What would it be like to be an ... Illustrator?

We asked Ash Oswald – the illustrator for the way-cool
Go Girl and Zac Power series - about his career in illustration.

[Jessica and Sam were comparing books and discovered that the Go Girl and Zac Power books they were reading had the same illustrator. That is why we decided to contact Ash!]

Were you a good drawer as a kid? (Sam)

Hi 'Secret Agent' Sam... Yeah I always loved drawing cartoons as a kid so I guess I never really stopped. Attached is a drawing of me when I was about your age.


Do you enjoy being an illustrator? (Maia)

Hey 'Go Girl' Maia ... yeah I love being an illustrator... it is a whole lot of fun drawing cartoons all day long!!! I also work as a graphic designer so I am always busy illustrating and designing everything from book covers to CD covers and lots of other cool things. It's all great fun... however it is a whole lot more fun and rewarding to find out that kids across Australia are enjoying looking at the pictures that I have created. I was very excited when I found out that you wanted to interview me!!!

Do you work closely with the author of the Zac Power and Go Girl books? What does that involve? (Maxime)

Hi ‘Secret Agent' Maxime ... in the case of Go Girl and Zac Power, I work closely with the actual publishers of the books rather than the authors. When I first started working on the Go Girl and Zac Power series, the publishers and I spent many months getting the initial look of the Go Girl and Zac Power illustrations perfected whilst the authors worked separately on the stories... however I was able to meet all the authors and read the stories as they were being written so that I could match the pictures to the words. All the authors of Go Girl and Zac Power (H.I. Larry) are great and I am hoping to work on a project in the future with Thalia Kalkipsakis... she's unreal!!!
The 'Go Girls' series that Ash illustrated


The 'Zac Power' series that Ash illustrated

The 'Zac Power' series that Ash illustrated

How do you draw your characters? Do you use pen, pencil and computer? (Jake)

Hey 'Secret Agent' Jake... that's a great question... I actually use a whole lot of things when drawing pictures... I sometimes use pencils, sometimes even paint... however these days I use the computer a lot ... I love it!!! I have a cool pen that works like a computer mouse but it draws on a special pad that comes up on my computer screen. However don't start thinking that you need an expensive computer to be an illustrator, in fact most illustrators draw by hand using pens and pencils, which is the best way to start learning. You should use whatever you feel most comfortable with and whatever gives you the best results with your own pictures.

Did you have to change the drawings [redesign/rework the image] of your characters a lot before they were printed in the books? (Izaac)

Hey 'Secret Agent' Izaac ... yeah sometimes you have to change them... most times I start with a rough draft of the illustration and then show the publisher to see if they like it, then I will keep going until it is almost finished and then show them again, and then finish the picture. I find this is a good way to go as it can be quite time consuming and very disappointing to have to change a finished illustration that you really like. Plus, I find that by re-working the picture it helps you think of clever new ideas that you can add to it.

Why are the characters in your books only in black and white? (Jessica)

Hello 'Go Girl' Jessica... that's a very cool question but unfortunately really only has one answer... and that is, it is very expensive to have colour illustrations in a book with as many pages as a Go Girl book... unfortunately if the pictures were in colour then the prices of the books would be much more expensive... and we don't want that to happen!!!

Do you design the fonts used on the front cover of the books? (Sam)

Hey 'Secret Agent' Sam ... yeah in my lucky case I certainly do get to design the fonts for the book covers ... being an illustrator AND a graphic designer means that I can create the entire look of the covers... in fact (as well as doing the illustrations) I have designed all of the Go Girl covers... selecting the fonts, colours and backgrounds. I also designed the Zac Power logo at the top of the Zac Power books.

Because Zac Power is really cool, do you model him on yourself? Your little picture on your website looks a lot like Zac Power!!! (Angus and Sasha)

Hi Angus & Sasha ... hee hee hee... that's a funny question... unfortunately Zac Power is much cooler than me... if I were a cartoon I would look more like this...

Me as a cartoon! Do I look as cool as Zac Power???

Why don't you illustrate all the Go Girl books? We read that some of the books are "based on original illustrations by Ash Oswald' (Abbey)

Hey 'Go Girl' Abbey... that is very observant of you... I would love to be able to illustrate ALL of the Go Girl and Zac Power books but since both series have become so popular, and with so many books being released, working on them now requires a team of illustrators. I create all of the new Go Girl characters and illustrate and design all of the covers. I then show other illustrators how to draw the characters I have created to be used on the inside black and white pictures... this way we can definitely make sure there is always a new Go Girl book in the shops!!! Unfortunately because the Go Girl world can be so hectic and time consuming I had to get another fantastic illustrator and good friend of mine, Andy Hook, to look after Zac Power.

What is your favourite picture you've created for Zac Power's Super Gear? (Simon)

G'Day 'Secret Agent' Simon... WOW! Zac Power has so many cool gadgets that that is a hard question to answer... I always like drawing his transportation... his AMPHIBIOUS SUBMERSIBLE was always fun to draw!!!

Zac ... in a bit of trouble ... in his AMPHIBIOUS SUBMERSIBLE

How long does it take to design all the pictures for a book? (Helena)

Hi 'Go Girl' Helena... the time it takes to illustrate books can vary greatly... however for the Go Girl series, since we usually try to bring out a new book roughly every month, I usually get around about a month to complete all of the illustrations and cover design. However... did you know... new books are created and printed about three months before they are available in stores!

What is your favourite illustration you've created? (Jake)

Hey 'Secret Agent' Jake... that's a tricky question as I have so many illustrations that I have done... however usually my favourite pictures are the newest ones that I have just drawn as I always get excited about the different styles that my latest pictures have. At the moment I am really happy with a book series that I have just finished illustrating and designing for a publisher that is all the way across the other side of the world in Brazil. It is a spy series for girls called NINA REMY... shhhhhhhh...Top Secret (These are not in book stores yet)... I have attached the first three book covers for you to take a sneak peek at!!!
'Nina Remy .... shhhhhh ... Top Secret': a new series of books illustrated by Ash.

Who are your favourite illustrators? (Class Question)

I have many favourite illustrators but the ones that I like the most are:

Andy Hook

Andy is a great illustrator and a very funny guy who now draws a lot of the Zac Power books.

J.otto Seibold
You may have read some of his books... he illustrated the books OLIVE THE OTHER REINDEER, PENGUIN DREAMS and many more... I like his style as it is just really whacky.

Nathan Jurevicius...

Nathan's artwork is amazing and is one of the very lucky illustrators who has had some of his illustrations turned into cool toys.

Thank you so much Ash for your great responses.
I think, because of your infectious replies, I’m seeing the illustrator in many of my students wanting to get out!

Check out Ash’s work @ http://www.heytheresme.com/

Jessica is a BIG fan of the Go Girl books. Here is her take on one of the characters.
Tara thinks the Go Girl books rock! Here is her character.

Mr Williams' Wiki http://mrwilliamswiki.wikispaces.com/