Monday, May 4, 2015

Award-winning illustrator and cartoonist details her work

Anna Crichton's illustrations have been published in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Ciara Pratt
Anna Crichton's illustrations have been published in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Anna Crichton lives in Titirangi with her children Eva, 18, and Reuben, 16, and her dog Hunter. She talks to Ciara Pratt about her range of work as an award-winning satirical illustrator and cartoonist, and ceramic artist.

Describe your process as an artist.
Every drawing I do has a pictorial puzzle or pun in it. I'm given copy which I read and interpret the way I want to. The illustrations have my viewpoint and I input a bit of black humour and my values into them.
It can take anywhere from five minutes to more than an hour and a half to come up with an idea, sometimes I sleep on them. But when I'm drawing it's more like being in a meditative state. Once you're on a roll with an idea, you're in the zone. But it does require an enormous amount of concentration and every line in every drawing is carefully considered. You don't have to be a varied reader as such but it's very good to have a big archive of experience and knowledge in your head to draw upon. 
The tools I use are a dip pen, ink and a brush. 

Where has your work appeared?
I have been published many places including in The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, I was the art director at The Listener, my work appears in Metro magazine and I've worked in-house at The Australian with a bunch of boozy cartoonists - that was really great. 
I also hold exhibitions and I sell my work. 
What led you into this type of job? 
I went to Wellington Design School when I was 16. My first job was at The Dominion newspaper where I was the art director for the home and living section. There were gaps on the page so I started doing drawings to fill the gaps. 
I also had drawings published as a child in the newspaper. 

My mother went to art school in London. My father wasn't arty at all but my grandfather was a painter and a sculptor. 

What is the best part about this job?
It allows me to be a bit of a free agent. I'm a bit of a wheeler and dealer. This isn't all that I do. I also work with ceramics and have had work in the Portage Ceramic Awards. There aren't a lot of people who can interpret copy and storytelling in this way. The illustrations are there to help the story and attract people.
What achievement are you most proud of when it comes to your work?
Probably the five Canon Media Awards I have won for best artwork. 

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