Keep practicing! Draw every day, don’t give up, and remember that to produce anything really worthwhile takes a long time.
I really don’t think there are cut and dried answers to this question (which I do get asked a lot). The best advice I can offer is to ensure you have a comprehensive portfolio of your strongest images. Try every avenue you can think of within the field and don’t lose your motivation or inspiration even when the going gets tough (the first time I approached Terry Pratchett with my artwork I was unsuccessful, so I tried again four months later and we began working together). An up to date copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook is very useful too.
I often look at photographs of faces in my reference collection to establish the look I’m after. I don’t usually set out to make a character resemble anyone in particular, but sometimes it just happens that they do.
Arthur Rackham, Alphonse Mucha, Alan Lee, Norman Rockwell, Auguste Rodin, Mike Mignola, Gustav Klimt, Jamie Hewlett, J.W. Waterhouse, and Lucien Freud are my current top ten, but there are loads more that I think are brilliant. I have a big collection of art books which I often reference. Better than anything is getting out to visit galleries and exhibitions as it’s great to see the artwork ‘in the flesh’.
I work in acrylics or oils on illustration board or watercolour paper. I occasionally use an airbrush and sometimes I give the image a little tweak in Photoshop. I always use a sharp H, F, H.B. or B pencil.
When I am sculpting I work in Chavant (an oil-based clay that I buy from Tiranti). My bronzes are cast at the foundry using the lost wax process.
I was always blessed with an over-active imagination, not great when you are four and you are convinced there are dinosaurs in the hall in the middle of the night!
The natural world is a constant source of inspiration for me, I try to go for a walk every day in the countryside.
I enjoy watching films to see how other people have realized characters and environments and I read lots of reference books on all sorts of things.
If I am doing a book jacket, I tend to use the dimensions 520 x 775mm.
Pencil drawings are usually produced on A4 or A3 cartridge paper.
Although occasionally I get self-indulgent and do something much, much bigger.
Occasionally my originals are made available for sale. If you would like to enquire about the availability of an image please get in touch.
I am not currently accepting private commissions.
As often as possible…
Yes, if you are willing to suffer for my art. However, I do not have time to create a bespoke piece for you.
If you would like me to sign something for you (books, autographs etc) please write to my PO Box with instructions including the goods for signing, don’t forget to include a self-addressed and postage-paid envelope for the return journey. I don’t sign things for re-sale, just one or two pieces per person for your private collection.
If you would like to submit questions, please first ensure you have read the answers to the FAQ’s here (which you are already doing, well done!) and also read the interviews linked below before contacting me.
I am the copyright owner of all my artwork. If you are interested in purchasing rights to reproduce images please contact me. If you are unsure about copyright in any way it is best to check first. If you would like to use a few of my illustrations on your blog please stick to the following guidelines:
Personal/Non-profit use only. You cannot use my artwork if you are running a commercial site or intend to sell merchandise or one-off items based on my artwork.
Acknowledge copyright. Please credit me, Paul Kidby, as the artist alongside the image.
Link to www.paulkidby.com alongside the image.
No modification. You can crop my work but don’t digitally manipulate it into a composite image.
Any Discworld project proposals require permissions and a license from the Pratchett Estate rather than myself.
The art that I create is my only source of income and whilst I am happy that you appreciate my work, I trust that you will not infringe my copyright.