Zoe Sadler Author, Illustrator and Ink Spiller

FAQ'S - ART & ILLUSTRATION

What mediums do you work in? What art techniques do you use?

Where do you get your inspiration and who are your artistic influences?

How do you come up with your ideas and stories? What is your writing process?

How do you develop your characters/artwork?

What size do you create your final artworks?

What was the first  book you ever made? What was the first book you had published?

How many books have your written or illustrated?

How long does it take you to make a children's book?

Do you prefer writing or illustrating your books?

Have you always had the same style to your work? Has it changed?

Can I commission a piece of artwork from you?

What mediums do you work in? What art techniques do you use?

 

I am very traditional in my approach to my illustration work and I don't use a computer at all until the final stage, which just involves scanning my work in and tidying up any stray edges or lines. Sometimes I also use the computer to move around and resize things to fit my final layouts better.

 

I sketch my outlines in pencil and redraw them until I am happy with how my artwork looks. I then use paint, most often acrylics but occasionally a bit of watercolour. The last part is my favourite bit as I love detail! I add my inky outlines to my illustrations to pick up all the fine details. I either use my trusty dip-pen and ink or my favourite Rotring Rapidograph ink pens.

Can I use your artwork and images for personal or commercial use?

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Where do you get your inspiration and who are your artistic influences?

 

I am mostly inspired by the things I see everyday. Like a simple walk in the woods or seeing an imposing lighthouse on a cliff. I enjoy watching life play out in front of me. I like to take something from the everyday and put my own spin on it, make it extraordinary!

 

I read a lot, so books play a huge part in what inspires me. I love a range of children's book illustrators such as David Roberts, Oliver Jeffers, Chris Riddell, Maurice Sendak and Korky Paul who illustrated Winnie the Witch. I also love darker works such as Tim Burton and Edward Gorey and I think these influences can often be seen reflected in my work. I also adore fairytale artists Arthur Rackham and Brian Froud.

 

There are far to many inspirations and illustrators I admire to list them all but these are just a few of my favourites.

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Monster Messages - Rainbow Unicorn Monster

How do you develop your characters/artwork?

 

For me, this can be the most frustrating part of being an illustrator. Occasionally I can draw something first time and it is perfect. However more than likely I have to redraw a character several times and spend a good few hours refining the details especially if it is a complicated spread.

 

I do have a trick to make things easier for myself and that is simply to use very thin layout paper to sketch on. I then keep redrawing the scene or character by tracing my drawn image over and over again until I get it just the way I want it. I go through a lot of layout paper!

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How do you come up with your ideas for stories? What is your writing process?

 

Being an illustrator first, an idea for a story usually comes from something I have drawn. I'll take something that has inspired me when out and about and I'll draw a character or series of images and play around with them. Eventually one or two of these ideas starts to form into a series of images and then a storyboard. They are usually just scribbly sketches at this point. I'll then start refining the storyboard and adding some words to the pages. There is usually a lot of re-jigging until I get the words and images to work together. It is a little like a puzzle for me and eventually it all fits into place.

 

I tend to keep my picture book stories fairly simple with minimal text. I let the illustrations elaborate or fill in the rest of the story.

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What size do you create your final artworks?

 

I usually draw to fit the scale of the book I am working on. I have a tendancy to draw things a  bit to small sometimes so lately I have been trying to upscale my drawings so I can get more detail in. I also really like it when you then scale them down and the details ends up looking even more impressive.

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What was the first book you ever made? What was the first book you had published?

 

I made quite a few art books when I was little and at school. I was always doing something creative. The first real book I made was at art school - it was a picture book called Eccentri-city. It was about all of these really eccentric people that lived on the same street. It was a lot of fun to make and it was at this point I realised I wanted to be a children's book illustrator.

 

I have worked on a few publishing projects over the years for books and magazines but The Lighthouse Keeper is the first book I wrote and illustrated myself and then published.

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How many books have your written or illustrated?

 

I am currently working on my third picture book which will be published in June 2018.

 

I have also illustrated quite a few books over the years for both publishing companies and independent authors. Particularly when I worked as an illustrator and book designer for a small London publisher. I have also provided book cover illustrations for children's novels and worked for a handful of magazines providing editorial illustrations.

Monster Messages - Fairy Godmother Monster

How long does it take you to make a children's picture book?

 

It varies as I tend to sit on story ideas for a while before I do much with them. I sat on the story of The Lighthouse Keeper for a couple of years before I did anything with it. Once I decide to get underway with a story and work on the illustrations I would say it usually takes 3-4 months from start to finish. However quite often I am juggling lots of other projects and have to fit illustrating my own books around other illustration work so it can take a lot longer.

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Do you prefer writing or illustrating your books?

 

This is an easy question to answer. Definitely illustrating! It comes much easier to me than writing. As Chris Riddell once said in a tweet "I write so I can do the illustrations". Although the more I write the more I enjoy it. I have to say I would really like to try my hand at writing something longer. We shall see if I can, so watch this space...

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Have you always had the same style to your work? Has it changed?

 

I would stay my style has definitely been refined over the years. But I would say it has always had the same quality to it. The characters and scenes I draw have got more and more stylised and a bit more unique to me as I have progressed. I am constantly improving and refining my work as I always feel I can do better.

 

Interestingly I was very much encouraged to experiment and loosen up my drawing when I was training as an illustrator and yet I always go back to my detailed drawing techniques and my pen and ink. I would say however I do now have areas in my work where I loosen up more and have less detail, to compliment the more detailed busier areas of my work.

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Can I commission a piece of artwork from you?

 

I am afraid unless it is a book related commission I cannot take on private artwork commissions at this time. I now work full time on my children's  book commission work and on Inkyeverafter Press and both are currently keeping me very busy.

 

I do however appreciate you thinking of me.

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Monster Messages - Love Monster

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Can I use your artwork and images for personal or commercial use?

 

If you wish to re-use my artwork to make money then this is for commercial use and you may not use or reproduce my illustrations in any way for profit without a license. You can contact me to request a license but this will have to be paid for.

 

If you wish to use my work for personal or non-profit use I have no problem with this. I just ask if you share or display my work in any form that you acknowledge copyright and credit me as the artist. A link back to the source of the image such as my website or social media page would also be appreciated.

 

Although I do not mind you cropping my artwork please do not alter or distort my artwork in any way.

 

If you would like to use any of my work as a tattoo or similar I would be delighted. Do send me a photo as I would love to see it!

 

 
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