Today I’m pleased to welcome Chris Rivers Nuttall to the blog. Chris is the illustrator of the Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventure books, written by Natalie Page, the latest being Tinsel Town which was published on 7 November 2016.
Chris kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us about Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventures: Tinsel Town
2. What is the process you take to produce illustrations? How long does it take from idea to final picture?
For these illustrations it usually starts with a very basic pencil sketch to get a rough idea of each image and where the charactors will fit within that image. I don’t like to do to much on the sketches as I perfect to go with the flow once I’m doing the actual paintings. The paintings are all then done using oils, its the only paints I work with, the drying time is really slow which isn’t good when working on a deadline but the paints allow a lot of flexibility.
I added some touches digitally on Tinsel Town, for sparkle effects etc, this was all done in the final stages.
3. How important do you think illustrations are to a children’s book? What do they add to the story?
My advice would be draw / paint whatever you want and whatever feels natural, you have to enjoy what your doing as well, otherwise the images would suffer. Also, try to be as original as possible and don’t be afraid to take a risk if you have an idea, it’s good to take yourself out of a comfort zone. Anything to do with arts is very competitive so you’ve got to stand out from the crowd and find you’re vibe.. as far as it being a career, very few people get to the point where they can call it their full time career but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it alongside whatever else in your life you have going on! That’s what I do. Also, try and find a good writer to partner up with! Again, that’s what I did!
5. What do you do when you aren’t illustrating? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I’m a father of twin girls who recently turned 1 and I also play drums in a rock band called Heaven’s Basement which I’ve done full time for the whole of my adult life, so relax time doesn’t happen much, but I love being busy with my art, music and of course my family.
6. Is there a book you wish you had illustrated?