You got some great ‘How to draw’ resources and activities for kids on your site. Do you have an educational background?
No I don’t, but I do regularly visit schools, and I find that all kids are interested in drawing. I love it when a kid is surprised by what they can draw. Actually, Procreate’s also great for drawing with an audience - especially guided step-by-step drawings - and in most presentations I’ll draw both at my iPad and at my easel (with charcoal or graphite on paper).
Do you have any advice for aspiring children’s book illustrators?
The best advice I received was for my very first picture book, The Terrible Plop, written by Ursula Dubosarsky. When I first met with Ursula and the publishers, Ursula told me that she’d like the book to feel like “a surprise with each page turn.” I always think about that, about the physical experience of reading a picture book. To quote the critic Barbara Bader, picture books are a unique form of technology based on “the interdependence of pictures and words, on the simultaneous display of two facing pages, and on the drama of the turning of the page.” Or as author/illustrator/dancer/genius Remy Charlip says, “a page is a door,” and “if a door has something completely different behind it, it is much more exciting.”
Having said that, sometimes when I’m making a book, I like to think of it as something other than a book. So I might think of the book as a kind of toy, or an animation, or a game, or a giant comic strip, or even a little stage play. I always end up with a book, but I sometimes find it easier to pretend that I’m making something else entirely. Some problems are best approached indirectly.
What’s your favorite Procreate feature, and what do you enjoy about using it?
I love the brush engine, but I’m not especially technical, so I mainly use trial and error to get the results I want. But that’s probably why I love it, because it is so responsive and open to trial and error. In general though, I think my favourite thing with Procreate is its general usability and simplicity - the fact that the technology is invisible (or only visible when you want it to to be visible) so I never feel like I’m working with software. It also feels connected to the user’s gestures and hands, to the physical action of drawing and painting, in a very natural and organic way. And perhaps one more: this is quite a minor thing, but when it comes to making books, I feel like I can put the whole book in front of me very easily, just by using the preview mode in the gallery. I can flick through pages to gauge the flow of the story and illustrations and then quickly return to a drawing.
If you could add one feature to Procreate what would it be?
This is coming from a position of relative ignorance, but could there be some way of incorporating some of the randomness of printmaking into a drawing (maybe I guess as a kind of layer effect)? Perhaps this already exists or can be achieved in a few different steps. In general, though, software seems to be all about control, and making controls finer and more detailed. Yet a lot of art is about embracing some element of randomness. I’m interested in incorporating some random or uncontrolled elements into my own drawings and I’ve wondered how an app like Procreate could incorporate that, and perhaps even make it useful and expressive.
Discover Andrew’s wonderful books and illustrations or create something with one of his activity sheets at andrewjoyner.com.au.