Artists in res­i­dence

The Som­er­set-based il­lus­tra­tor of beasts and bat­tle badgers in­vites us to nose around his cor­ner of cre­ativ­ity

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Ex­plore the lair of Beast Quest il­lus­tra­tor Steve Sims, and see where Tony DiTerlizzi, the artist be­hind The Spi­der­wick Chron­i­cles, makes his marks.

When I’m not in the stu­dio busily scrib­bling away with the other cre­ative types at Dy­namo, this is where I while away the hours. It’s the per­fect bal­ance be­tween a con­trolled cre­ative at­mos­phere and my de­sire to live within a chaotic, over­flow­ing archive of toys and ref­er­ence art.

Hav­ing a work area that’s part of the main liv­ing area re­ally helps pro­duc­tiv­ity. I used to have a setup in a sep­a­rate room, but found it a bit an­ti­so­cial to keep dis­ap­pear­ing into my cave. Luck­ily, when we moved house we had the space to in­cor­po­rate it all in the lounge, which gave me more scrib­bling time.

I’m not the most tech-savvy per­son, so my draw­ing tech­niques rely heav­ily on tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als. Sketch­ing, line art and ink work is some­thing I’ve al­ways loved to do, and will al­ways aim to do tra­di­tion­ally. You just can’t beat the tex­tures you get from work­ing on good ol’ pa­per and pens.

My most-used piece of kit is my de­tach­able, home-made draw­ing board. It’s some­thing that a good friend of mine loves to give me stick about – he says it’s so un­pro­fes­sional! How­ever, it’s per­fectly an­gled to my draw­ing po­si­tion and is cus­tom-made to my work en­vi­ron­ment.

The best art ma­te­ri­als aren’t al­ways the most ex­pen­sive. One of the most use­ful bits of kit I keep on my desk is a bit of pa­per with three very ba­sic bits of paint­ing ad­vice writ­ten on it. I think it’s im­por­tant to be re­minded of the ba­sics, be­cause they’re the foun­da­tions of all suc­cess­ful work.

How­ever, paint­ing is when I step into the mod­ern age; work­ing dig­i­tally in colour is so much quicker and more for­giv­ing than tra­di­tional meth­ods. After all, it’s a lot eas­ier to store files than can­vasses. Steve has il­lus­trated the Beast Quest chil­dren’s book se­ries for the past ten years. He also self­pub­lishes the Beast Hunt­ing Bat­tle Badgers comic book. You can see more of his work at http://blog.steves­im­sil­lus­tra­tion.co.uk.

I adore As­terix, I love ren­der­ing and draw­ing with as much de­tail as I can. How­ever, I al­ways re­turn to the mas­ters of car­toon­ing in or­der to avoid char­ac­ters look­ing stiff. Mon­sters, beasts and worlds of fan­tasy are the food that nour­ishes my soul. The words and worlds of var­i­ous fan­tasy books were my home grow­ing up and the fab­u­lous il­lus­tra­tions that ac­com­pa­nied these tales were what started me on the cre­ative path. A can­vas of one of the early Beast Quest cov­ers. One of many col­lab­o­ra­tions with the amaz­ing colourist Gary McNa­mara. It’s al­ways good to have some­one you’re try­ing to keep up with cre­atively. It re­ally helps to push your work. What’s cooler than an evil ninja cov­ered in ra­zor blades?! This cool dragon was a gift from my awe­some part­ner Caz. Hav­ing a loved one who en­cour­ages your cre­ativ­ity and the things that you’re pas­sion­ate about (even the geeky things) is the best and re­ally only en­cour­age­ment you ever need.

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