Sci­en­tist by day, artist by night

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ALASTAIR LYNN

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.’’

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