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- author Jackie French

Thursday 26 March 2020

Meet The Illustrator: Robert Henderson

Name: Robert Henderson

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
My own books. Concept driven. As little drawing as possible.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Brain space. No visible other things I could be doing. Right amount of strategic clutter. Books. Lack of children.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I don’t draw well and I am petrified by the idea of spending hours on something and then ruining it. So I either create in Adobe Illustrator with my trusty undo button and bezier handles, or by digitally layering media from charcoal to collage to ink to paint to pixels.

My work tends to jump in and out of the computer. Create, print, trace, rough-up, scan, layer, print, photocopy with a wiggle, fold, photograph with phone, halftone the photo, save. Create physical texture, scan, overlay, save, duplicate, multiply, print, dip in 3 litres of orange juice and photograph through a translucent glass table. That sort of thing.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Ridiculous to choose three, but floating through my head presently: Kathleen Jennings, León Ferrari, Patricia Piccinini. I am more often inspired by ideas and their thinkers.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
None, particularly, I think. Maybe a cloistered scribe or illuminator?

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I like to hop back and forth between illustration, concept and language without having to explain myself to a third party. Everything can stay flexi and fluid for as long as possible until that wave function collapses. That sounds suspiciously like “a need for control”. 

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
Nah, I have no dedicated space. Writing usually happens in the car. I do love working around the Brisbane cultural precinct, though.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
Concept development. Imagining. Research. Anything that doesn’t involve the stress of actually illustrating.
What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Find things that work for you.
Creatively side-stepping your shortcomings can make your approach unique.
Don’t keep buying expensive supplies and equipment unless you’re sure you’ll use them.

Robert Henderson is a prolific non-graduate from a range of prestigious Australian universities and an actual graduate of Griffith University's Queensland College of Art. Robert lives in Brisbane with his partner and two young children who help him with his work and make sure he never has to eat a sandwich by himself. Robert's work was recently longlisted for the CBCA Notable Award and Australian Book Designers Association Award.

For more information please follow Robert on instagram.