Our guest: Nathan Jurevicius is an Australian-born, Toronto-based graphic designer and world renowned artist, whose latest is the graphic novel for kids, Junction (Koyama Press, 2015). He is best-known for Scary Girl, a multi-platform modern folktale, which encompasses a graphic novel, vinyl toys and even an X-Box game.
The Proust-Esque Questionnaire is based on a set of 36 standardized questions designed by Marcel Proust in the 1890’s to give an overview of the respondent’s personality. Our goals are less lofty, but hopefully will provide some insight into how your favorite authors and illustrators work and what they love.
It was 1974 and I vividly remember sitting in pre-school envying the incredible mood ring my best friend was wearing. The teacher began reading Meg and Mog (written by Helen Nicoll and illustrated by Jan Pienkowski). I recall the images were so captivating that it distracted me from my previous engagement.
Despite having a wonderful family I oddly identify with James Henry Trotter from James and Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl. Growing up I tended to be in my own little universe and have imaginary friends guiding my footsteps. There was also this romantic notion that I was an orphan and destined for great things (quite wrong).
3. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR? ILLUSTRATOR?
Hergé (Editor: Hergé is best known as the creator of the iconic Tin Tin series) would be in my top 10 favourite author/illustrators along with N.C Wyeth (his illustrations for Treasure Island are such an inspiration).
4. IF YOU WERE THROWING A KINDERLIT PARTY FOR FIVE GUESTS, WHO WOULD YOU INVITE?
Hermione Granger, Willy Wonka, Iorek Byrnison, Kate Beaton (left), Mr. Daydream. I think the combination of deep, thoughtful conversation combined with an element of madness and imagination would make a perfect evening.
5. WHICH QUALITY DO YOU THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT IN GOOD CHILDREN’S LITERATURE?
The ability to transport the reader/viewer into another dimension. I’ve always found I’m most satisfied when I really believe in the tale being presented to me and want to experience its world.
6. IF YOUR OWN WORK HAS A DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC, WHAT WHAT IS IT?
Imaginary universes with relatable characters.
7. IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A CHARACTER FROM CHILDREN’S LITERATURE, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE IT TO BE?
It’s a toss up between Gandalf and Galadriel… Hmmm, I think maybe Galadriel as she’s much prettier and described as the greatest Elf in Middle-earth. Also I recently had the pleasure of dressing up as a woman for a small role in an indie film and love the way dresses feel on your legs… Um… Maybe I’m getting too personal here.
I feel like each time I start a new project I’m able to redo mistakes from my past. If I had to choose one thing I’d say adding better controls to the Scarygirl Xbox game.
9. WHAT IS THE GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WERE EVER GIVEN?
My grandfather was an orphan shepherd boy from Lithuania and worked his way up to becoming a master builder in Australia. His big advice to me was to view every aspect of a project as important no matter how small. The second piece of great wisdom came from my parents – always be thankful.
10. DESCRIBE YOUR WORK PROCESS.
I like to begin every project with a large stack of loose printer paper and pencil. I tend to sit with my legs up on the couch, resting a board on my knees and roughly sketching concepts. Next to me cups of green tea are magically refilled.
My concept process is quite vague for graphic novels/animated stories and I write notes next to tiny boxes that have squiggles representing pages in a book or scenes from a film. Once the general story has been mapped out I work on final artwork starting from the middle of the book and then working back and forth between the beginning and end (I find it gives a visual consistency with the end product). I generally like to have the ability to adapt story-lines and often new artwork inspires an alternate direction or a twist in the idea.
For Junction all the finished art was drawn in pencil, scanned and then coloured in Photoshop. The graphic novel I’m currently working on is all coloured pencil and inks. I usually create everything about 10%-15% larger than the printed version.