Illustrator, Rob Overend , talks about Garfield, Quentin Blake, and channelling Steve Martin…
What are you up to at the moment?
Plenty! My current creative focus is finishing off the last few illustrations for the first in a four-book series of children’s books called Horace Burp – Lizard Boy. It’s an amusing tale about a young boy who thinks he’s turning into a chameleon, written by my clever mother-in-law and available via Circaidy Gregory Press. I’m also drawing promo cartoons for my wife’s business, Fresh Direction Coaching; dreaming up new cartoon ideas for The World According to TipTop ; improving my current plan for teaching kids how to draw their own cartoons and comics; and foraging Twitter for inspiration and learning.
Where do your ideas come from?
A very strange place! Ideas for cartoons or gags come from a combination of personal experience, an effort to dramatise truisms in an amusing way, and entertaining my muse. With illustrations, it is a bit different as it’s mainly about forming a style and trying to bring someone else’s words to life in a visual form.
Who’s your role model?
In terms of illustrators, It’s got to be the don, Quentin Blake. I love so many cartoonists: I’m a big fan of Michael Leunig, a philosophical Australian cartoonist. Then there’s The Oatmeal, Hugh Macleod and lately I’ve been impressed with Lunarbaboon. I guess my roots are with Garfield’s Jim Davis and the king of quirk, Gary Larson.
Who would play you in a movie?
Steve Martin. My mates joke that we’ve got the same mannerisms!
What’s your earliest memory of drawing?
Trying to draw Garfield when I was about seven. I was obsessed with that cat.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
Nothing good comes easily; you’ve got to put the time in, persevere and believe in yourself over a long time. Also, create stuff for yourself not what you think others might want; if people like it, that’s a bonus.
When you’re not working on being the next big thing, what do you do to relax?
Probably not enough. When my mind is overactive, I practise Ashtanga Yoga which sorts me right out. Running is also a tonic. Of course, it’s more likely to be hanging out with my wife with a bottle of vino and listening to some great music like Paolo Nutini or John Mayer.
We encourage everyone to do one thing each week to be kind to themselves, what are you going to do this week to #bekindtoyou?
Thank you for the prompt. I quite fancy an indulgent hour in a floatation tank as it goes! Apparently, the benefits are equivalent to six hours’ sleep; something I desperately need having two kids under the age of four!
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