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From the Sketchbook:
Peter Willis

This CBC series features illustrators sharing their creative process and providing context for their amazing artwork.

Our featured artist is Peter Willis a British graphic designer from Newcastle, in the northeast of England. His books have been recognized for excellence: one is a 2018 NCTE Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts and another is a 2019 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book. Below, Peter talks about the process illustrating Pollen.

“My process is to first do sketches, so I know I have a framework to work to. Then I start the process of painting all the elements. Some of my work I paint on old books as I feel that this gives everything a bit added texture which stands out in this digital age.”

“On any single page there could be up to 10 different images that I have cut out in photoshop. This digital collage technique gives me a lot of flexibility controlling the layout of the page.”

“I have no studio, I do all the illustration work on the kitchen table, usually watching a DVD on my laptop or listening to the football/soccer on the radio. My family and dog are usually buzzing around me as I work, sometimes my 11-year old daughter paints with me.”

More of Peter Willis’s art can be found in Pollen: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction, which explains that sometimes it takes a long time for the scientific process to find answers to a mystery of nature.

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