Alvin Adhi Mulyono
Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
My Mom. She indirectly made me become an illustrator. When I was a baby, she always read me storybooks that had beautiful illustration in them, although those books were always torn and folded by my nosy hands. I still keep those books, they are series of Aseop Fables, illustrated by Japanese artist, Shogo Hirata. I was so excited about fables from that day on and wondered how animals could talk and solve the problem just like humans do!
How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?
I think I can draw pretty well, and drawing makes me happy.
I want a job that makes me enjoy doing that all day. and being an illustrator is the answer. Moreover when my illustrations can make someone smile and tell a lot of inspiring stories to children all over the world - that makes me even happier.
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
Yes, I love to tell stories and convey my ideas through visuals. By comic, or pictures. So I studied Visual Communication Design in college. I studied in Ciputra University in Surabaya. I loved it very much. I learned lots of things and had some really good mentors.
Was creativity part of your childhood?
Yes. I think every child in the world is creative in their own way.
Creativity is not only about drawing. Problem solving and dreaming, are also creative.
How many times do you tend to draw a character until you are happy with it?
I don't really count. I just make some doodles at first until I find the soul of the character. Sometimes I make a few changes when I digitalize it until I find the right final form.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like doing hobbies such as gardening and tending to my fish. I love to see my plants and pets happy and healthy.
I also do some sport almost everyday to make my body move and keep healthy.
Have you taken part in any speaker events?
Yes, I speak and share my experience at seminars. and my school alumni usually invites me to be a speaker to explain what it's like to be an illustrator to their students interested in art especially visual art.
I also hold workshops for comics and watercolor.
What advice would you offer someone just starting out as a children’s illustrator?
- Know yourself, what makes you different from other illustrators. Be authentic.
Continue to practice, explore more, and improve your skills.
If you are stuck, it’s okay to take a break, but rise up after it.
Don't forget to take up other activities besides drawing. That will give you a lot of inspiration.
Do some sports, your body needs to move!
Love yourself, eat well, and sleep well.
Do you have a favourite soundtrack you listen to when you’re working?
Since I love to draw cute and funny things, I love listening to happy, upbeat music just to lift up my mood.
What makes a good children’s book?
- A picture that is so clear that the children can interpret the story without read the text.
- When the story can relate to children's everyday problems and have a positive value.
- For an early reader, better with rhymes in every line.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I know the names of hundreds of tropical plants and freshwater fish because I love them.
What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?
As you can see from my portfolio, my most favourite subject is underwater creatures. I love how they swim, move their body and fins. They look so happy and free, so relaxing. They have a lot of colors and I love the diversity of them.
I also love to draw kids and cute animals. I love to put emotion into them. The point is I love to draw anything that has soul, I love to draw emotion, because I think I can feel it when I draw.
Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?
Yes, I love nature very much. I converted my yard to be a little forest. I keep tropical plants, have a patio pond with tropical fish in it, and I have a rescue bird that broke his leg when he fell from his nest, 3 stray cats that decided my house was to be their home, and a couple of tortoises and a turtle. I love to live close to nature.