Award-winning illustrator Brian Deines has always loved to draw and paint. Becoming an illustrator “seemed like a natural outlet for these qualities.” Having a passion for music as well, Brian listens to music while he paints. When not in the studio, Brian can be found riding his mountain bike. He never leaves home without a camera. Photographs, he says, are “an extension of my art.”
For Brian, illustrations and text must complement each other. “I enjoy seeing the synergy between the text and my illustrations in print and how each makes the whole greater than they are on their own. Hopefully I am presenting the images in a form that is accessible to the viewer and lets them fall into the story. If I am successful in that regard, I’m happy.” For On Uncle John’s Farm, Brian says, “I wanted to use a loose textured style of painting to convey the atmosphere and energy of the text.”
Brian’s illustrations have a wonderful quality of authenticity. “I think all my books tend to incorporate some form of personal memory in them, one way or another.” For Camping, Brian recalled his own camping trips as a kid, especially “the smell of the wood fires and lots of bugs. Brian admires the work of several artists, including Ben Nicholson, Edgar Degas, Johannes Vermeer, Christopher Pratt and Jack Chambers.
Brian’s idea of a perfect day is a combination of work and leisure. “Coffee and paper on the back deck with my family for breakfast, bike ride to the studio to paint for the day and a picnic in High Park with my family at the end of the day (biking again).” As for the future, Brian aims to continue painting.