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

Thursday 2 November 2017

Meet the Illustrator: Aleesha Barton

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Realistic with a hint of cartoon. Bright, friendly, colourful and still in progress!

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Faber Castell Polychromos, Strathmore Bristol-Vellum paper with a rough surface, kneadable eraser, a GOOD sharpener and an easy watching movie playing in the background--favourite being Harry Potter!

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Coloured pencil

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Freya Blackwood, Molly Idle, Gaia Bordicchia

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
Impressionism. I love the way the artists challenged the norm and ignored the rules. It was a big statement against the aristocracy of the time and ultimately changed how they approached and viewed art. It would be so cool to be there and see these changes happening.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
Disney, in particular, The Little Mermaid. I loved the cartoon like characters and the whole world they created with such beautiful colours and movements. I would draw Ariel over and again creating different stories and adventures for her.

As a child I read a lot of books, lots of fantasy and children’s books. I loved characters that would go on a quest or adventure, about friendship and working together as a team. I would draw these and try to come up with stories of my own.

I got back into drawing just three years ago after a big break and decided this is what I’m meant to do.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
I’ve moved around a lot over the last few years, and changed my desks frequently. I’m an adapter to a particular space, and make do with, the best I can. As my current desk on a whole is not exciting, I’ve decided to show a small snap of what my desk has looked like over the last year or so. Never tidy, always in the middle of a drawing and food (cookie dough) or music near by!

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
The sense of calm I get when I’m in the middle of a piece. Nothing exits in the world except my little space and my pencils. The rush I get from looking at what I’m working on and seeing it come together nicely.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
I would say to them (and myself!) keep ‘doing,’ keep focused on what you get out of drawing or painting. It doesn’t matter what others think, if you feel passionate and fantastic when you draw, this will show through. Don’t get too stressed about other people, who you think might be ‘better’ or have a ‘more developed’ style. You will get there with practice and patience. Just have fun and build a following on social media!

Aleesha is actively involved in the Melbourne illustration and children’s literature scene having attended Kid Lit Vic 2017, selling prints on Etsy and at markets while sharing the journey on social media. She hopes to one day be lucky enough to work with publishers/authors on illustrating a YA novel or children’s book.
You can follow Aleesha on facebook and instagram, and visit her website for more information.