My newest picture book releases Monday! Yep. June 1st. Can’t wait! In the meantime, I thought it might be fun for you to meet the illustrator for I Can Talk to God.
As the writer, I provide the text and set the tone for the book. It’s the illustrator who brings my words to life on the page. For my 31st children’s book, that artist is Patrick Carlson.
Patrick Carlson shares his story and some tips for those dreaming of being cartoonists and illustrators . . .
In 1981 I was featured in my local paper with my first comic strip. It was a terrible piece of art about a bird named Bingo.
That one strip was the spark that ignited my love for cartooning. From that day on, I knew what I wanted to be: a cartoonist. I fell in love with the work of Walt Disney, Charles Shultz, Jim Davis, and Dik Browne.
I spent hours drawing my favorite characters and creating my own comic strips. I studied the tools of the trade and the methods of career cartoonists.
Decades later, I am sitting in my own office with my own tools of the trade, which have changed dramatically from the studios of my childhood.
I don’t use paper or pencil, ink or paint, but a 24-inch Wacom tablet to draw directly on the screen.I don't use paper or pencil, ink or paint, but a 24-inch Wacom tablet to draw directly on the screen. Click To Tweet
I still study the art of fellow cartoonists and have learned some valuable lessons over the years. One of the most important (and hardest to accept) lessons is not to compare yourself to other artists. My style is MY style. My art is uniquely MINE.One of the most important (and hardest) lessons is not to compare yourself to other artists. Click To Tweet
My process begins, I would imagine like most artists, with a sketch.
For this, I use Photoshop. It’s rough, with not a lot of detail, just to give an idea of what the basic layout will be.
After a back and forth with the client for any revisions, I will take my sketch into Adobe Illustrator, where I will use a variety of tools to create line art. Then, I add color, shading and any special effects in Adobe Illustrator.
Over the years, my work and style have been refined. An artist’s work never stays the same. I learn new styles, new techniques to apply, and figure out what an unused button in my drawing program can do!I learn new styles, new techniques to apply, and figure out what an unused button in my drawing program can do! Click To Tweet
I also become more thankful for the gift I have been given and do my best to use it for the purpose God has for my life.
For the new artist out there, my message would be to . . .
Never settle on what your talents can do now. Learn. Improve.
Don’t compare yourself to other artists.
Your art is your art. Your style is your style.
Always use your talent for the building up of people and the glorification of God.
Many thanks to Patrick for his jaw-dropping illustrations in I Can Talk to God and for his willingness to join us here for a peek behind-the-pages and for some tips for those interested in being a cartoonist or a picture book illustrator.
Patrick Carlson is a cartoonist and illustrator from Valdosta, GA. He has had a love of art since he was a child and has illustrated dozens of children’s books over his 30 years of cartooning. He uses his experience as a teacher and youth minister to create characters and illustrations that appeal tochildren of all ages. He lives with his wife, ennifer, and twin sons, Alex and Ben.