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- author Jackie French

Thursday 4 May 2017

Meet the Illustrator: Lucinda Gifford

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Varied, warm, bold, still developing…

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
A big, thick pad of ‘draw and wash’, a tub of grey and black pencils, music, some greenery, light box, kids drawings on wall, coffee plunger and … of course… my Mac laptop with Cintiq tablet.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I can’t decide whether it’s ink or pencil. I love splashing ink around, and I feel more confident when it comes to adding shade or drama in ink; somehow most drawings seem to work out they way I like. But pencil – especially thick, black pencil – is just so flexible, direct and fun to use. I like gouache and watercolour too, but they’re still sort-of ‘secondary media’ to me. I do a lot digitally too, but that usually tends to come in at the end of the process.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Alexis Deacon - his technical skill is astonishing, and he writes original, mesmerising stories too. I loved Janet Ahlberg’s drawings as a child, and I still look to them for their character and warmth. And finally, Babette Cole’s wonderful drawings (and ideas) make me laugh… and laugh and laugh. I was so sad when she passed away at the start of the year.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I’m pretty happy with the present. Today, we have so much choice and inspiration. And as a non-aristocratic women in the past I wouldn’t have had the time to (and may not have been allowed to) make art. So here, now, today it is.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I always loved drawing, and looking at art makes me feel happy and alive. But then, as an adult, seeing illustration was a bittersweet experience because I wasn’t making art myself. About ten years ago I realised that I didn’t have to be sad about this - I could just start drawing again.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often?
Here is it today. I’m about to start work on the next Chook Doolan book, and so I’ve surrounded myself with reference material. I’ve also been puddling around with gouache. On the other side of this little room is my trusty computer.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
As an author/illustrator I’d say it’s when an idea for a story suddenly starts to crystallise and make sense. If illustration alone, then it’s definitely story boarding a picture book - so much potential, so much hope!

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Keep a sketchbook - don’t be precious about it and make yourself draw and write in it every day, even just a little bit (I’m advising myself here too!). Limit time on social media. Oh, and keep multiple backups of digital work - you won’t ever regret it!

Lucinda Gifford is a Melbourne-based illustrator and author/illustrator. Books include Arthur and the Curiosity and Space Alien at PlanetDad . She has also illustrated The Cat Wants Custard  by P Crumble, The Fourteenth Summer ofAngus Jack by Jen Storer, and the popular Chook Doolan series by James Roy.

Visit Lucinda’s website lucindagifford.com and follow her on Facebook