I've been passing around a book lately called CELTIC TALES: FAIRY TALES AND STORIES OF ENCHANTMENT FROM IRELAND, SCOTLAND, BRITTANY, AND WALES. We've all been drooling over the textures and patterns, and how lovely the overall design is (along with the stories and the illustrations). It's by author/illustrator Kate Forrester. Happily, she is here today to talk to us about it!
by Kate Forrester
e: What is your creative process, can you walk us through it?
Firstly I read the text and jot down a few ideas. If lettering is involved, I then tend to start by sketching out the words and then I build the illustration around it. If there is no lettering, I start with the key object or character and make a messy pencil sketch to work out the composition and balance of the page.
Then I scan in the sketches and block out darker sections and greys using Photoshop. This is the stage you see in the roughs below. After that i rejig bits digitally, print the sketch again and redraw using layout paper, brush pens and fine liners. My drawings are almost always rendered in black pen and coloured in Photoshop.
I like the combination of intricate, hand drawn line work and flat colour.
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Kate: I think anything hand drawn has a touch of magic automatically. And I like to think that my clients and readers can recognize my hand and are drawn to my ornate style.
e: Why did you choose to gather and illustrate these stories?
I was sent the brief by Chronicle - I had met the art director in San Francisco a few years ago and apparently she had been looking out for the perfect project for me ever since!
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
My favorite part is the first stage of the creative process. The blank piece of paper and the first ideas and imaginings.
The biggest challenge is when you disagree with the client feedback - but luckily that didn't happen on this project!
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
I have just completed one dream project very recently. It was a really huge mural for a publishing house in London. I had to hand letter almost 4000 author names in the form of an illustrated river of words which wrapped around the interior of a 5 story building! (More info here.)
So pretty different from book covers! I love the diversity that my job brings.