Jon Davis does it all—pirates, old elephants, witches in bloomers, bears on bikes, ugly cats, sweet kids. Based in the Lake District, England, Jon is an award-winning illustrator who has illustrated more than 70 books for publishers across the globe.
Please welcome Jon Davis!
Tell us a little about your background. What led you to become an illustrator? My favourite subject and activity at school was always art, and particularly drawing, so on leaving school, I did a full-time foundation art course, and then at college I did Illustration. I’m always happy drawing, and there’s always something to enjoy about it, so it’s something I’ve always hoped to be able to pursue as a career.
How were these illustrations created? What materials did you use? I created these illustrations digitally on the computer, so I used two different brushes in Photoshop, one for the line-work, and one for the colour.
Tell us about your process. The first stage of my process is to sketch out the composition, then I refine the line-work over a couple of stages and work in any changes or tweaks. To do this I generally knock the previous version’s layer back to 30% opacity and draw the next version in a new layer over the top, a bit like using a light box. Once the line is worked out, I add colour on a separate layer underneath.
What was fun or surprising about the illustration process? It was fun really trying to think about toddlers and their particular body language and gestures.
What was your favorite book as a child? Do you have any favorite illustrators? The illustrators who I feel have mostly influenced me are Helen Oxenbury, Quentin Blake, Chris Riddell, Barbara Firth, and Anita Jeram. Other illustrators who I admire are Benji Davies, Sara Ogilvie, Oliver Jeffers, Ross Collins, and Poly Bernatene.