HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Illustration Inspiration: Christian Robinson

Illustration Inspiration: Christian Robinson

The Children’s Book Review | January 14, 2014

Illustrator Christian Robinson

Christian Robinson

Christian Robinson is an illustrator of picture books. In 2008, he earned a BFA in Character Animation at the California Institute of the Arts and has worked at both Pixar Studios and Sesame Street Workshop. Christian likes to blur the line between work and play and he lives in San Francisco.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine BakerLatest published book …

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

Inspired by …

Where to begin? Josephine Baker, the words of Patricia Hruby Powell, Josephine Baker and La Revue Négre, a collection of lithographs by Paul Colin. Theater, dance, the twenties, Paris and Henri Matisse.

Art medium used …

Acrylic paint.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker illustration copyright ©, 2014, Christian Robinson

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker illustration copyright ©, 2014, Christian Robinson

Artistic process …

Curiosity, research, inspiration, sketch, paint, scan and send off.

The following is taken from an interview I did with 7 impossible things before breakfast about my process:

I like to do my research. I’d describe the start as cultivating curiosity for the characters and setting in the story. I go to the library and absorb all the visuals and facts that will influence and inspire the work.

Then I start sketching, sometimes rough concepts; other times, more polished work. I basically work on creating enough art to share my vision with the art director and editor.

Then layout sketches — I like to use Post-it [notes]. These are great, because I can easily switch out sketches that aren’t working.

Then, once approved by the editor and art director, I create images in Photoshop, tying down shapes and colors. Then, final art collage and acrylic.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker Illustration 2

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker illustration copyright ©, 2014, Christian Robinson

Favorite place to create & illustrate …

Hmmm, well I illustrated Josephine in my studio/bedroom. It’s a sunny, warm and small room in a big San Francisco Victorian home built in 1891. I like creating in bright spaces, with natural light, I also like being able to look out a window and take in any inspiration the city has to offer in the moment.

Now I work in a larger shared artist studio, which is also nice. I don’t know if I have a favorite place to create. Sunny, quiet and a plant somewhere is a recipe for me.

Christian Robinson's Art Studio

Christian Robinson’s Art Studio

Most used art supply or tool …

Probably my brushes, I feel like I’m always at the art store replacing the ones I’ve ruined.

Illustrator idols …

Roger Duvoisin, Abner Graboff, Beatrice Alemagna, Bruno Munari, Ezra Jack Keats, Ben Shahn I could go on forever.

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t illustrate …

Too hard a question, I’ll just say Swimmy by Leo Lionni is a magical book.

A literary character to create art with …

If I understand this question correctly I’d say Scout  from To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t know if she’d have the patience to sit still long enough to make something, but I think she could benefit from some art therapy.

Currently working on …

Illustrating a picture book loosely based off my childhood experiences of riding the city bus with my grandma. Written by the amazing Matt De La Pena.

Illustration inspiration …

Memories, my Nana, city kids, Ezra Jack Keats.

More Christian Robinson …

Website: www.theartoffun.com

Blog: www.mosscovered.blogspot.com

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by ChronicleBooks

Discover more picture book illustration inspiration on The Children’s Book Review by visiting our pages tagged with Christian Robinson.

How You Support The Children's Book Review
We may receive a small commission from purchases made via the links on this page. If you discover a book or product of interest on this page and use the links provided to make a purchase, you will help support our mission to 'Grow Readers.' Your support means we can keep delivering quality content that's available to all. Thank you!

Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.