Hello! I'm going to chat today about the inspiration that lead me to where I am today: immersed in a creative world of art and illustration.
My Nan (rest in peace) always said I'd be an illustrator. Ever since I was young she would tell people that. Even before I knew that's what I would do.
At one stage in our lives she ended up in a TAC centre (a place for road accident victims to recover) after a pretty horrible car accident. I used to visit her in my old Gemini car (that had handmade bear seat covers complete with faces and ears on the top) and hang out and draw pictures for her walls. I always drew pictures for her.
A copied May Gibbs illustration by my younger self
The iconic Australian illustrator May Gibbs was one of my first illustration loves. Gumnut baby after gumnut baby I drew. I especially loved when Snugglepot & Cuddlepie ventured underwater and met Little Obelia. I remember clearly drawing Little Obelia and shading those pearls with my cherished set of 72 derwent pencils. I think if I ever got a tattoo, it would probably be a homage to May Gibbs. Probably Little Obelia!
Holly Hobbie was another fond memory. My Mum painted pictures of her and I got my hands on my Mum's imagery, I don't know if it was books or her own paintings, but I remember copying the Holly Hobbie images. I was fascinated with the detail in them.
Me and my Primary School bestie at Dromkeen
In primary school we took an excursion to Dromkeen which is a place that exhibits and houses picture book art. I distinctly remember the end of the tour where we were taken to an area that held crisp new books and I had some money so that I could buy one. I remember holding a ten dollar note in my hands. My childhood was not filled with extravagant amounts of toys and possessions, so I really valued this chance to buy a book. I remember a stack of The BFG books and that was the book I chose. This also spurred a love of Quentin Blake's illustrations. His seemingly haphazard line work is quite intentional and brings out the emotion and movement of characters. He captures personality with the free flowing lines, and lessons of studying this flow seeped in to my psyche and became part of my understanding about how shape and line can come together to form natural expression.
Quentin Blake's illustrations are full of flow, life and fun
I read The BFG book many times, to the point of it literally falling apart. We have a new copy that I am currently reading this book to my girls, but the old one is still a treasured possession.
I also loved Dr Suess illustrations for their flowing spilling wavy look. It looks as though some of the drawings have been squeezed out of a tube, know what I mean!?
And I'm sure Golden Books were are part of many people's childhood. I had a few favourites in there, but as an adult I can't go much past the texture and detail of Richard Scarry's illustrations. I love the paint work which looks like he uses dry brushing that gives the illustrations a textural look.
Ah, such memories. And I am grateful to all these amazing people that have inspired me along my journey. I'm sure there's more that I haven't thought of! I'll have to update this post if I do. I'd love to hear your favourites!
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