What advice do you give to aspiring illustrators?
Keep practising! Draw every day, don't give up and remember that to produce anything really worthwhile takes a long time.
How do I go about getting work as an illustrator?
I really don't think there is a cut and dried answer to this question (which I do get asked a lot). The best advice I can offer is to ensure you have a comprehensive portfolio of your strongest images. Try every avenue you can think of within the field and don't lose your motivation or inspiration even when the going gets tough (the first time I approached Terry Pratchett with my artwork I was unsuccessful, so I tried again four months later and we began working together). An up to date copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook is very useful too.
Do you base your characters on real people?
I often look at photographs of faces in my reference collection to establish the look I'm after. I don't usually set out to make a character resemble anyone in particular, but sometimes it just happens that they do.
Who are your favourite artists?
Arthur Rackham, Alphonse Mucha, Alan Lee, Norman Rockwell, Auguste Rodin, Mike Mignola, Gustav Klimt, Jamie Hewlett, J.W. Waterhouse and Lucien Freud are my current top ten, but there are loads more that I think are brilliant. I have a big collection of art books which I often reference. Better than anything is getting out to visit galleries and exhibitions as it's great to see the artwork 'in the flesh'.
What materials do you use to create your artwork and sculptures?
I work in acrylics or oils on illustration board or watercolour paper. I occasionally use an airbrush and sometimes I give the image a little tweak in photoshop. I always use a sharp H, F, H.B. or B pencil.
When I am sculpting I work in Chavant (an oil based clay that I buy from Tirantis). My bronzes are cast at the foundry using the lost wax process.
Where do you get your ideas?
I was always blessed with an over-active imagination, not great when you are four and you are convinced there are dinosaurs in the hall in the middle of the night!
The natural world is a constant source of inspiration for me, I try to go for a walk every day in the countryside.
I enjoy watching films to see how other people have realised characters and environments and I read lots of reference books on all sorts of things.
What size do you do your final paintings?
If I am doing a book jacket, I tend to use the dimensions 520 x 775mm.
Pencil drawings are usually produced on A4 or A3 cartridge paper.
Although occasionally I get self indulgent and do something much, much bigger.
Are your originals for sale?
Most of my originals are for sale. I am represented by Art of the Imagination, based in Salisbury, Wiltshire who exhibit my work at shows and art fairs around the country.
Gallery Daniel Maghen in Paris also have a collection of my originals for sale.
Do you accept commissions?
Usually my work schedule is pretty full, but if you are interested in commissioning artwork please email me to discuss it.
Do you draw from life?
As often as possible...
Can I get a tattoo done of your work?
Yes, if you are willing to suffer for my art. I recommend you look at the approved and licensed Kidby flash sheets at www.jennyclarkedesign.com before you commit needle to flesh...
Can you sign my stuff?
If you would like me to sign something for you (books, autographs etc) please write to my P.O Box with instructions including the goods for signing, don't forget to include a self-addressed and postage paid envelope for the return journey. I don't sign things for re-sale, just one or two pieces per person for your private collection.
Can I use your images?
I am the copyright owner of all my artwork. If you are interested in purchasing rights to reproduce images please contact me. If you are unsure about copyright in any way it is best to check first. If you would like to use a few of my illustrations on your blog please stick to the following guidelines:
Personal/Non-profit use only. You cannot use my artwork if you are running a commercial site.
Acknowledge copyright. Please credit me, Paul Kidby, as the artist alongside the image.
Link to www.paulkidby.net and/or facebook.com/paulkidby alongside the image.
No modification. You can crop my work but don't digitally manipulate it into a composite image.
The art that I create is my only source of income and whilst I am happy you are a fan of it, I trust that you will not infringe my copyright, thank you.