Yay for the excitement! Starting a new interview with the authors section and who better to kick this off then Tanya Bond, the artist behind Inklings books! Her books are among my most treasured for sure. She also has a new book, Astro-Inklings on Kickstarter right now and you can still back her for the artist edition of the book (later you’ll have the opportunity for the Amazon version with crappier paper), take the chance while you can, Inklings 2 had great paper on the artist edition, I’m sure this one won’t disappoint either.
And now, the interview!
Iris: How old were you when you started to draw?
Tanya Bond: My mother is an art teacher so I was always surrounded by art supplies and naturally started drawing early. For as long as I remember myself I was doodling, painting, and doing all sorts of creative crafts.
I: What was your favorite subject to draw then and what is it now?
TB: Oddly enough it rather stayed the same. I used to draw pretty princesses and portraits, and it remains my favourite subject to date:)
I: How did the Inklings girls come to exist? What is the story behind the development of that style?
TB: I think having my kids around me all the time helped me develop that soulful cute big eyed inkling face and it is slowly changing as my kids grow. As for the title, I’ve always lovingly called these big eyed girls INKLINGS as they are drawn in ink and naturally that felt like perfect title for the book.
Rosa, Inklings 2
I: How did you come to creating coloring books?
TB: When I first discovered art markers about 5 years ago I couldn’t help but notice how well would the linework fit to become a page in a colouring book. And even though at a time there wasn’t really a known to me way of easily publishing a book I knew that at some point these illustrations will end up in a book sooner or later, so I made it a habit of scanning the lineworks before colouring them. Then about 2 years ago kickstarter started accepting Irish projects so I put together some old and new works and that’s how the first book was born.
I: You draw realistic portraits as well, did you do that before developing the style of Inklings or how did you come to that?
TB: I get a little bored if I paint in the same style or medium for a long time so I like to jump between realism and pop surrealism. Also working in realism helps me learn a lot and this knowledge can be applied to make my surreal work look more real so to speak.
I: Which of your books is your own personal favorite? Why?
TB: The first book will always have a special place in my heart as it got me started in this adult colouring world. But also every new book that I make becomes my favourite, so for now it’s Astro-INKLINGS.
I: How do you create a coloring page? What is the process for you?
TB: Since I sell original illustrations that I create, I treat colouring book pages in just that way – first and foremost it’s a work of art, and at the same if it’s suitable to become a colouring page – it’s an added bonus. If there is a theme behind the artwork, like it is with the zodiac inspired book, I first study all the aspects of the main character, symbols connected to it, associations, let it all boil inside me and then come up with a very rough sketch followed by the actual painting/drawing. If there is no theme and I just want to paint I usually get inspiration from my surrounding, from nature, from something I read and so on.
I: How long does it take for you to create a whole book?
TB: It’s hard to say as I usually use older works as well as new in a book, apart from the new zodiac one. I started working on it in the end of July – so that’s about 3 months for “Astro-INKLINGS”
I: What are the challenges of being an artist for you?
TB: The main challenge of being an artist I think is probably similar to those of any self-employed person – unpredictability of business and lack of financial security. The freedom however that comes with it is fantastic!
I: Can you describe your day as an artist?
TB: Apart from being an artist I’m also a mom to 4 kids, so my day usually revolves around being a mother and a housekeeper, and only afterwards (mostly at night) – an artist. I create when I get a free moment and apart from being my job it also helps me unwind.
I: What are the tools you can’t live without?
TB: I can’t say there is a specific “can’t live without” tool, but there are plenty of modern inventions that make it so much easier to work – like a battery operated eraser, or electronic sharpener or waterbrush.
I: Do you have any tips for complete beginners in coloring?
TB: The main thing that helps in becoming a better artist is practice. The more you colour – the better you become. Giving an illustration enough of your time also helps, It is better to colour fewer works but to colour them well. Also getting inspiration from looking at how other people colour, watching youtube channels or learning something new from books is always a good idea when you want to become better at what you do.
I: Is there something in the works for the future as well? Can you share a bit about that?
TB: There are at least 4 different projects in my head right now and the biggest challenge is picking which one to do next. One of them is an animal colouring book based on my charming creatures.
Thank you again, Tanya for your time and I for one can’t wait to receive my copy of the Astro-Inklings!
Images by Tanya Bond, used with permission.