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

Thursday 8 February 2018

Meet the Illustrator: Erica Webb

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Constantly evolving, fun, playful and thoughtful.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I am a very messy worker! My desk is strewn with everything I need and the rest stacked in drawers nearby. It’s organised chaos. Essentials are my 3B pencil, 0.1 Unipin fineliner, watercolour paints and pencils, my Wacom Intuos Pro and favourite eraser and pencil sharpener. And coffee, water and rotating snacks, of course!

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Right now my favourite combination is watercolour and watercolour pencil, edited in Photoshop to add depth. When I’m working on bigger pieces I adore adding soft pastels into the mix.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
I spend a lot of time reading picture books (I have two young boys and they tolerate my voracious appetite to read them!) and these inspire me the most. Three illustrators whom I find inspiring right now are Anna Walker, Bruce Whatley, and Freya Blackwood.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I honestly feel so lucky to be around for THIS artistic period where we have so much history to be inspired by and draw upon, yet we’re also able to play with technology as a tool in ways we’ve never been able to before. If I could time-travel I think I’d take a trip all the way through time and marvel at the stages and changes, but now is an incredible time to be in the art world!

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer/illustrator and a few years ago finished my Masters of Writing. At that stage, illustration had become a dusty dream that I wasn’t sure I could dust off. But the urge to write and illustrate picture books was still strong, and so I took myself off to art classes. These classes gave me enough confidence to keep going, and I was lucky enough to get lots of encouragement from family and friends. Honestly, it’s the picture books that fill my home (and their creators) that continue to inspire me. They just make me happy and I want to do that for others too.

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 work most often in my study. It’s a room at the front of my house, stacked high with books. My desk houses my scanner, PC, laptop, Wacom, drawing pad and whatever medium I’m working in at the time. I’m likely to have a couple of little pallets of watercolour, my watercolour pencils (never placed in any order!), my 3B pencil and favourite eraser and pencil sharpener. Often music will be playing through the PC speakers and more often than not a child making more mess on the floor doing ‘craft’ or building a lego creation.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
Tricky question! I want to say adding colour, but I also love to work in black and white. For me it’s in the process itself – it absorbs me and clears my head of everything else. At the end, I love to sit back and feel whatever it is the illustration makes me feel – whether calm, happy, sad, confused – whatever it evokes. Evoking something is very satisfying.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
The biggest shift for me came when I decided to own being an illustrator. I owned it before I had the skill I thought I needed to ‘be’ that, but without owning it, I don’t think I would have ended up where I have. So, my advice: Own it. Declare it. Be it.

Erica is a Melbourne-based illustrator and aspiring children’s picture book writer. She is also the mother of two young boys and a yoga teacher. She hopes to encourage children and adults alike to look with wonder and appreciation at their world and the people they share it with.
You can follow Erica on facebook and instagram or visit her website for more information.