Please welcome our first illustrator to the blog!
Cole Roberts is the illustrator for NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. Cole started work in December and finished in early March, in plenty of time for the 50th anniversary of Neil’s moon walk. As you read his interview, you’ll get a feel for how he brings his characters to life. Budding artists/aspiring illustrators, check out his tips to improve your art.
Can you share a photograph of your creative work space with us and talk us through what your typical day at work consists of?
A typical work day starts off with lots of hot coffee, a little quiet time and reading, then answering e-mails, more coffee, then I schedule out the day and start on my list of things to do. I'll usually knock a task or two off before lunch time. That’s an hour or so I can spend with my wife and daughter. Then it's back to work, drawing and creating. Before I know, it's time for afternoon coffee, then a few tasks before wrapping up for the day!
Here’s a toughie for you! Describe your illustration style in ten words or less!
Sunday paper comics mixed with mid-century style Golden Books.
What is your favorite thing to draw and why?
I love drawing characters. I love pushing myself to create a memorable character with lots of personality whether the traits are fun, sad, happy, mean or scared. Exploring what makes a character "them" is always the most fun.
What is your favorite part of the illustration process?
Probably the line work. I love everything about drawing but when doing the line work, I start to see things take shape and it's always exciting to see where it goes.
Do you have any challenges to overcome when you’re illustrating something?
All illustrations present challenges. When illustrating for a book the biggest challenges are keeping the character consistent. Making sure each character looks the same from page to page is always the hard part!
What is your all-time favorite children’s book you didn’t illustrate? Why do you love it so much?
For me it's a toss-up between WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak or THE STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLY STUPID TALES illustrated by Lane Smith. Both books are very different visually but they’ve always appealed to me because of their distinct styles, use of color, mood and storytelling.
What is the most useful piece of advice you could give to a budding artist / aspiring illustrator out there?
Draw everything, and draw all the time. While I love to draw characters, making picture books has forced me to learn more about storytelling and drawing the environment. So, draw your bedroom, or living room. Draw what's on your desk. Study light and shadows. They don't seem glamorous as case studies or stand-alone pictures, but when you put them together with your characters, it all needs to work together. Keep a sketch book, and try to draw for at least 20 minutes a day. Do that, and you're sure to improve over time.
To find out more about Cole Roberts, follow lifeofcole on Instagram or check out his website at: coleswork.com.