Name: Briony Dixon
Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Quirky, shape driven, collage, textural, colourful, playful, unconventional
What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I couldn’t do without my scissors or tweezers. I use Fiskars sewing scissors and the tweezers are from some diamond art my daughter was doing a while back. Paint and glue and I guess I should include my Wacom cintiq.
Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Collage definitely. Because my style is shape rather than line driven, it is a perfect medium for me. I also see collage more like making than drawing which suits me best. As a child I felt more comfortable making things rather than drawing. I think there has always been a fear around drawing for me, I can ‘draw’ much better with a pair of scissors than a pencil!
Name three artists whose work inspires you.
David Mckee is a huge influence on my work. I grew up watching King Rollo and Uncle Ben, and Two can Toucan, Not now Bernard and Two Monsters are some of my favourite books. I love the slightly awkward feel there is in the movement of his characters especially in the animation. His early artwork is incredible, in the book Hans in Luck for example. His work manages to be beautifully line and shape driven, he was so talented.
I love the work of Spanish illustrator Carmen Queralt. She’s a collage artist and creates such wonderfully quirky characters. There’ s such a magical quality to her work, it just makes me smile. And while we’re talking about quirky characters, my third artist is Abner Graboff. He really played around with the proportions of his characters and the exaggerations created such personality and humour in them. I also love his use of bold colour and shape, so visually arresting.
Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
You may have worked out from my previous answer (excepting Carmen Queralt) that I would absolutely love to go back to the mid-century era of illustration. There was so much charm, so much life in the art, and it was so progressive! So much of it looks modern now and it must have inspired sooo many artists. To be in the presence of people like Miroslav Sasek, Bill Charmatz, Alice and Martin Provensen and Bernice Myers, oh my, where’s the time machine!
My fascination for stories and picture books started when I became a mum, then was further indulged during my time as a primary school teacher, librarian and online children’s bookshop owner. It got to the point where it wasn’t enough to consume the books, I just had to be part of making them. So I guess the inspiration was all the amazing illustrators in all the books I feasted on! Being able to use my creativity to make beautiful books for children, what heaven!
Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
This is a photo of a very messy work space but I wanted to show it in action. I work mainly at this table because it is in front of the window and when it’s not dark I can watch the birds in the garden. They tend to distract me a little too much sometimes though!
I’ve also included a photo of my children’s book collection. It’s too big to keep in my studio but I consider it to be part of my creative space. It’s so inspiring to be able to delve into these whenever I feel the need.
I enjoy the final artwork part most. I find it the most relaxing because I’ve already worked everything out. I’ve thumbnailed, worked out composition and have my sketch. I’ve worked out the colour palette. Then it’s the fun bit, time to paint papers, start snipping and see my ideas come to life.
What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
I think of myself as an aspiring illustrator so I guess the advice I try to give myself is to enjoy the journey. In the past I’ve been in such a hurry to get to a creative destination that I haven’t enjoyed the process which results in BAD art. Enjoying where you are now means the joy and love in creating shines through and makes your art better. I often have to remind myself about this when I start getting a little impatient though!
Briony Dixon is an illustrator for children from the UK. She creates her art by collaging found and painted papers and uses influences from nature and magic to sprinkle it with joy, quirk and wonder.
July 14, 2022 at 12:53AM Katrin Dreiling