Tony Trimmer

Tony Trimmer

Tony Trimmer Interview

Tony Trimmer

Children's Illustrator

Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?

The answer is more organic than a 'who' or 'what'. I simply love to create and through trial and error, discovered my love for illustration. However, my passion isn't limited to this medium, as my degree is in animation. My hands seem meant to create, yet whatever the task it is all influenced by illustration.

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

After my initial sketch, the work usually makes its way to one of two programs, Photoshop or Illustrator. Here I use the 'pen tool' to colour them. The difference being that the images made in Photoshop are created using textures. This gives an incredible richness to the images.

For projects that are also used for animation, I am sometimes charged with giving the characters several mouths with movable expressions, as seen in the images below.

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Do you keep a sketch book?

I keep several sketchbooks on the go at one time. It's a simple way to generate and document ideas. However, my sketchbook work is purely for personal projects. 

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How many times do you tend to draw a character until you are happy with it?

Multiple times. I'm currently working on a personal project in my spare time and am on the 4th version of the characters. Strangely enough, I manage to get many of the supporting characters right the first time, but not the main protagonists.

What do you do in your spare time?

Sadly I left school with an E in English, (long story); however, I now love to write. In fact, I've been so inspired by creative writing that I've already penned one idea for an animated movie, and have just started writing a graphic novel. 

Take us behind the scenes and describe your studio / workspace.

Due to Covid, and in an effort to make a space for my children to work I've recently been relagated to the spare room. Gone are the days of working in a purpose built environment. It's not ideal to say the least, but I'm hoping to build a new studio in my garden, which should be great fun.

Outline your dream project.

My dream project would be working purely on one of my ideas. Over the years, I've worked on several ideas for animated programmes. It's hard work and can be quite a soul-destroying process. However, I hope that one day one of these ideas will hit the right note, and I'll be able to take them forward.

What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

As a young junior, working as a runner in a Soho studio, an extremely seasoned illustrator said something that has never left me. Pointing to a blank page, he commented, each time he starts a new job, there was the daunting realisation that he had no idea how to do it. 

It amazes me how scary a blank page can be, and remembering these words has given me solace on numerous occasions. They've helped me understand that the finished product is only made possible by making a start and letting the process direct you.

Which project are you most proud of?

I think my time working as the art director on Alphablocks is a highlight. It was quite punishing at times and involved storyboarding, prop creation and character creation. Yet 20,000 storyboard frames 2000 props and over 100 characters later, left me with a great sense of satisfaction, and  I enjoyed my time on the project.

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If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be doing?

In recent years I've discovered a love for working with wood, and I'm even planning to construct a purpose-built studio. With this newfound love, I'd be a carpenter.

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