“Galaxy-Boy Delivery” is back with another Kidlit Creator Interview now featuring the awesome illustrator Steve Brown. Using humor is big in Steve’s illustrations being inspired by cartoons from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s which he says has shown up in his animated style. Working with various publishers in the UK and US, while also being represented by the Bright Agency with an impressive client list from Scholastic, Franklin Watts, Harper Collins, Maverick and Oxford University Press, Steve has a lot to share about his work and the illustration industry.
Steve stopped by All Ages of Geek to be interviewed by “Galaxy-Boy Delivery” about his work and to give tips to upcoming creators.
And if you’re looking to hone your skills as an illustrator consider taking a class from Skillshare with 30% off when you join with All Ages of Geek’s affiliate program.
Now that we have introductions out of the way, let’s get the interview started! And a reminder to let Steve know on social media if you have any questions about art or how to get started in the industry!
What makes you create? What drives you?
I’ve always drawn since I can remember, it’s always just made me happy, I like to create characters and world’s for them to live in. The passion for character design and seeing a book develop and come alive visually in front of me is a massive drive for me, and I hope my work inspires some children to do the same.
How did you get started in your craft?
As I say, I’ve always drawn, after school I went on to college and studied, fine art, art history and photography, I used to want to be an animator, but I get bored very quick and felt it would be too much of a long drawn out process (pardon the pun), I ended up doing various jobs but none to do with art, then went into health care, and eventually worked as an EMT on the ambulance for the emergency services for 10 years, I injured the discs in my back and ended up off sick for over half a year. While I was off sick I sent my work to agents and got signed. After returning to work I was back in hospital after a couple of shifts, I came home that evening and my wife told me to resign and try to make a career of illustration as that was what made me happy and that’s what I did there and then, and I’ve never looked back, that was almost 8 years ago.
What’s your favorite part about your craft?
Definitely the character design stage, I love developing all sorts of characters , animals, people, mythical creatures, I love it.
I’ve always wanted to do character design for animation studios, fingers crossed in the future I will get there.
Some struggles along the way?
Ohhhh it’s varied over the years, but a constant that runs in the background for me is, am I really good enough? is my work any good? There is always a comparison to others work and it’s a constant challenge to rein my mind in and just be happy with what I do. I don’t ever want to copy someone else’s style (although I’m sure I’d get more work that way) but I want to know that my work is liked and enjoyed for what it is and not a copy of someone else’s style, and be satisfied that what I earn and accomplish is mine and not a poor copy of someone or something else.
What would you change about your industry?
More of an idea from publisher’s what they would like to see in work styles and subjects for portfolios, and I’d love for publishers to have open days etc, to view illustrator portfolios, It would be nice to have the opportunity to personally send things in to them or meet.
Your inspirations and favorite creators?
I adore Jim Field’s work, it’s amazing and varying style too. Ben Mantles work is awesome and his colour pallets too.
Any rituals when you create things like drinking tea or breathing exercises?
Not really, I tend to make my desk and work space ridiculously messy, but I wouldn’t call that a ritual, just laziness! I am actually quite bad when I have a lot on that exercise etc goes out the window, but recently I am trying to be kind to myself and try to make me time during the week as well as working.
What makes your work stand out from the crowd?
Oh, I’m not sure it does haha, I’m not very good at bigging myself or my work up, but I am told that my work is easily recognisable, I like to try to add and hide little details within images, I do think I am quite good at emotive images and portraying emotions well with characters.
Any tips to give about your craft for beginners?
Draw, Draw, Draw, that’s the only way to improve. Don’t let the mood Hoover’s put you off and give up, I had a few of those at the beginning.
But most of all enjoy it, enjoy your journey!
What do you think about All Ages of Geek? Who do you think we should interview next? Any creators you want to give a special shout out to?
It’s great, so much on there, videos, articles and reviews, podcasts (love a good podcast) and being a self proclaimed geek myself there is so much content on there to keep your interest.
An amazing illustrator, Louise Foreshaw would be great to interview. She’s such a lovely lady and talented illustrator, and just been signed for a new series of her first author/illustrator books. (Twitter @Munkey_Pants )
And shout out to all illustrators our there, they all work so hard and each and everyone I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and chat with have been great, it’s such a warm, helpful, inviting and inclusive bunch to be part of and I feel very blessed to be a small part of it
Where can people find your work online?
My website is https://t.co/rCGiVDrCcI
Instagram and tiktok is @stevebrownillustration
Twitter is @stevesketchesit
There are more but all my social media links etc are on my Instagram and Twitter profile linktree.