Scientist by day, artist by night
Geothermal science and illustrating children’s books are two interests you would not expect to go hand-in-hand.
Fortunately scientist Brian Lovelock somehow finds the time to do both.
There is a fine line between doing too little and too much with pictures, but Lovelock says illustrators need to ‘‘ take risks’’.
‘‘With art you need to let yourself go,’’ he says.
‘‘You often end up with some happy accidents.’’
It is no accident that Lovelock has been nominated as a finalist for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Construction, written by fellow Aucklander Sally Sutton, has been selected as a finalist in the picture book category. It is the third book Lovelock has illustrated for Sutton’s Roadworks and Demolition series.
‘‘There’s so much talent in New Zealand,’’ Lovelock says.
‘‘It’s always nice to get recognised amongst other talented people.’’
Lovelock, who lives in Mt Eden, has illustrated seven children’s books over the last 10 years while juggling his career as a geothermal scientist.
‘‘I’ve been painting and drawing all my life,’’ he says.
‘‘The idea was suggested to me through a group of friends who had connections in the children’s book industry.
‘‘In science it’s quite a precise discipline . . . you’ve got to have an open mind for both.’’
This is the second time Lovelock and Sutton have been nominated, winning the same category in 2009. The winning book Roadworks was the first illustration Lovelock had completed.
‘‘That was a big deal because I was just starting out,’’ he says.
Lovelock spends nine to 12 months working on a picture book in his spare time. He admits he sometimes manages to paint himself into a corner.
‘‘The paintings can be quite challenging sometimes,’’ he says.
‘‘I use quite broad wash. Because everything is so loose you can often destroy the painting.’’
Creative issues aside, illustration is something Lovelock will not be giving up any time soon.
‘‘The people in the children’s book industry are really nice. A lot of people do it for love, not money.’’