Developing a Style

Rabbit - lonelyA friend of mine recently asked how I found my illustration style. What I like about this question is that it made me realise how far I’ve come. Not long ago, I still felt I was struggling to find myself as an illustrator. But when I stood back, I realised that I am starting to develop more of a brand – a consistent style that could become uniquely recognised as mine (I hope).

But how did I get here? At school I loved drawing cartoons, copying Loony-Toons and Warner Brother’s characters and even creating a few of my own. As my art developed it became a lot like my personality – quite finicky and perfectionistic, something that drove my senior art teacher mad. He taught me to loosen up and explore other techniques, which I’ll be ever grateful for.

When I first became interested in illustration, my beginning years were spent imitating (not intentionally) the styles of those whose art inspired me. People like Stephen Michael King, Oliver Jeffers, Lauren Child and Tohby Riddle. I can still see their lingering influence on my work. My mum inspired my use of watercolour, a medium she’s always been passionate about. My use of collage comes from having always loved textural art that draws you in and makes you want to touch it. I’m also influenced by anime and manga, an art form and style of storytelling I adore. Studying graphic design and learning about art history also helped. Along the way I picked up things I liked and left behind those I didn’t. The more I drew, the more my own style began to emerge.

I always say that I use the computer to construct my art because I’m an anxious illustrator. In the end, that finicky part of me has crept back in and actually helped to develop my style (my art teacher would be disappointed!). The computer allows me to experiment with colours and textures while being able to go back, or move the composition around if I change my mind. It takes away my anxiety of doing something ‘wrong’.

I hope my style never truly stops developing. I know each project I tackle challenges me in new ways. Someone once said that the day that your craft becomes easy is the day you should stop. I’ve posted my latest project below: a few early sketches of some monsters who’ve been running around my head.



5 Responses to “Developing a Style”

  1. 1 Lynn Priestley July 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I love your monsters. I have monsters of my own making running around in my head but they aren’t lovely monsters like yours! I much prefer your monsters.

  2. 2 Kat Apel July 28, 2009 at 10:51 am

    You have a whimsical, simplistic, clean style, Kath. One that few can achieve! Glad to see you’re owning the title ‘illustrator’ – because it certainly fits you!

  3. 3 Katherine Battersby July 28, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Thanks Lynn – they may look like cute monsters, but they’re far from innocent! They’re quite mischievous.

    Kat, thanks for the encouragement! I’m slowly starting to feel more comfortable calling myself an illustrator…

  4. 4 savingaussiebooks July 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Yes, they do look rather naughty, the type to tear up the carpet! And I’m all for tearing up the carpet. :)

  5. 5 Katherine Battersby July 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Sheryl, I’ve often noted a rather cheeky, fiery streak in you – maybe you can mind my monsters while I’m away?

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

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