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“I live in Atlanta, Georgia, but most of my illustration work comes from the book publishing industry in New York City. I am fortunate to have illustrated two Stephen King novels and now I am illustrating for children. In 1978, I discovered the joys of working in pen and ink. It is a medium of many riches. I’ve spent half a lifetime exploring its potentials. My first ink drawings were landscapes and I used to use a crow quill pen. As I began to draw for magazines and ad agencies, I switched to rOtring Rapidographs. It is my favourite rOtring pen.
Today I use it in my work as a book illustrator. Pen and ink purists might advocate for the crow quill because you can change the thickness of the line — the harder you press, the more ink drains, and the fatter the line. For me, however, I am able to modulate line widths (enough to my liking) by tilting the rapidograph for a thin line and holding it upright for a wide one. The rOtring rapidograph also uses a very black rOtring ink compared with other pens; even its smallest size points maintain this blackness and this is critical for measuring values which will be conveyed as the drawing is published.
I use Tikky mechanical pencils. This might also go against tradition. My mother’s father was an architectural draftsman. He was also a fine artist who did beautiful nature drawings in pencil. He gave the pencil an extremely fine point by shaving it with a knife. For a long time, I did the same thing, and I tried sandpaper too. Then I discovered mechanical pencils and they are far superior. With deadlines chasing me all day, they are obviously more convenient because you can get a fine point with the click of a button. But, more importantly, mechanical pencils glide on the paper as your drawing hand sweeps around so that you feel that you are drawing in the most natural way; graphite pencils, by comparison, now feel coarse against paper. Tikky pencils have a perfect weight too. And, no other pencil manufacturer offers the leads (in darknesses and widths) that rOtring does.
Inspiration for my work comes from deep inside me. Things that trigger it are music, beauty in nature, memories, and daydreams. When I’m given a manuscript to illustrate, I read it and start daydreaming about what would make the most powerful and beautiful images for its theme, action, characters and plot. For the first day or so after I’ve finished reading, I don’t do any pencil sketches; I just fantasise about the story.
I feel very fortunate to have worked in so many genres over the years: architectural, editorial (magazine and newspaper), product ads for agencies, and now, book illustration. I am illustrating two middle-grade (ages 9–12) series for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I am currently at work on a 30th Anniversary limited edition of Pet Sematary for PS Publishing in the UK. I have three titles coming out this year: The Watcher in the Shadows by Chris Moriarty hits stores on 28 May. The Tower of the Five Orders by Deron R. Hicks hits stores on 8 October and Pet Sematary publishes in November.”
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