Behind the Scenes with Tomislav Tomic: THE DRAGON ARK

What first got you into illustrating?

During high school, I was involved in illustrating a few books... it become more and more serious as time passed. I didn't really plan to became an illustrator, it kind of just happened.

What is your favourite painting and why?

I think that my favourite painting would be The Sea of Ice called the Wreck of Hope by German artist Caspar David Freidrich. I like the drama and calmness that it brings, all at once. It's definitely the painting I would like to have on my wall more than anything else. I looked at it again for this interview and now have the urge to paint something polar, just for fun. Hope I will find the time to do it!

Who is your favourite artist of all time?

It is hard to pick one favourite artist of all time. Lots have made huge influence on my work, especially Renaissance engravings by Dürer, Schongauer and Brueghel. But at the moment I think I would pick Rembrandt, I am still fascinated with his etchings and drawings and of course his paintings.

What is your favourite piece of artwork in The Dragon Ark?

My favourite drawing is a double spread illustration of Wyvern in Puzzlewood landscape. I loved making it and showing all these forest animals around it. I also had a lot of fun making smaller sketches of dragons for the Dragon Protector's table spreads.

What was your favourite children's book growing up?

As a kid I was fascinated by animal encyclopedias. I looked at these illustrations of animals over and over again, practising my drawings all the time.

What are you working on next?

At the moment I am finishing some small projects and enjoy filling my sketchbook because I haven't had the chance to do so for a while. There is a plan to do another mythical creatures book for Magic Cat.. but that's top secret (for now).

How do you get inspired to produce a piece of artwork?

Most of the illustrations that I produce are inspired by text in a book, so I just have to make the composition as interesting as possible within those constraints. When I read the text I try to visualise some pictures and scenes in my mind before drawing. The most creative part in my process of work is making a rough sketch for the illustration. Later I make hundreds of lines and dots to fill the paper. Sometimes music helps me to stay inspired.

What is the most difficult part of being an illustrator?

As an illustrator, you are never sure whether you will have any new projects to work on after you finish the one you are currently finishing. The most difficult part of being an illustrator is to plan something that won't be published for a couple of years. Its good to have some projects of your own to work on when things get quiet. 

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