Within the studio with Peter Williamson, illustrator of Wild Matters

Pete sketching in his studio in Kent, England © Pete Williamson

Pete Williamson’s illustrations typically depict ominous scenes and darkish landscapes, however his newest mission concerned illustrating unicorns, fairies and monsters for our new Lonely Planet Youngsters title Wild Matters. We chatted to Pete on how he bought inspiration from strolling within the woods together with his daughter and the way he began out illustrating books.

Inform us in regards to the transient

The transient was to create participating characters and pictures to encourage youngsters to get outdoor and use their creativeness – whether or not it’s magical adventures, in search of fairies, witches, dragons, portals to different worlds or making potions. My daughter was eight when the transient arrived and already actually beloved going out into the woods and fields on the finish of our backyard and making potions from petals, mud and anything that caught her creativeness; so this was a mission that I actually recognized with and was completely satisfied to be concerned in. Loads of it was illustrated throughout a warmth wave so I did a whole lot of wandering within the cool of the woods for inspiration.

How did you make a begin?

I work in a really conventional means. I begin with actually free pencil sketches on paper then hint my sketches onto Fabriano artwork paper, ink them up after which scan into Photoshop the place, if obligatory, I clear the pictures up digitally. I take advantage of easy copy paper as a substitute of fancy sketchbooks that I’d be nervous about spoiling with errors, as I needed the illustrations to have the sensation of power that youngsters’s drawings have.

This transient referred to as particularly for a sketchy pencil fashion and illustrations that could possibly be positioned round textual content and images, nearly as if somebody had taken the guide out with them on a stroll, and had imagined ‘wild matters’ and scribbled them down earlier than they forgot them.

It was attention-grabbing to complete the illustrations at an earlier stage of their creation than I normally would. It felt like very pure drawing as I didn’t ink within the line work or add watercolour; it was all simply pencil and paper, and I feel that simplicity of expression fitted in properly with the Wild Matters ethos.

Have been there any challenges?

After illustrating 65 or so youngsters’s books, I discover the principal problem is to not repeat myself whereas on the identical time working inside my established fashion. This mission referred to as for topics that I wouldn’t normally draw (no darkish atmospheric landscapes, odd creatures or eerie, bizarre laboratories) and utilizing strategies I not often use, so the mission was enjoyable all through. For me, the preliminary sketching is without doubt one of the most energetic, thrilling instances within the creation of a guide, so being briefed to create purely in that sketchy fashion was nice.

What’s the one merchandise in your studio you’ll be able to’t stay with out?

I feel it must be a black and white {photograph} I’ve hanging above my drawing desk. It’s of the musicians John Zorn and Sylvie Courvoisier taking part in, I feel, some form of improvised duet in a small room in New York. I simply know that the music is unusual, lovely and trustworthy – pure imaginative expression. The photograph is a continuing wake-up name that jogs my memory to attempt for artistic integrity always

How did you get into illustrating books?

I labored as a designer in animation for over a decade however I used to be at all times inquisitive about illustrating in youngsters’s books as my very first influences had been image books similar to Dr Seuss, Maurice Sendak and Asterix.

I uploaded a personality from an animated movie I used to be co-creating to my web site and it was seen by two artwork administrators who had been in search of ‘darkish’ and ‘quirky’ illustrations for Man Bass’s Dinkin Dings and the Horrifying Matters and The Raven Mysteries by Marcus Sedgwick. These two commissions had been actually profitable (every successful a Blue Peter prize) and led to additional guide sequence with Marcus and Man and likewise with many different writers, together with Francesca Simon, Matt Haig , Steve Cole and even Charles Dickens!

Proper now I’m engaged on my 67th guide – a model new collaboration with Man Bass, which is trying nice. I’m additionally beginning to present my work in galleries and it’s had a very optimistic response.

The place on the planet are you based mostly?

I’m based mostly in Kent, 50 minutes outdoors London, just about surrounded by woods and fields.

Observe Pete’s drawings @pete.williamson.illustration.

Some sketchy trying characters…
Numerous fairies for Wild Matters
One other assortment of cute critters
Getting caught into the legendary creatures
Experimenting with some magical pure supplies
Fairy feast: Peter’s illustrations overlaid within the guide.
Unicorns and dragons
One other overlaid unicorn sketch
The entrance cowl of Wild Matters




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