The talented Tara Brown stopped by to answer some questions on working as an illustrator for Choose Your Own Death.

ME: Can you talk a bit about how you got into illustration?

Tara: I’m still just taking my first baby steps into professional illustration but I’ve always enjoyed drawing. It’s only now that I’ve found myself drawing for a purpose other than my own enjoyment.

ME: How did you go about coming up with the illustration concepts for Choose Your Own Death?

TARA: Before I started illustrating Choose Your Own Death I thought about the first time I read the Goosebump series, I was probably about 9 or 10. Even at that young age I felt that many of the drawings in these books weren’t scary enough! I vowed that if I ever drew pictures in a scary book, they would be scary.  I hope that I achieved this in Choose Your Own Death.

My general approach to the illustration is a fairly simple process. First I start out simply, I read the passage in the book and then imagine the character. However I don’t just think about what it looks like, but I also consider it’s history, it’s environment etc, this way I can work in small details that bring the character to life. Then I after a few stages of thumbnails and concepts I arrive at a final design, sometimes that happens quickly… sometimes it takes a very long time to get right.

ME: Who are some of the artists that inspire you?

TARA: Grahame Base, Michael Whelan and Keith Thompson.

ME (nod thoughtfully even though I didn’t know the last two names. Later, jumped online and looked them up – OH MY … now I understand Tara’s art style. Go and look )

TARA: Can I tell you my favourite genre?

ME: of course!

TARA: Fantasy, horror, video game art and dragons!!!

ME: So what’s your usual illustration process?

TARA: … Come up with an idea (this usually happens at an inconvenient time or place). I then concept and draw it digitally before then transferring onto watercolour paper. Depending on the image I may start to paint it in black and white and then colour it digitally, however many of my works are coloured and finished in traditional media alone.

ME: What kind of materials or media do you use in your work?

TARA: Primarily I use inks on watercolour paper, however sometimes I mix in gouache and watercolour paint. I also paint using oils when I’m feeling ambitious, and digitally when I need work done fast.

ME: And now that Choose Your Own death is finished, what are you working on next???

TARA: Currently I’m working on a few personal projects, but I have just recently finished a few album covers for local Brisbane musicians.