Most commercial illustrators are on a deadline, and deadlines often dictate the way you work and the techniques that you use. I used to love printmaking, but when you make prints (such as linocuts, monoprints) they often take a long time to prepare, and a long time to dry. I started adding special Cobalt driers to my inks, but it still took too long, so I turned to watercolour and pencil for a lot of my work.


For the illustrations in A Monster Calls, I used Monoprint, Collotype, Aquatint, Etching, and Engraving – also Nature Printing. Then I used a LOT of ink on paper, usually thrown or blown on: any old inks on any old papers. I’m not fussy with regards to materials. Some of the initial drawing was done in pencil, some in ink, some in watercolour, some in monoprint. I would then collage together marks, impressions, prints on paper, cutouts, and then create further layers and collage in Photoshop.


This technique brings with it a lot of mistakes, so about 15% or less of the original output is seen in the book. Each image has quite a few variations. The negative illustrations are just drawings and textures inverted in Photoshop, so again very simple. It’s a case of a lot of trial and error, the technique was a new one, one which I hadn’t taken on before – so I kind of made it up as I went along. I also used bleach to distress images at times, but I wouldn’t recommend this…it gets everywhere!

What techniques/materials do you use? | 2013 | FAQS