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

Thursday 10 August 2017

Meet the Illustrator: Josh Langley

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.  
Simple, quirky, folk artish.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I like the idea of being able to create anywhere. When I’m in the process of illustrating a new book I’ll have a little note book and sketch at restaurants and cafes. Then I’ll do bigger sketches back at home, either at my desk in the office, on the kitchen table or out under the patio under the wisteria. However the final versions are done on the computer in the office.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Coloured pencils!  I use them to create the initial designs. No-one except me sees the sketches, so they can be as bad or dodgy as I like. I feel like a kid again using them, so they help me get back into that playful state.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Bret Whitley, Maurice Sendak, Michael Leunig

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
My story is a little unconventional in that I never set out to be an illustrator or kids’ author, I just randomly fell into it. It was a mild October day and I just started doodling on the computer creating stick figures and adding little quotes to them. No-one told me I couldn’t do it, so I decided to turn them into a book and shortly after that I had my first illustrated book, Frog and The Well: Unconventional Happiness. And 3 books later I’m still doing it, something must be going OK.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
This is my Ikea trestle table/desk where I often freehand sketch and draw the final designs on the computer using the Wacom digital sketch pad. It’s also where I run my advertising copy-writing business with my partner. So the desk is used a lot! Things that you may not be able to see are; the blue love heart sculpture that I got in Greece and the Man in the Feather Boat sculpture from Denmark, WA. They both remind me to keep things simple and to remember there’s something bigger at play than just my crazy mind!

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
The initial sketching part. Often I sit under the wisteria out the front my house and sketch away while the bees and birds flit about and the sunshine streams though the leaves. Plus there’s a winery across the road and its easy walking distance.  

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Don’t let anything stop you from giving it a go. Practise and practise some more. I never felt the need to go to an art or drawing class to get started, I just started and I found my own style. (But maybe that’s something I can do later on if I want to move on from stick figures and cows with big eyes.) Just go for it. Life won’t wait for you.

After failing high school twice and spending a ridiculous amount of time being unemployed, Josh went onto create a successful career as an award winning radio creative writer spanning 20 years. He’s published 5 nonfiction books and now give gives talks at primary schools and festivals and runs workshops on creativity. Josh also runs a creative agency with his partner and lives on seven and a half acres in the South West of Western Australia with a bunch of neurotic chickens. You can follow Josh on facebook, Instagram and visit his website for more information.