Chris: After reading the text and selecting the scene I’d like to illustrate, I start to thumbnail ideas. My thumbnail sketches are small rough abstract compositions that help me to interpret the scene from various angles, change environments, and move characters around very quickly. Sometimes I will find a suitable composition early on, and other times it can take 20 little sketches to find the right potential painting.
Chris: A good illustration should take you back to a state of childlike wonder, and the only way of achieving such an image requires the artist to find wonder in what they are painting. The artist should want to explore the world in which they are creating, and revel in the characters and details they discover, only then can the artist create art that draws you in repeatedly.
Chris: This is probably quite boring, but working on the book was one of the smoothest projects I have worked on. At no point did I have to rework images or argue my case for a certain illustration which I think is rather unique. Steve Richardson was very easy going and an absolute pleasure to work with.
Chris: Social media has been massive in exposing my artwork. I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up big jobs just through my images being shared and the right people seeing it in their timeline. It’s been a long time since I sent mail-outs to potential clients.
Chris: I love trying to stretch myself by painting something new or with a different technique. It’s a form of training on the job that means I never get bored with an image.
Chris: I would like readers to keep finding new things in the images every time they reach for the book. Some of the illustrations extrapolate on the initial story and add an extra layer to the narrative, giving the reader a hint as what has just occurred just before the scene you are reading about. Other images add a touch of humour or are a clear reference to great artists like J C Leyendecker, Beatrix Potter and Jill Barklem.
Chris: I’m currently working on a series of watercolour paintings based on ‘The Wind In The Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame. They are due to be exhibited in Paris at Galerie Daniel Maghen, which is very exciting! I sincerely hope one day I can have them published in my own illustrated version of that wonderful story.