This week, I’m doing something a little bit different, and I’m excited to present my first interview! Jules Faber, the illustrator for the bestselling Weirdo series (among other things), was kind enough to agree to be my first
victim er, interviewee.
What made you get into illustration?
“When I was 4 years old, I lived in a family with five older brothers and two younger sisters. It was noisy and I didn’t always like it noisy. I discovered a television program called Mr Squiggle and watching him draw (with his nose!) on a board before a picture magically appeared out of a few lines was very exciting. I wanted to make that magic happen so I started drawing too. I haven’t stopped since!”
How long have you been professionally illustrating for?
“I started fulltime professional illustration in 2004 so this is my 13th year. I did it for many years before but it was more part-time but I did work fulltime in animation for a year in 2002.”
How did you go from it being a hobby to being a profession?
“I used to draw for fun and after seeing other people making comics and having fun doing it, the idea started to grow on me. I joined some web forums and the Australian Cartoonists Association and got excited about the possibility of doing it for a job, just as I had imagined I could way back when I was 10 years old!
“I went to college and studied Animation for three years before graduating and getting a job working on a Disney program (it was called The Proud Family). I did that for a year before realising that I wanted something with more variety. So I left and started working fulltime for myself. It also took a lot of practice over the years to get from hobby level to professional level.”
Do you have a favourite thing you like to draw?
“Of all things, I think I like to draw animals best. I used to draw them more realistically and find that really fun. But I also love illustrating kids’ books because I can have so much fun doing it. I usually have at least one book on the go at a time but sometimes as many as four!”
Has drawing for Weirdo been different to drawing for other projects?
“Most every project I work on is different from the others and Weirdo is no exception. Weirdo was my first foray into big league publishing, so I wanted to be extra careful while drawing it. That meant I did several drafts and it took me a while to visually represent some of the characters.
“Now things are different as I’ve done a lot of different sort of books since then. With my second series, the Kaboom Kid, I drew the characters in a totally different style so it didn’t just look like the Weirdo universe. Now I try to make each book look different but I think my own style still comes through anyway.”
Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
“As a general rule, I’m always working on new projects. in 2016 I drew eight books and a cover for another, which means I’m often working on books concurrently. At present though, since you asked, I am working on Weirdo 9 and The Stinky Street Stories 2.
“Coming up later this month I’ll be drawing my first book for grown-ups with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (which is exciting, because I saw one of his books over 20 years ago and have wanted to draw one ever since. I actually credit Karl with inspiring me to consider illustrating books! So it’s one of those lovely life achievement moments where something comes full circle).”
Weirdo 8: Really Weird is out now! Buy it here.
You can find out more about Jules Faber on his website, here.