BookMachine were at The Book Club last night for the first installment of the new Nosy Crow Illustrator Salons. Steven Lenton, author-illustrator of Princess Daisy and the Dragon (and the Nincompoop Knights) and illustrator of the Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam picture books, was interviewed by Kate Wilson, Managing Director of Nosy Crow. Their friendly repartee set the tone for the evening and was demonstrative of Nosy Crow’s ability to develop and nurture great relationships with those they work with. To round up the night, we’ve put together a list of 10 things we learnt.
1. Along with many other illustrators, Steven was inspired by the works of Mary Blair, who’s known most for her work with Disney.
2. An illustrator needs to work on their identity / brand. Steven looked at the defining characteristics of his work in order to discover this: he uses pencil drawings, which are scanned, and then uses pastel processing on Photoshop.
3. Working primarily with digital makes the illustrations quicker and easier to revise.
4. The time needed to illustrate 1 spread can vary greatly depending on the type of book: anything between 1 day and 2 weeks is common.
5. Steven tends to have more contact with the Designer than the Editor, but the whole team work together to develop the story.
6. You have to be much more conscious of the number of pages with an illustrated children’s book.
7. For Steven, the main differences between being and author-illustrator and just an illustrator are that there is more pressure on you, but also more pride with the final product.
8. It’s hard to design your own princess when there are so many about.
9. The turning of the page is hugely important when illustrating and writing a children’s book.
10. To get into illustration, read as much as possible (about illustration and illustrated books), attend courses, go to life-drawing drawing sessions (you need to learn your anatomy), know your style & enter as many competitions as possible.