Coming Up for Air: An Interview with Matthew Forsythe

 It was most dream-like to be able to work with Matthew Forsythe for the cover of our fourth edition of Flight!

Matthew is the author and illustrator of the picture books Pokko and the Drum and Mina. He was also lead designer on Adventure Time at Cartoon Network, a character designer on The Midnight Gospel (Netflix) and production designer of the Oscar-nominated short film Robin Robin (Netflix/Aardman Animations).

We were lucky enough to chat to Matthew about making, travelling, and animating and wanted to share a little excerpt & a sneak peek into some of the illustrations Matthew created for us. Grab a copy of Vol. 4 & read the full interview here!

What do you feel is important in making picture books?

I think it's the same as all literature; which is being truthful emotionally. Sharing a feeling that is personal and true to you.

How do you think through illustrations?

This is very much a 'letting go' process. Sketching little subconscious ideas and then usually putting them in a drawer for a long time and then rediscovering them eight months later and seeing if there's something there.

Photo of Volume Four

Can you run us through your favourite/essential tools for art-making?

For me, it’s watercolour, gouache, pencils.

How do you figure out how to draw something?

I find it hard to draw cats. But I had to draw lots of cats for various projects last year; so I did many sketches and studies of cats. So many that you internalize common features or proportions or feelings; and then I put away all the reference and just draw my own version. This is how I draw everything. I like when there's no immediate reference.

Photo of Volume Four

How do you experiment with creating new techniques & effects?

I do spend a lot of time playing with paint and paper and trying to find new textures. I should probably do more.

Can you tell us what your studio looks like?

Here’s a photo (below)! It looks very different every few months this year as I’m traveling a lot. Right now I’m working in a studio in Tokyo but this is my normal studio back in Montreal.

Matthew Forsythe Studio

Find out more about about Matt here: | @mattforsythe

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