Monday, 13 April 2009

Martin Salisbury

Martin Salisbury, studied at Maidstone College of art in the 1970's he has been an Illustrator and painter ever since, most recently, his work has been focused around the area of childrens book illustrations, and in 2003, he wrote, 'illustrating children's books'. I know him most commonly for this book 'play pen' a beautifully illustrated book of which demonstrates new trends of childrens illustration. 

My work isn't necessarily based around children's book illustrations, yet as it has been developing it is an area i have looked into, and taken notice of. My work demonstrates various mixed media techniques, but has recently been inspired with shape and character after starting to create images for an Enid Blyton novel, 'Mr Galliano's Circus'.

More importantly, I had emailed Salisbury a while back about his inspirations, to start me of with his knowledge of children's books, and his background, ((these questions were for another brief but i chose to include them to back up more questions, presently that will follow and tie in.)).. The questions follow.. 

Dear Martin,

I have recently been reading your 'play pen' book, it is brilliant, and some of the work within is remarkable, particularly by 'Istvan Schitter' and 'Ragnar Aalbu' but primarily, 'Kristin Roskifte'. I tink the concept of the piece with the book is gorgeous! It makes you look and assess every character within the illustration. Brilliant! I am also quite fond of the work of Harriet Russell but have been unable to get hold of her, sadly.

  • How do you develop your ideas?
ideas- Im not an 'ideas person' as such. As a painter/illustrator, my particular preoccupations are with landscape and atmosphere or 'sense of place.' Ideas are visual motifs for me. I get a sense of something I want to make images around. So as an illustrator, if art directors are doing their job, they commission me to illustrate texts that reflect my particular preoccupations or themes.
  • Who/what inspires you to create your pieces and what processes and practises do you go through when answering a brief for a client?
Inspiration/ influence - see above but I am influenced by the british 'neo-romantics' of the 40sand 50's - John Minton, John Piper, Keith Vaughan. Also Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious. My work has changed a lot in recent years. I try to approach a brief through landscape/place etc. I draw various compositions in the sketchbooks and am increasingly using ink and gouache for painting, rather than watercolour which i used for years.
  • Have you any favourite jobs?
Favourite jobs- The book cover for 'the midnight fox' by betsy byers was nice because the writing is good and allowed me to focus on a sense of place.
  • How did you get from being a design student to part of the design industry?
I studied at Maidstone College of art in the 70s. In those days you did graphic design but my course was the first to split into GD and illustration as separate routes while I was there. I only ever wanted to draw for living. There was far less competition in those days (very few illustrators). I just walked into a publisher with my portfolio and they gave me a book to do! (even though I wasn't very good!)

Thankyou very much!


I am now in the process of mailing him more technical ideas relating to the design industries, of which, I am awaiting a reply.

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