Creatures, characters and monsters .... delving into the world of illustrator Timothy Banks
I was first drawn to Timothy Banks artworks by the image above. This incredible bold bird jumped out at me and I was sold. I headed over to his website and fell in love with image after image.... his characters are fun, his monsters are wonderfully outrageous and his technique flawless.
This was another piece which really jumped out on me during my exploring. It felt like a comforting memory, perhaps of childhood, or perhaps of a world we are all missing now where we can casually hang out in a cafe sharing milkshakes.....either way I love this piece.
So after all this Internet stalking I had to know more, and sent some questions over to delve a little deeper into the wonderful world of Timothy Banks.
Please tell us a little bit about how you found your way into illustration?
I stumbled across the field as a freshman in college. Of course, I knew things were illustrated, but I had never realized illustration could be a career pursuit. The college I attended had a very sizable publishing house for education materials and along with this an illustration department. I was fortunate to sign on as a student worker and worked my way through college as a staff illustrator. From there I went on to get an MFA in Illustration and I've been apart of the field for 24 years now.
Are there any artists who inspired you to pursue Illustration? And who inspires you now?
I think Maurice Sendak has always been a big inspiration. Other early influences for me were Peter deSéve and Carter Goodrich's work for the New Yorker. Currently, I really enjoy seeing the work of my illustration friends, Cory Godbey and Justin Gerard. And, I'm in constant awe of is my wife's illustration work, Erin Bennett Banks.
Can you tell us about how you create your work?
My primary tool is a Wacom tablet and my iMac along with Photoshop. I've been using this format for about 10 years, and it has really defined my work during this time. However, I worked traditionally with acrylic and watercolor/ink prior to using my computer full time. So sometimes, I feel like I've lived a whole other life as an illustrator. I still work in paint, but now I save my traditional work for galleries and commissions.
Which personal projects have been your favourite?
My favorite personal project is my book, 'Monsters In Charleston.' It's about a monster-tourist takeover of my hometown, and I think it represents the purest version of my work. It's essentially 11 (or 12?) monsters, single page and named according to the part of town they are 'visiting.' The book has opened up quite a few doors, and it was a good reminder to me to keep creating my own work.
Which commercial project has been your favourite to work on?
I think I would say it's the last book I illustrated, 'Nian, The Chinese Year Dragon.' I think the elements of the Dragon and Mei, the lead character, were so enjoyable to illustrate. It's a work I'm really proud of presenting, and I think the story and packaging came together wonderfully.
What is your biggest goal professionally as an illustrator?
Honestly, this changes year to year. I think currently, I would love to see a story I write and illustrate get picked up and become something bigger like a movie or series. Although, sometimes, I just want to move to some imaginary countryside and paint big canvases in a barn for the rest of my life.
Can you tell us a little about your creative experiences during the pandemic?
I'm used to working at home with my three kids, so I don't want to say I was prepared, but at the very least, I think there was an absorption to the shock of it all. I've fortunately stayed very busy during this time with contract work, but I've continued to try and pursue personal projects as much as I can.
At the beginning, I put together several "How To" videos for creating monsters, etc, and I worked closely with my local Art Museum on a couple of 'Illustrator Process' videos. I've also stayed busy creating monster-themed masks (which I hope will become useless and dated very quickly) as well as putting together a few series of my own featuring birds and animals in different yoga-like poses.
A brilliant insight into Timothy's creative world. I really enjoyed heading about his work, and his inspirations. One thing Im really enjoying about these interviews is that the artist's are introducing me to new artist's through their interviews which is brilliant too! I think being British the New Yorker covers had passed me by, feel a little embarrassed to admit that! How amazing were they!
Thanks for reading