCBWI, IA, 52-Week Illustration Challenge - and go to their meetings, conferences and seminars. Value your work and never work for less than you deserve.

 After studying Graphics at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Marjory worked in their Media Department, followed by a year at graphic design studios, then part-time work at the Red Cross Blood Bank PR department. All the while she built up her freelance contacts, until finally she leapt into freelancing full time... See more about Marjory at her website - www.marjorygardner.com

You can also find Marjory on Instagram, SCBWI, ASA, Illustrators Australia