Being a Word press blogger, I love to find inspiration from other bloggers, and especially illustrators and water colour artists. I came across PS Brooks recently, and I was really taken by his lovely, bright, and cute illustrations. So innocent, and light in energy and engaging. I am always curious about other artists and how they find their inspiration and motivation to continue pumping out their wonderful work. I was pleased when Patrick agreed to be interviewed, here are his responses. I hope you enjoy my Artist feature on PS Brooks.
What inspires you to create your illustrations?
I am inspired by many things to create my work. From a very young age I always had a desire and need to express myself creatively. I watched many American/European/Japanese cartoons/animated films as a child and would draw them and also my own characters. I still watch cartoons and animated films regularly and find inspiration in the artistic accomplishments of others.
My grandfather Brooks was a painter who worked in oils and acrylics and I admired his work a lot. I continued with drawing and art through my education up to degree level. I’ve worked with different media over the years, but found at high school I particularly enjoyed working with pastels.
Fifteen years ago while at college, I began using Photoshop and found that I greatly enjoyed it. Most of my digital art skills are self taught and I learn new things every day. During my time at university, I went to a Neil Gaiman picture book signing of ‘The Wolves in the Walls’ and this inspired me to focus on children’s books. I find inspiration from many artists and illustrators: Mary GrandPré, Brett Helquist, Tony DiTerlizzi, Dave McKean and Doug Tennapel. I am also inspired by illustrators I have discovered through the weekly Twitter illustration challenge #colour_ collective, such as Penny Neville-Lee (who founded Colour Collective), Karl Newson, Tim Budgen, Denis Alenti, Lucy Fleming, Mark Bradley, Karl West and many others. For both my written and illustration work I am inspired by faith, spirituality, dreams and nature.
What have been your artist career highlights so far?
I feel as though my work has improved this year by participating in Colour Collective and it’s been very helpful to get the feedback and support from others around the world on social media. In July I designed a cover and interior illustrations for the first instalment of a book series about a dog detective by author Charlotte Easter Earl, which will be released next year. I designed the cover and interior illustrations for my YA novel Deathcat Sally, which will be released next year. I have appreciated receiving comments on social media, and from other illustrators/artists, I respect and admire others in the publishing industry.
Describe three goals you are working towards in the future with your art work.
In no particular order:
1/ I hope to secure more work through an illustrator agent and gain more exposure in the publishing industry. I would very much like to illustrate children’s picture books.
2/ Working alongside other professionals, I aim to build a strong reader base for my YA fantasy/horror novel ‘Deathcat Sally’, and promote the book. I also aim to secure a literary agent for my future novels.
3/ For both my written and illustration work, I would love to see my work as animation and/or live action films.
Please tell us about yourself. What does your average day look like in your artist life?
I live in Yorkshire, UK and have worked in different industries, including video games and graphics. I own two Sheltie guinea pigs and a border terrier. When I am not working on freelance illustrations, I build my portfolio and work on illustrations for Colour Collective. Recently in between my illustration work, I have spent time proofreading Deathcat Sally – a surreal journey into the animal spirit realm, and will be focusing on my next YA novel ‘Cyborg Critters’, following the story of an escaped bionic guinea pig. When I’m not working, I spend time on social media and watch animated shows/films and movies. I mostly listen to chillout music when illustrating.
What have been some challenges in the past and how have you over come them?
I have spent many years feeling rejected or being told I was not good enough. Regardless, I have persevered and persisted in my illustration and written work. Faith, self belief and dedicating most of my life to improving is mostly how I have dealt with these challenges.
I sustained a neck/shoulder nerve injury five years ago and for a time I could barely use my right hand to illustrate, as the nerve affected my right arm and hand. For a time I worked with my left, but could not really get the same results. After volunteering for the RSPCA I had a very lucid dream while struggling with this injury and that became the inspiration for Deathcat Sally – a story of a teenager who accidentally knocks over a cat, and after waking from coma, finds his talking spirit is fused to her shoulder. In a way, writing the book was a way of dealing with the injury and exploring how it drastically altered my life. I still have physical limitations using my right arm, neck and shoulder and am even now seeing different consultants about the condition. It has taken years of physiotherapists, chiropractors and a wide variety of strong painkillers to get me to be able to use my right hand to illustrate again.
Describe your personality in 5 words with some description.
Creative – I constantly have a desire to create new things and improve.
Humble – I accept that I can always improve and learn new skills.
Focused – I know what I have to achieve with my work and am dedicated to accomplishing it.
Spiritual – faith is very important to me and I am fascinated and in awe of the natural world and the universe.
Dreamer – I try to capture a dreamlike, otherworldly feel to many of my illustrations and often focus on light.
What advice can you offer other artists?
Don’t give up. Do what you love and don’t stop because someone tells you you’re not good enough. Learn new skills and find your style through experimentation and using different media. Join social media and artist groups to learn how others work. Find inspiration from other contemporary artists and illustrators, and those throughout history. Give feedback on the work of others and be empathic. Keep illustrating and creating every day. Find and see the wonder of life around you and be inspired by it.
~~The end ~~
You can find P.S. Brooks on Facebook here, and his website address www.psbrooks.com. Patrick illustrates books and is also a writer. I want to thank him for sharing his story with me and my readers, and I hope this offers you inspiration to write, paint, draw, illustrate, or do which ever creative project you have been wanting to do! And if you are looking for a fabulous illustrator for your next project, please reach out and contact Patrick.