The fifth guest in ACHUKA’s new Meet An Illustrator feature is Keith Robinson.
If you missed the earlier ones, don’t worry, they are collected week by week on this page:
Keith is based near Lyme Regis and has been a freelance illustrator since 2001. After graduating in graphics and illustration in 1992, he worked as a digital animator and joined the BBC in 1995 as part of the team that developed the Corporation’s first website. He later founded an award winning media production company called Codename and still creates motion graphics for clients alongside his work as an illustrator.
This year his artwork has already been seen inside Lore by Alexandra Bracken. Still to come:
- The Supreme Lie by Geraldine McCaughrean (interiors), published by Usborne – April ‘21
- Storm Horse by Jane Elson (Cover), published by Hodder – Aug ’21
- The Bewitching of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes (Cover and interiors), published by Usborne – Sept ‘21
As a child, what were the first illustrations you remember being pleased with?
I loved writing and illustrating stories as a kid. I remember at primary school there was a class story competition. I spent ages on the pictures and was pretty pleased with them. Me and my best friend Chris were both desperate to win and in the end he came first and I came second. I was disappointed and more than a little jealous, mostly because he was better at drawing than me! We’re still best mates though, so that’s OK.
Who/what inspired you when you were young?
I loved watching Tony Hart’s programmes as a kid. He showed viewers how to make pictures using simple materials and techniques. The main pleasure was watching him work. You’d wonder where it was going then, as if by magic, it would suddenly all come together at the end.
Who inspires you today?
So many artists and illustrators, past and present – it would take a whole blog! If I had to name a few that are on my mind at present; Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Hokusai, Samuel Palmer, E.H. Shepard, Norman Ackroyd, Evyind Earle – I could go on!
Did you study art or illustration? If so, where?
I studied at Berkshire College of Art and Design and Middlesex (formerly Hornsey College of Art).
What is your favourite artist tool/product?
I recently invested in a Wacom Cintiq which I love. It’s really freed up the way I paint digitally. I also love traditional drawing media, especially charcoal and pen and ink – I’m a big fan of Japanese products such as the Bimoji Fude pens and Sumi ink made by Kuretake. I also adore Arches paper – I find their hot pressed paper is a great all-rounder for both drawing and wet media. The 90lb weight is light enough to use on a light-box while still being sturdy enough to take a lot of punishment on the easel.
Where do you buy your art supplies?
What software/apps do you use?
I do almost everything in Photoshop these days. I usually scan in hand-drawn elements and textures and then combine them with digital painting, using Kyle’s Brushes – I particularly like his gouache brush sets. I think it’s probably time I got to grips with Procreate though! I also use After Effects for animation and Premiere for editing.
What was your first commission?
A friend in sixth-form wanted a portrait of her dog, so her parents commissioned me. It was great getting paid for a drawing, but my main motivation was trying to impress my friend – I had a huge crush on her!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve got a couple of Middle Grade book covers on the go and I’m looking forward to starting on interiors for the next book in the Aveline Jones series by Phil Hickes. I’m also due to start a big non-fiction project about Vikings and there’s a couple of personal projects I’d really like to make progress on.
Twitter or Instagram? Twitter, but only the nice polite corner, where the arty-bookish people hang out.
Coffee or tea? Tea, but I do need my one huge coffee of the day when I start work.
Cat or dog? Dog – and one dog in particular, our new collie puppy, Tess.
Grape or grain? Grain
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise, but I’m rarely up in time.
What do you listen to when you are working? It depends on what mood I’m in and the kind of thing I’m drawing. I find a project often takes on its own ‘soundtrack’ in that way. Lately I’m listening to a lot of Max Richter’s music. Its very beautiful and often quite hypnotic. I find it really helps me get in the right frame of mind for drawing.
Where can we follow you on social media?
@RobinsonKH on Twitter
@keithrobinson_illustration on Instagram