Another day for celebrating MOTHMAN’S CURSE by Christine Hayes!
Really, how cool is this cover? Right? The mighty illustrator behind its awesome creepiness is James K. Hindle. And he’s got sweet black and white illustrations inside the book too. He was kind enough to answer some questions for me, so without further ado, here’s James…
You’re an illustrator and a designer, right? What do you design? And then what do you illustrate?
During the day, I work as an art director at a creative studio where I do a lot of different kinds of graphic design work for colleges, businesses and non-profits. Then, when I’m not there, I work as a freelance illustrator. I’ve mostly done editorial work for newspapers and magazines, but I was excited to work on Mothman’s Curse, and I hope it leads to more book illustration in the future. I also draw self-published mini comics.
How did you get connected to Christine’s book?
I was contacted by a designer at Roaring Brook Press. I met him at a comic book convention several years ago.
When you first read the manuscript for Mothman’s Curse did you take some time to decide if you wanted to illustrate it or did you know right away?
As soon as I read the description, I knew it would be a fun project to work on. It’s exactly the kind of spooky book I loved to read when I was a kid.
What were some of your favorite books?
My most favorite book that I can remember reading as a kid was The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs. The gothic story combined with Edward Gorey’s creepy illustrations left a lasting impression on me.
There are illustrations within the book? How do you decide what gets illustrated in a novel? Why black and white?
Yes, the book is filled with spot illustrations. They were required to be black and white, probably because of printing costs, but I enjoy working in black and white, so it was great for me.
Why do you enjoy working in black and white?
I enjoy the simplicity of black and white line drawings. That’s the kind of artwork that I’ve always gravitated towards, and the kind of artwork I’ve always enjoyed making.
For the most part, the publisher let me decide what to illustrate. It was a lot of fun to read through the manuscript and pick out scenes to draw.
Because you are also a designer, did you have any creative say in the design of the book? The chapter heading art details, for example?
The book’s design was done by Andrew Arnold at Roaring Brook Press. I think he did an awesome job.
I do too! How did you create the cover? Was it a long process?
The cover process didn’t take too long. I started by making a few sketches of different ideas. Then, after they chose a direction, there was some back and forth about the poses of the characters, to get the movement and gesture just right. I love to illustrate covers, so this was a lot of fun.
What was the most challenging part of this process? What was the most rewarding?
The most challenging part of the book was deciding what to show, and how to show it. I wanted to make pictures that would set the right mood, but not show every detail of the scene, so that the reader could still use their imagination.
The most rewarding part was seeing all of the illustrations together after they were finished.
Have you illustrated other books? Which ones?
This is the first real “book” that I’ve illustrated, but I’m looking forward to doing more in the future.
Do you have a general process for creating illustrations? What is it?
I start by making some sketches in pencil, and I send those to the client. They’ll pick one, and maybe have some changes, and I’ll make a revised sketch. Once they’re happy with it, I make the final drawing in pencil and then ink it. Then, I scan the ink drawing into the computer and color the illustration in Photoshop.
Do you use a sketchbook?
Yes, I always have a sketchbook with me. I use it to sketch ideas, write things down and draw from life.
What’s up next?
I have a few projects I’m working on at the moment, but nothing specific to share.
Well, we can’t wait to see what they are! Thank you so much for sharing some of your process, James!
James K. Hindle is an illustrator and a designer. His illustrations have appeared in numerous publications, including The Boston Globe, The New York Times and others. When he’s not drawing, he spends his days working as an art director at a graphic design studio. He lives in Western Massachusetts.
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