Illustrator and Truro College lecturer Tom Heard talks about his work on latest book – Project Bugs.
– You say latest book, how many have you worked on?
I’ve been fortunate to have illustrated just over thirty titles so far across both fiction and educational markets. These have been for clients including Ladybird Books, National Geographic Learning and Miles Kelly Publishing. I am represented by the Bright Group in London and have been with them since I graduated back in 2012. Project Bugs is the second title I have worked on for Miles Kelly Publishing forming part of the Project book series. The first, Project Body was written by John Fardon, published in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2016.
– What’s your role, is it illustration and design of the book?
I illustrate the pictures within the book, (for Project Bugs I completed all of the cartoons throughout). I am provided the text by the editor and the layouts by the designer.
– It must be fascinating for students to know their lecturer is published, do you ever talk about your work in class to help inspire and educate those wishing to go down the publishing route themselves?
Yes, I think it’s important that students develop an understanding between the tasks they complete in lesson and how these relate and prepare them for the creative industries.
– Do you have a particular process when creating content for the books?
I often start recording my ideas in a sketchbook using a variety of pencils and pens. I then scan them into Adobe Photoshop and work on a Cintiq tablet to produce my artworks digitally. For each project I will often send sketches to the editor for approval before moving onto colour. Generally, when I work on a project it will be published anytime after six months, or sometimes the following year!
– What advice do you give students who are interesting in illustration?
Keep drawing, practise is key. I always encourage students to keep a sketchbook with them at all times, you never know when that next spark of creativity may arise!
Toms book can be seen here.