Kyle Tweed – Illustrator

Photo of Illustrator Kyle Tweed

Kyle Tweed is a Talented Illustrator. He has a Bachelor of 3D Animation and is passionate about concept art, music and bringing a sense of humour into work and art. Kyle’s first children’s picture book is Pelican’t Do It, with children’s author, Cate Sawyer. To keep apprised of Kyle’s new artworks and books, sign up for our newsletter.

In Conversation With Children’s Book Illustrator Kyle Tweed by Daniel Brown:

Kyle is the designer behind PeliCAN’T Do It, a 3D Animation graduate turned children’s illustrator after a chance encounter with author Cate Sawyer. After winning Best Animated Film at local film festival The Martini Awards (with a short about flies falling in love), he turned to pure graphic design and never looked back.

What did you mostly do prior to PeliCAN’T Do It?

I got by on hospitality jobs, security, that kind of thing. But I’ve always been someone to draw in my spare time. Even as a kid I was always drawing and coming up with my own characters. Whether it’s a hobby or work, it’s never really left me.

Did you ever expect to be designing for children’s books?

A part of me always wanted to. When I was doing animation there was a pretty clear connection to children’s media, but producing a physical book was something I always wanted to have under my belt one day.

What was the experience of coming up with PeliCAN’T Do It like for you?

(What have you learnt?)

Doing the same characters in different situations was challenging but enjoyable. In animation you only design a character once, so this was new for me. Looking at it now I can’t help but see what I was trying to achieve rather than what made it onto the page, but others don’t see those mistakes and I love that. One of the big things I learnt was that I shouldn’t doubt myself; that anything can be fixed if I just keep working on it.

(What did you most enjoy?)

I enjoyed being able to use my creativity to the fullest; the freedom of it. When you’re working to someone else’s brief you end up re-designing until you’ve reached this approximation of the image they have inside their head, but what I really enjoy is showing people the image inside my own head. Even with novels that’s a thing: every person has a different idea of what their favourite character looks like, but with a picture book you start from an image and work out into a story.

How does it feel to know that young children, who could well be future artists and illustrators, will be influenced by your conception of PeliCAN’T Do It?

It’s phenomenal. I remember an illustrator visiting my class at school when I was kid. It was in the library and they drew straight onto a wall in front of us. Then late on they came back to paint over it. As far as I know it’s still there. And I guess that’s stayed with me, so, who knows what impact this’ll have on kids reading it.

Did you have a favourite book of your own when you were that age?

That’s a surprisingly hard question. I remember Spot, Possum Magic, that kind of thing. But the ones that really stayed with me were the books with those small details, where you could tell the artist had really researched each image; that they’d put a lot of thought into how it should look before getting started. You can tell that, you know. I put a lot of thought into the things in the background in PeliCAN’T Do It; some of them even feed into my next book. If you look on the wall behind PeliCAN as a baby, I put a poster of a rat riding a scooter that links forward to the travelling scooter. But then there are also details like the calendar dates being birthdays of people I know, and mine and my partner’s initials in the side of the notice board. I got that from Pixar; they sneak little details into all their movies.

If you could somehow determine the impact this book will have, what would be an ideal situation for you?

I’d just want to know that kids were enjoying it. That they felt how I felt as a kid and were inspired to make characters of their own. That’s all you can ever hope for, really.

So what’s next? Would you consider continuing with this style or do you have something else planned?

I’m definitely looking to continue with the style and establish a bit of a brand. I love when you can pick up a book and know who the illustrator is based on how it looks. I’d be excited to get a real repertoire going; release a whole series of books so kids can put them together and find the little details linking them up. Like the rat in the poster. But then if that never happens they’re still just interesting details. It doesn’t really hurt the book at all, not having that context.

Learn to draw Zoom Workshops

Kyle is now offering learn to draw workshops. His most recent featured Pelican’t Do It, via Zoom. The workshops conducted so far have been very successful. Here a few comments received so far.

‘Thank you so much for today. The boys aged 7 and 9 had a blast – I thought I’d send through their pictures!’

‘Blaize is my lil homeschooler, had a great time, so much so he had to ring dad and tell him once we finished!’

Artwork by Children’s Book Illustrator Kyle Tweed:

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Carolyn Martinez

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