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Thursday, 10 January 2019

Meet the Illustrator: Danny Snell

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less. Striving to be fresh and free but occasionally falling short.

What items are an essential part of your creative space? My old drawing desk, pencils, paints and brushes. And even though you can google any artist these days I still enjoy flicking through my small library of books.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium? 
I feel most comfortable using acrylics. And often I’ll try and throw some pencil and collage into the mix too.

Name three artists whose work inspires you. From the world of children’s book illustrators I can’t go past Ezra Jack Keats, and our own Ron Brooks. And one of my favourite painters is Cezanne.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why? I’d love to visit Paris during the time of the Post Impressionists. Painters like Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse and Degas changed the way artists represented the world around them.


Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator? I still have a book called Goggles by Ezra Jack Keats from when I was very small. Since then I’ve collected many of his books. I don’t think he necessarily inspired me directly, but I’d like to think in some way a seed was planted way back then. And I’ve always liked drawing and had an interest in art, so it made sense to me to follow a career that enabled me to do something I really enjoyed.

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 always have the best intentions of keeping my studio tidy, and it is occasionally, but when I’m working on a project it’s a clutter of brushes, paint, paper and books. I’ve had my drawing desk since I was at university, which was over 20 years ago.


What is your favourite part of the illustration process? Putting down that first blob of paint onto a fresh sheet of paper or board is always difficult but, once I’ve got everything mapped out and blocked in, the process becomes easier and enjoyable. It’s great seeing the illustration gradually come to life. I also really enjoy the initial part of the process, that is, sitting down with a new manuscript and starting to imagine the characters, their relationships, the setting - everything is fresh and new and full of potential.


What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator? Keep drawing. Drawing is such a fundamental part of being an illustrator. It’s how you develop and communicate your ideas. It also teaches us to slow down and observe the world around us - which is so important these days.

Danny grew up in Adelaide and studied at the Adelaide Central School of Art and the University of South Australia. He has been working as an illustrator for nearly 20 years, freelancing for newspapers, magazines, design studios and publishers. At the moment the majority of Danny's work is children’s books. He work mainly in acrylics, though sometimes dabbles in other mediums.
You can follow Danny on facebook or visit his website.

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