The amazing illustrator behind the I’m Ready For series, Jedda Robaard, chats with us about all things drawing, designing, storytelling and holding a little one’s hand through life’s milestones.
Originally from Tasmania, Jedda is now based on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, where she lives with her husband, children and pets. She has been illustrating and writing children’s books since 2011 and has had over 40 books published.
These characters are all so adorable! Which mediums do you use in your illustrations?
Thank you! In the I’m Ready For series the characters are all created digitally. Although I previously used traditional watercolour in my illustration work (and still do at times) I have adapted my technique to include digital watercolour using an iPad and Procreate.
What is your creative process like?
Once I receive a project, I like to have it in the back of my mind for a while. While I’m not actively thinking about it, it still gets churned over, so by the time I get to writing down my ideas (mind mapping mostly) the ideas come more freely.
From mind mapping, I move onto the storyboard thumbnails and hand it in for review. After it’s been approved I develop the black and white roughs, then colour roughs and lastly the final artwork.
The I’m Ready For series is all about celebrating ‘firsts’. Do you remember your first time going to preschool, swimming or welcoming a new sibling?
For this series I like to draw on my own experiences and those of my children.
I’m Ready for Preschool is based on taking my children to their first day, but I’m Ready for Swimming is all about my own first swimming lessons. The yellow floaties really stand out in my memory, so I just had to include them.
In the I’m Ready For series, which character is your favourite to illustrate?
The wombat in the first book, I’m Ready for Christmas, is definitely my favourite. Wombats don’t need a lot of help to look cute and she was a delight to illustrate.
What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
The main advice I have is, don’t focus too much on having the perfect illustrating style before starting your career in book illustration. You learn a lot along the way.
Also, traits like a good imagination, problem-solving skills, a good sense of design and composition and a willingness to listen and take on constructive criticism can be just as important as your illustration skills.