Skip to main content

Illustrator Interview: Jason Moss

It's time for another illustrator interview! Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to. . .



Jason Moss, winner of a Philippine National Children's Book Award for his bright, cheerful, and humorous illustrations in Just Add Dirt, a picture book about a boy who grows vegetables all over his body because he doesn't take a bath, written by Becky Bravo and published by Adarna House in 2009!


Welcome, Jason.

What motivates you to illustrate for children? What is the very best thing about illustrating children's books?


The fact that I'm going to be part of their growing up years as an illustrator. What motivates me is that I'm participating in lending them a dream and further molding their imagination. I say this because I myself, growing up on children's books (both local and foreign titles), said that one day I'll be illustrating myself.

The best thing about illustrating children's books is hearing stories that these kids look at my work over and over again, plus the fact that it's good to know that a lot of parents support Philippine publication, literature and illustration.

What is the greatest challenge from illustrating children's books?

Research and trying to marry tradition and trend to create a classic.

Can you please guide us through the creative process you used when working on Just Add Dirt?

A) Protagonist

After reading the manuscript three times and scribbling and doodling over it, pushing out the first ideas, etc., I then focus on creating a central image that will bring the book together. With an overview of all the characters I've created, I had to come up with yet another original; this time, an image of a child who lacked discipline. After I've established the best possible image/design for the character which I feel will appeal to children, I create the supporting characters who will complement the manner of illustration given to the protagonist. Of course, the protagonist should stick out from the rest.

B) Research

I only learned how to read and speak Tagalog in the 3rd grade and up to this point, I still don't know some words. So the first thing that I did was to ask my mom what the other vegetables were, then I googled them as reference.

C) Thumbnails

This is plotting the book: Where the body text comes out and where the illustrations are placed, whether spot, flush left or right, or double spread, bleed or non-bleed.

D) Final Art

I have to show one sample of final art and the thumbnails to the publisher for approval before I start creating the final art. When it's approved, I immediately start plotting all of the illustrations and begin an assembly line technique for speed, accuracy and color/style consistency.

E) The Cover

I always do this last. I make sure that the title is readable at 3 meters and that there are minimal colors and as many visual elements as possible to attract attention.

What does winning a Philippine National Children's Book Award mean to you?

It feels really good to be appreciated.

Thank you so much for sharing your process, Jason! And thank you so much for opening your studio to me!

One rainy Monday afternoon, I had the privilege of visiting Jason's studio - and felt as if I had found some treasure. Not only was I able to take some pictures of the studio to share with all of you, I was able to go through rough sketches of the illustrations for Just Add Dirt. I took some pictures of those too, of course. :o)


Here are just some of the books Jason has illustrated, laid out on the floor of his studio:


On the walls of the studio:




Some of Jason's books:



One of his desks:



And now some of the notes, research, and rough sketches for Just Add Dirt!








Finally, here is a sketch of the book's cover, followed by the final cover and one of the final illustrations (both images provided by Adarna House):




I was awed during this studio visit (Tarie = fangirl). It was my first time visiting an illustrator's studio and my first time going through rough sketches for picture book illustrations (and it wasn't for just any picture book, too). I hope you all enjoyed this post! Let's keep our fingers crossed for more studio visits. ;o) I'll definitely share them with you through this blog.

Comments

  1. I love seeing the pictures Jason has for inspiration on his walls!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Zoe, me toooo. =D It's fascinating visiting an artist's/illustrator's studio.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for this post. I admired sir Moss since i was in grade school :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Author Interview: Jack Cheng

I still haven't gotten over See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng(Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017). So after I reviewed the book here and cooked up some classroom and book club activities for it, I just had to grill Jack about his influences and creative process. Read our interview below! 


Hi, Jack! What motivates and inspires you to write for young readers?

Getting to meet kids (both in school and through my books) who are at a time in their life when they're really starting to form their values. It's a time when they're really starting to ask the big questions about life and the people around them—the same big questions that we keep asking, I think, even when we grow into adults.
I was excited when I saw that the main character of See You in the Cosmos, Alex Petroski, was Filipino American. Is there a particular reason you made Alex Filipino American?
To be honest, I thought about making Alex Chinese American but I felt like it would've been a different novel. I wou…

Ako'y Isang Mabuting Pilipino (I Am A Good Filipino) by Noel Cabangon and Jomike Tejido

This one is a real crowd pleaser: Ako'y Isang Mabuting Pilipino, Lampara Books' 2012 picture book adaptation of Noel Cabangon's song, with Cabangon's original Filipino lyrics, functional English translations by Becky Bravo, and illustrations by Jomike Tejido!

Cabangon's inspiring lyrics remind children of the ways they can be good Filipinos, such as doing their best in school and obeying their parents. There are plenty of reminders for adults too, such as following traffic rules and not selling their votes during elections. Tejido's illustrations are warm and wholesome, acrylic paintings on hand-woven mats that depict different ways to be good citizens.   


You just can't go wrong with Ako'y Isang Mabuting Pilipino! Children and adults will understand and appreciate the lyrics and paintings. The chords of the song are provided, so music lovers can play and sing along. There are notes and guide questions for educators. There is even a treat for book…

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017)

"My name is Alex Petroski and my house is in Rockview, Colorado, United States of America, planet Earth. I am eleven years and eight months old . . ."
Filipino American Alex Petroski LOVES astronomy. His hero is Carl Sagan, the astronomer who sent a "Golden Record" out into space. In 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. In case the spacecraft ever made contact with extraterrestrial life forms, or future humans, each had on board a "Golden Record," a copper phonograph LP featuring a collection of sounds and images meant to portray the life and culture on planet Earth. The recorded sounds included things like wind, thunder, bird songs, greetings in 55 languages, and the brainwaves of a woman in love. (You can actually listen to the audio of the Golden Record here.)
Alex has built his very own rocket, Voyager 3, and plans to launch it into space at SHARF (Southwest High-Altitude…