We caught up with Bright Literary star David Litchfield, to discuss his career so far in the industry with exciting deals made by Anne Moore Armstrong and how he honed his delicate yet bold style that clients love so much…
1. What inspired your debut author/illustrated book ‘The Bear & The Piano (publishing with Frances Lincoln)?
A lot of things really. I wanted to tell a tale of friendship and belonging but also its about when you have a talent and want to pursue that talent you have to work hard and make sacrifices. Any musician, artist or creative person has to go through a few drastic changes and leave their natural habitat to get to where they want to be. That all sounds quite full on, but I promise its done in a very sweet and happy way!
Pre-order ‘The Bear & The Piano’ HERE
2. An artist’s studio space is very unique to it’s owner – what’s yours like?
Well, in September last year a few of my friends and I set up our own studio space called Animal Studios. Its great, it’s a place we can go and work, talk about ideas and just get out of houses and be around people. Sometimes being an illustrator can be quite solitary, working on your own and intensely drawing, but with Animal we now have a space to take our laptops and sketchbooks and work together. Its great. It also has a gallery attached to it so we can exhibit our work there too.
3. When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
Well, I have always drawn and enjoyed making comics and books for my friends and family. But it wasn’t until 2010 that I realized I could potentially make drawing my job. I came to this realization fairly late in life so I thought I needed to catch up and learn as much as possible. To help with this I did a year long ‘Drawing A Day’ project where I drew one illustration a day and immediately put them on Facebook and twitter to receive feedback. It was a great project that helped me develop as an illustrator and experiment with techniques and materials, but also it got me a bit of notice from publishers and agencies who were all following the project on-line. After the year had finished I exhibited all 365 illustrations in a few places, which was also pretty cool.
Oh blimey, hundreds. I can’t throw them away. Each sketchbook contains ideas that I could one day go back to.
5. What is your preferred medium?
I like using all sorts of mediums really. Whatever suits the project is the best medium. I generally use pen, ink and pencil crayons to begin with and then combine all this with other textures on Photoshop.
6. Who inspires your work?
My life long inspiration is Albert Uderzo who drew the Asterix books. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have Asterix books around. I practiced drawing by copying Asterix, Obelix, Getafix and all of those great characters.
I also find Sylvan Chomet, Oliver Jeffers and Jon Klassen to be hugely influential on my work.
7. What’s your favourite illustrated character? (yours or anothers)
Asterix is obviously up there. Out of my own I do like ‘The Bear’ from ‘The Bear & The Piano’. I’m having fun drawing him and trying to convey kind of recognizable human emotions but in bear form…if you see what I mean.
8. Have you found digital platforms to be a help or hinderance to your own work?
A help definitely. I owe so much to Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc. They are great devices for building a following and getting noticed. My ‘Drawing A Day’ project was just unusual enough to stand out from a quite crowded market place. I teach and run work shops a lot and what I tell art and design students is that you have to do something thats unusual and will capture people imagination, and stick with it.
9. What has been your favourite project to work on so far in your career?
What I’m doing now is actually unbelievable. Working on my first book that I have both wrote and illustrated is a complete dream come true. Working on ‘The Bear & The Piano’ will always be a very special period of my life. It will be published later this year by Frances Lincoln which is hugely exciting.
10. Can you give us some hints to your upcoming projects?
Yes, the last few months have been crazy and I am also working on two other exciting books. One is called ‘The Building Boy’ which I am illustrating for Ross Montgomery and will be published by Faber & Faber next year. It’s a beautiful story about a boy who builds a giant Granny out of bits of houses.
As well as that I’m illustrating a book called ‘Miss Muffet, or What Happened After’ which is written by the legendary Marylyn Singer. It’s a crazy singing and dancing sequel to Miss Muffet that combines all kinds of characters and situations from fairy tales. That will also be published next year by Clarion Books.
So its a very busy but very, very exciting time at the moment.
See David‘s Literary portfolio here
See David‘s Children’s illustration here