Sam Dawson

Sam Dawson

Represented by Good Illustration
Sam Dawson Interview

Sam Dawson

Children's Illustrator

How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?

Originally I wanted to be a psychologist so I started studying that along with Biology and just took Art as my fun subject. However, I realised pretty quickly that I was much more interested in my art lessons than anything in Psychology or Biology. After that I decided to focus a lot more on my art and eventually landed on the idea of being an artist in the games industry. I then went off to the University of South Wales to study Game Art, but again after a few months I realised it wasn’t really for me and left to join the Illustration course, which turned out to be a much better fit.

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Was creativity part of your childhood?

If I wasn’t drawing or writing then I was building something out of lego and taking my little lego people on their own adventures.

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Have you always loved to draw?

Yeah, I’ve still got some drawings from when I was really young, drawing whatever I had seen on Doctor Who that week or the scariest monster I could think of, and then all throughout school I kept on doodling in all of my books and became known as a bit of an artist, I suppose eventually it just stuck.

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Who or what have been some of your major artistic influences?

Jamie Hewlett was a huge influence for me especially when I first started drawing digitally, but I’m also really inspired by Adventure Time, Wes Anderson’s films (especially Fantastic Mr. Fox), going for big walks in nature, Dungeons & Dragons, those evenings in summer when the sky goes all orangey-pink and weird little bits of folklore & mythology. 

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Which books from your own childhood really stand out?

I think my 2 favourites were The Twits & Esio Trot both by Roald Dahl. I used to wake up really early in the morning on the weekends and read through one of them before anyone else was awake. 

Describe your working technique and how you came to perfect it.

If I've got a vague idea for a drawing I will start off on paper and make some very rough thumbnails to test different compositions, but if I’ve already got a strong idea of how I want a piece to look, I just hop straight onto my ipad and start sketching on there. I like to sketch in red and then do a colour test to make sure all the colours and shapes look nice together, then I do all the lineart and finally I go in and do all the colouring in. 

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What is your favourite medium to work with and why?

My preferred way to work is digitally, especially using procreate on my ipad. I love being able to adjust colours or rework some of the linework on the go if I feel it's not quite working (or if I’ve made a mistake). 

Do you have a favourite soundtrack you listen to when you’re working?

I can’t pick a favourite, but I have a huge spoitfy playlist of cherry-picked songs from a bunch of my favourite films, TV shows and games that I like to listen to. 

How do you get your creative juices flowing?

When I’m not feeling very creative I like to experience new things, like watching a film I’ve not seen before, walking a route I’ve not been down or listening to some new music. I’m a creature of habit so I sometimes need to really force myself to not just look to the same places for inspiration over and over again. 

Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?

Yes I have two very fluffy cats called Alfie & Percy.

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