Monday, January 31, 2011

Interview with illustrator Andy Geppert

Andy's upcoming exhibition, Play Date, is on at Sweets Workshop from the 12th February – 3rd March 2011.
He will be in the gallery at 2pm 12/2/11 to chat about his new exhibition.

Here's a bit of an introduction to Andy, as well as his charming artwork that will take you back to your 'wild' childhood imagination.

When did you first start drawing?

I can honestly say that I’ve had a love for drawing as soon as I could clumsily grasp a crayon. Unfortunately as I grew older other things like study and work eventually got in the way.

2 years ago I began searching for an outlet to create beautiful things, I wanted a medium that I could dive into and work on until I was happy with the end result. Children’s book illustration seemed to flow on easily from my job as an Art Director, as many skills were transferable, particularly the visual storytelling aspect.

What was your favorite thing to draw as a child?
Apart from messy scribbles, E.T. was the first childhood character that I can remember drawing and re-drawing. As a 9 year old I think it was the first colouring in competition that I won. (Or at least that’s what my mum and dad told me)

Currently what is your favorite Medium?
Digital illustration is my favorite medium at this stage, simply because I can make mistakes. I love the fact I can mould a drawing until it matches what was in my head to start with.

How do you describe your illustrations style?
Simple, light and naïve. I have created a style that lives between traditional sketching and digital illustration. My technique is one that blends hand sketching with a soft watercolour feel.

What inspires you when you are creating your sweet characters?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my amazing 5 year old daughter Lani. As well as my books I started illustrating a visual diary for her. It was my way of remembering the innocent and beautiful way she viewed the world. Children’s imaginations are so wild and raw, and I love how their minds collide things together that adults’ minds often miss.

The style of my work is also loosely influenced from my memory of high school art classes. I distinctly remember studying Toulouse-Lautrec, and his posters for the Moulin Rouge.

And other strong influences include:
Oliver Jeffers is a children’s book illustrator who I believe is setting the benchmark for children’s book story telling. And a photographer friend, Matt Hoyle from NY who convinced me to follow my new found passion.

Tell us a bit about the creation process behind your recent award winning children's book Little Big Tree?
Little Big Tree’ came about whilst working with Tim Brown in advertising. Tim came from a previous publishing roll and also shared a passion for children’s books. So we began working on a plan to venture into the world of children’s stories.

We found that many children’s books had stunning illustrations let down by the storyline or great stories badly executed. With this in mind, each night after work I began illustrating Tim’s story page by page, and after about nine months we ended up with a finished book.

I found illustrating ‘Little Big Tree’ hugely enjoyable. Something clicked during the design process and I suddenly found it all became a lot easier. Creating each character and seeing them come to life was a very fulfilling experience; I loved showing friends the new characters for the first time.

After receiving 3,000 books on our doorstep we entered it into the Children's Book Council of Australia’s (CBCA) Crichton Award for new illustrators. And to our disbelief we received a shortlist and then 4 months later at a ceremony in Customs House we were announced as joint winners alongside Andrew Joyner.

Little Big Tree’ has now generated huge interest and is selling well throughout Australia and soon Taiwan.

What can viewers expect from your exhibition Play Date at Sweets Workshop?
Play Date is a collection of 2 years worth of late nights and excitement. After such a great year in 2010 it has been a very rewarding process to take stock and reflect of the journey so far.

There will be around 12-14 bright playful illustrations ranging in size from tiny ovals to large canvas prints.

If nothing else I hope the viewers are reminded of a time when;
their imaginations ran wild,
when skipping was fun,
and childhood laughter filled the air.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great! Looking forward to checking out the exhibition :0)


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