We recently had the opportunity to check in with Pippin artist Isabel Roxas on the topic of how she found herself as an artist. We’re delighted to share her thoughts.

Dear young illustrator out there,

Here are a few things I’ve learned while taking a line for a walk.

(1) While on your quest for “style”, try not to mimic others too closely. It’s an excellent way to study and try out techniques, but learning and imbibing all those influences is only half the process. You still need to distill them and create something different. It helps to keep your sources broad and numerous, to create a mixture that’s totally your own.

It reminds me of becoming a person—you’re never one thing, and you continue to evolve over the years. I think my work has shifted and changed over time, and early influences have come and gone, though a few (like Jim Henson, Edward Gorey and Shel Silverstein) remain the same.

Roxas bald men

(2) Read and love things OTHER than children’s books. I loooove children’s books, but I also love donuts (or anything edible actually), vernacular typography, Kaiju, murder mysteries, southeast asian pop/rock from the 60’s, deep sea creatures, etc... The point is, the more stuff you love, and learn about, the more material you’ll have to work with.

Roxas Sample 1 Roxas Sample 1a

(3) Be curious. Follow any lead that piques your interest—Nordic folktales, silly rhymes, or depressed polar bears—you never know where your next idea will come from.

Roxas Nordic TalesRoxas Polar Bears

So the other piece of advice I think would be useful, is just go ahead and make stuff. Keep experimenting and draw as much as you can. The “style” won’t come full formed in one go—it comes with making a ton of stuff, then seeing what works, what doesn’t. It also comes from continued creation though some of your pieces aren’t loved or lauded.

Roxas Sample 2a

Now get cracking!
Posted by michael at 08:08 AM Link to this post
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