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Thursday 12 November 2020

Meet The Illustrator: Renée Treml

Name: Renée Treml

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Delicate and detailed, full of humour and personality.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I have a very special mechanical pencil that is no longer being made that I covet for sketching and writing. I also need natural light, chocolate and music or podcasts (depending on what I’m working on).

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I love working in black-and-white – primarily ink on scratchboard or the digital equivalent – and collaging with traditional watercolour.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
I’m currently obsessed with graphic novel artists and my favourites include Luke Pearson (Hilda), Ben Hatke (Zita the Spacegirl), and Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet). 

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I would fast-forward a year or two to post-Covid times – the diversity of styles and mediums of the artwork being created today is phenomenal. There are no rules for how we create art and I’m curious to see what emerges from this time spent in isolation. 

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator? 
I grew up thinking that you could not make a living as an illustrator. In my twenties, my husband (then boyfriend) quit his great job to study science. The change brought him so much joy and peace. I think seeing him take that leap gave me the courage to stop dreaming about illustrating and start doing. 

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 have a dedicated studio space in our house. I have two creative work desks – one for messy traditional artwork and another for digital works. I work on a Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet and am learning how to use Procreate on the iPad.

My cupboards are packed full of stationery and fine art prints, as well as random art supplies. At this moment, the bookshelves are very tidy (and staged with books and props) for Zoom presentations and my son has a desk in the room for distance learning. 

What is your favourite part of the illustration process? 
There are times in every project where I really struggle… I think my ideas won’t work, or my illustrations don’t look good and I’m not the right person for the job, but if I push through it and keep trying then suddenly it all comes together and the ideas start flowing and the work takes on a life of its own. That last bit is my favourite part… but it’s often a very stressful and hard road to get there. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Draw what you love and do it every day – let your drawings reflect your personality and interests and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. 

Renée Treml is the author and illustrator of several picture books for young readers, including Roo Knows Blue and Ten Little Owls. She is also the creator of two junior fiction graphic novels starring the intrepid Sherlock Bones. Renee has a degree in environmental science and a love of natural history.

Photo credit: Indie Lane.

For more information please visit Renée's website or follow her on facebook and instagram.