The fine folks over at Spraygraphic’s Sprayblog just posted an interview with Parsons Illustration Adjunct Faculty Sergio Ruzzier. Here’s a taste:
SG: Describe your working process when creating a new work.
SR: I usually do very few sketches, one or two are often enough. I am lazy. Once I have a clear idea of the composition, I do a detailed preparatory pencil drawing on plain paper. If I’m not happy with some elements (proportions, size, placement…) I sometimes scan that drawing and change stuff with Photoshop. Then, I trace that drawing onto the watercolor paper, ink it, erase the pencil, and finally color it.
SG: What kind of things do you do when you get blocked or find it hard to create something?
SR: Well, I usually get depressed, or restless… I don’t have any particular trick to overcome that. I just waste a lot of time thinking. If there is a deadline, then for some reason I always find the solution at the last minute.
SG: Where are you currently finding your inspiration?
SR: The inspiration can come from everywhere: a sentence I read in a book, or something I see while taking a walk, or a detail in a painting. But often it’s the same old ideas that I keep elaborating in different ways.
SG: Can you tell us a little about your children’s book career. When did you start that kind of work?
SR: When I came to NY I already knew that I wanted to do picture books. So I took my drawings and ideas to children’s book editors and art directors, but initially I was always rejected: they would say my work was too “adult”, “sophisticated”, and “European” (never understood what that means!). Even “disturbing”. There was probably some truth to that. Anyway, I kind of gave up for a while, focusing instead on my editorial work. Later, I met a few editors who believed in my work, and gave me a chance. That’s how I started. Now this is what I mainly do, writing and illustrating children’s books, and I really like it.
SG: In what ways has your books’ art and subject material changed over the years? Do you experiment with different art styles depending on the subject or characters?
SR: I don’t think the nature of my work has changed much over the years. Of course you have to adapt a little to your audience, some themes are very delicate… For example, I would love to do a picture book about death, but you have to find the right way to handle such a subject matter (in order to convince editor, publisher, salespeople, reviewers, booksellers, librarians…)
My art style is always the same, I think. I’m not very good at experimenting. And besides, I feel that if you have a personal style, one that has naturally evolved through the years, well, that’s your way of doing things, and you cannot really force it. It’s like your handwriting. Of course this is how I feel about my own work, but there are some artists (not many) who can handle beautifully different styles and techniques. One great example is Saul Steinberg.
Catch the rest of Sergio’s interview & see more images of his work here.