PK 140: How to Become a Children’s Book Illustrator – Interview With John Martin

PK 140: How to Become a Children's Book Illustrator - Interview With John Martin 2 pk 140 how to become a childrens book illustrator pencil kings podcast

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Please note: John had a few sound issues on his end, so we’ve done our best to edit this interview as best we can.

However, because the call quality with John continued to degrade for the rest of the show, we’ve summarized some of the great insights that John was willing to share in the show notes below.

Want to know how to become a children’s book illustrator?

John Martin, the artist behind Sci-fi Junior High, talks about his creative career and working with James Patterson.

He walks us through the process of creating a successful children’s book and what it really looks like behind the scenes as a children’s book illustrator.

How to Become a Children’s Book Illustrator

Interview Overview:

Here are some of the great insights from John Martin in this interview on how to become a children’s book illustrator:

  • More than anything he stressed how powerful and important having a good agent is. They can open doors for you that you don’t even know you need to be opening.
  • When it comes to the success of your projects good character design is so important.You have to remember that with books you’re competing primarily against interactive mediums like video games, and what John does to approach his character design is to pull from design ideas that he’s seen and loved from all of the different media he’s consumed like comic books, television and moves and then stir them all together to come up with his own new ideas.But he doesn’t just stop there… he uses a fluid design process where he’s not afraid to experiment and try new things to come up with his designs, and he uses textures and patterns that he sees in everyday life to use as the basis for his designs.
  • Music is another big inspiration for him and he will listen to anything from classical music to rob zombie while he is working and use that to inspire the design process and get into the zone.
  • The job of a book illustrator is a constant juggle, and this is something we’ve heard before when talking with Francis Vallejo.When the book comes out, you’re in full scale promotion mode to get it out to as many people as possible, and if you’re like John and part of a multi-book deal you have to balance juggling the promotion with creating work for the second book.
  • John also talked a bit about his process where he draws an inks everything traditionally and then brings it all into the computer and turns it into vector, which if you’ve never heard of vector before is a way of working with images that you can easily scale and reposition your images without losing quality, and he works this way so that during the layout process for the book it becomes very easy for him to react to any changes that are needed while in the layout process.
  • One of the things that we personally loved about this interview is John’s mission to create readers for life. This is no small task when you consider the competition with games and movies for the attention span of kids.

We hope this week’s interview with John Martin gives you some valuable insights on how to become a children’s book illustrator.

Have you got a great idea for a children’s book that you’re itching to get started on? Share your story in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!

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