Talking Story

Corey Egbert, Illustrator for One Boy, No Water

Today’s post is an interview with Corey Egbert, illustrator for One Boy, No Water. Corey was gracious enough drop by to answer a few questions.

Did you always want to be an illustrator?

No. When I was 6 years old, I wanted to be a scientist/nature photographer. Then when I was about 9, I wanted to be a Lego master builder. Even now I secretly wish I could be a travel show host. But I knew I loved to draw since before I can remember, and I’ve always loved books. So I figured illustration would be a perfect job because it is a combination of both of those.

What’s your preferred medium? Would you rather sketch on paper or on a computer?

I wish I was patient enough to do all my work on paper. If I did though, I would have to erase far too much and it would take forever!

I always start out with a pencil drawing in my sketchbook and then I scan it into the computer. The computer lets me do so much in a short amount of time, and if I want to change something, I can do it really easily without having to start over. But even though it’s on the computer, it’s still drawing. I still have to know all the components of art like scale, value, line, perspective, etc. The computer is just a tool.

Northbridge Castle by Corey Egbert

One Boy, No Water is the first book you’ve illustrated. How is book illustration different from some of the other projects you’ve worked on?

Book illustration is different than doing other art because you have to create images based on someone else’s ideas instead of your own. The author created the characters, objects and world, and you have to draw them to be true to the story. I had to do a lot of research, ask a lot of questions, and sometimes revise my drawings multiple times to get them right. It really helped me grow as an artist because it pushed me to take my artwork farther than I would have on my own.

Which part of the process did you enjoy the most?

I really loved the challenge of taking characters that are only described in words and turning them into something that you can look at. The kids were very fun to draw because they each have different personalities. I enjoyed working on Zader because I felt like I could relate to him, especially since he is an artist too.

From One Boy, No Water, illustration by Corey Egbert

Which illustration from One Boy, No Water is your favorite?

I would have to say the one with Zader and Dream Girl and the castle. It was the hardest one for me to do. I worked on it forever and I really wasn’t pleased with what I was coming up with. I dreaded working on it and actually saved it for the night before my deadline! I ended up throwing my first version away and completely starting over. I am really pleased with how it eventually turned out. Castles have always been one of my favorite things to draw.

Now for the really important questions: Crayons or markers?

Haha. When I was a kid I thought crayons were for babies so I used markers. I like the deep, even colors and finer lines you get with markers. Crayons are too hard to control.

Favorite color?

Whenever I am asked this, I always say that I like all colors because I am an artist. I just can’t decide.

Who are some of the illustrators you admire?

Maurice Sendak who created Where the Wild Things Are is one of my very favorites and possibly the most influential children’s book illustrator ever. I also used to try to copy the style of Eyvind Earle who did the background art for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Pauline Baynes, who illustrated the original editions of The Chronicles of Narnia was a big influence, too. I also love Glen Keane, Richard Scarry, Edward Gorey, Mary Blair, Kali Ciesemier, Chris Van Allsburg, Paul O. Zelinsky and Carson Ellis, to just name a few.

When you were eleven did you have a favorite cartoon or tv show?

I really liked the show Recess. I love how the playground was a microcosmic empire ruled by kids. It was full of wars, politics, economics… everything, just on a kid scale. I’m still waiting for that show to come out in a DVD collection.

What’s your favorite middle grade book?

There are too many to pick just one! I love Narnia, Harry Potter, the Prydain books, Tuck Everlasting, My Side of the Mountain, The Phantom Tollbooth, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, A Wrinkle In Time, The Giver, The Little Prince… and more. I still read middle grade books, and I can’t wait until my son is old enough so I can read my favorites to him!

Any words of wisdom for burgeoning illustrators who are considering illustration as a career?

Doodle every day! Keep a sketchbook. Learn the fundamentals of art like shape, color, line, value, balance, rhythm, etc. Learn to draw the human figure. Draw your friends and family! Invent your own characters and draw them doing different things. Try to tell a story with your drawings. Observe the world around you. And keep challenging yourself!

Thanks for stopping by, Corey! One Boy, No Water is available in hardback, trade paperback, and ebook on September 29, 2012 wherever books are sold.

Follow Cory on his blog: http://stevencoreyart.blogspot.com/

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One Boy, No Water
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Because even out of the water Zader's not safe.
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Zader's greatest fear walks the shore.