Illustrator Feature: Marcus Cutler

Lark Holds the Key by Natasha Deen

#TuesdayTalk with Marcus Cutler. His illustrations can be see in Lark Holds the Keyon shelves now!

What are the challenges of illustrating a book that belongs to a series?

It’s sooo important to get the main characters right. Lots of sketches and drafts are involved to get the character design just right. When you know they’re going to be drawn again, and again, and again, and again, you don’t want to be regretting a decision you made in the early stages.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Some of my favorite books were the Choose Your Own Adventure books by Edward Packard. I thought it was great the way they made me feel like I was really a part of the story.

In your opinion, what makes a compelling illustration?

Without a doubt, the key to a compelling illustration is the characters. They need to show you both action and emotion.

What factors did you take into account while creating your illustrations? How did this influence your final product?

I’m used to working in color, but for Lark, all the interiors are in grey. That made it harder to separate the characters from the backgrounds. Usually that is done by making them different colors. So for the interior illustrations I used lines much more than I would in my color work.

Do you gravitate toward a certain medium of illustration? 

I prefer drawing and painting digitally (on a computer) because it’s so easy to make changes on the go. I never get things right the first time so it’s great to have the flexibility.

Tell us a little known or interesting fact about yourself.

I’m a ninja. No, really! People think I’m joking when I say that, but I actually have earned a black belt in Ninjutsu.

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