Artist Interview: Fintan Taite

By Tarsila Krüse | comments: 2

Today it is with much pleasure that I bring to you a very interesting interview with Award winning cartoonist and illustrator Fintan Taite.

Fintan is an Illustrators Ireland member and has over 10 years of a very successful art career working with editorial illustration, advertising, cartoons, comics and books. I invited him to talk a little bit about his work, so let’s dig in!


Hi Fintan! You’re work is very interesting and your characters so expressive!
Who were (or are) your artistic inspirations?
Fintan – My first big inspiration as a small child was American comics. I was totally hooked from the start! The bold primary colours and dynamic artwork exploded in my brain and set me on the winding path to becoming an artist. As I got older and learned more about the history of cartooning and Illustration I discovered the work of legendary cartoonists such as Sempe, Ronald Searle, Andre Francois, Saul Steinberg and many more amazing mid-century artists.


What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
Fintan –Traditional dip Pen and Indian ink is the starting point for all my work. I like the feel of the nib gliding across the paper and the happy accidents that can’t be replicated with anything else. It’s a tool that can be difficult to master but is well worth the effort.


Could you please give an example of a project you’re really proud of?
Fintan – Last year Children’s Books Ireland commissioned me to design and Illustrate a Reading Passport for their Doctor Scheme that I really enjoyed putting together. For personal work I’d say this years Inktober drawings and my new picture book, The New Cat, that can be purchased online HERE!


Are there any projects you’re currently working on?
Fintan – Yes, It looks like a busy year ahead already with more comics and picture books in the pipeline, which I can’t say too much about…yet!


Could you please share a picture of your workspace?

Where can people find you online? has all my latest work.


Quick chit-chat!
What’s your favourite ice-cream flavour? Pistachio!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Dublin (Paris would be a close second!)

Do you collect anything? I collect vintage books on every subject and genre but the majority would be related to cartooning, illustration and art.

What’s your favourite word? Diplodocus

What makes you happiest? Spending time searching vintage and second hand bookshops for unloved gems.

books-3 books-2 books-1
Thank you Fintan! We cannot wait to find out more about your work for 2016!

Favourite: Create A4 Sketch Pad

By Tarsila Krüse | comments: 0

Most artists have sketchbooks, and I’m no exception to the rule. Sketchbooks are an incredible tool to keep track of ideas, sketch projects and just plain random doodling (creativity knows no boundaries!).

I’ve tried all sorts of sketchbooks, from hand bounded journals to the expensive Moleskine types and personally I’ve found one that I REALLY like:
The A4 Sketch Pad from Create.


I’ve bought one for the first time a couple of years ago because it was cheap (around €5), it offered plenty of pages (100 sheets) and they have a nice thickness (100gsm). It was love at first scribble! The A4 size is perfect for me, even to carry it around in my handbag; although some people would prefer a smaller format.


Another thing I really like about it, is that the pages are perforated on the top, allowing the pages to come off. So I can take a few pages away if I want to without ruining the whole thing. The spiral isn’t the easiest to scan stuff from, but I don’t find it to be too much of a problem.


I usually sketch using an automatic pencil but the paper is great to take other mediums like pen, charcoal, pastel and crayon (talk about versatility!)

If you’re based in Ireland you usually can find it at Easons (although lately I haven’t seen any), and also online.

How about you? What’s your favourite sketchbook? What size and type of paper do you like to work with? Please share in the comments below!

Process: Back To The Future

By Tarsila Krüse | comments: 0

A while back I created a few movie posters as assignments for The Blind Elephant Collective and today I want to share with you the creation process for the Back To The Future poster.


First I start with a sketch so I can have an idea of all the elements I want to use, as well as to explore the composition.

In this case I wanted Marty McFly to be the centre of attention, as well as having the hoverboard as a main element. Behind him there’s the envious Biff Tannen, and in the background Lorraine and George are together just outside the clock tower (DeLorean flying just above), so basically covering what I think are the most significant elements of the movie without giving too much away.

I also did some research to make sure the character’s clothes and other elements are recognized.back_to_the_future_00

Then I scan my image and bring it into Photoshop and adapt it to the size needed (The portrait nature of the poster required a composition adjustment in this case). I then use my sketch as a reference for digital painting in different layers (multiple mode) so I can see what I’ve drawn but I have enough flexibility to work in other layers.

What I do then is choose the colour palette that I’ll be working with and once the colours are chosen I have a very specific process: 1) Block colouring the main parts 2) Create shadows and highlights for those parts 3) Add details to those parts (all done in different layers)

There’s a lot of trial and error, especially to create contrasts.

I work on each element separately (characters, trees, clock tower, title, etc.) so I can make adjustments as I go. For example, the DeLorean found a better spot above the title.

The last things I worked on were the title, which I decided last minute to make my own font, and the ground. I wanted the background to have enough contrast without blending too much into the artwork, so after playing a little with the colours I had initially picked, I chose to use grey, as an extra colour.


And ta-da!


If you liked this post or if you have any questions, please leave a comment below!

Thank you!

Freelance Life: 3 top tips for freelancers who are parents

By Tarsila Krüse | comments: 0

Time management for freelancers can be a tricky thing even when there are no children involved, but when there are; it’s absolutely vital, because the time available to do work is limited and it can also be erratic and unpredictable.

Children have a lot of demands and sick days and one can easily push the workload until after the kids go to bed, only to stay up and work until the wee hours of the morning, and soon enough you’ll find yourself completely burnt out. Believe me, I’ve been there.


I’m not saying that it is wrong to work at night, actually a lot of people prefer working later because it is usually a quieter time. I simply don’t recommend going too far into it or doing it for too long, as your health (sleep) is necessary to be a better parent and to work smarter.

So here are three tips that will help you organise your time better when you have children.



Since working for yourself demands discipline and organisation, the first thing I recommend to any parent who is juggling work and looking after their little one(s) is to establish a routine.

Children thrive on routine and more often than not we do too.  Knowing when your child takes a nap or eats or has his or her playtime can make a lot of difference. Having a routine is helpful because everyone involved knows what to expect at certain time slots, so you’re not worrying about invoicing a client when you know it’s time to bathe or play with your child. The opposite is true too, you can focus on your workload when your child is quietly playing or taking a nap.

My sweet little son is 18 months old and it is only now that he has established a somewhat predictable sleeping pattern both during the day and night, allowing me to set aside some very good quality time to do what I need to. Since we don’t have any relatives living close to us, we do not have anyone that can mind him for a couple of hours, so making the most of the time have is simply a basic need.



You’re a freelancer (illustrator, graphic designer, artist, etc). And you’re a parent. And that’s GREAT! And these are two different hats that, if possible, should be kept separate. I’m not saying you can’t work in the same room that you child is playing in (although in some situations that can prove to be impossible), but I’m an advocate of making a clear distinction between WORK TIME and BEING A PARENT TIME.

Of course you ARE a parent all the time – setting boundaries, helping when needed and tending to your child are your priorities – but that time when you’re wholeheartedly dedicated to feeding, bathing, playing, rolling and laughing with your child? You should do it without worrying!

And the same goes for work. You should be focusing on getting the best contract, dealing with a client on the phone, sketching, drawing and painting without having to worry or stop every couple of minutes because your child wants to play. Know that parent time is one thing and work time is another. Both your child and your career will thank you.



When I was in my late teens my father gifted me with a book called The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson. If you haven’t read it, it’s a short yet engaging story that helps understand that being present in the now is paramount.

Being there while your child is growing is a privilege a lot of parents don’t have, so take the chance to make the most of it by being present with him or her (or them)! YOU know your child BEST! As a matter of fact, better than anyone! So knowing when you can give him or her your ALL is when you totally should!

If you’re freelancing it’s probably because you REALLY LOVE what you do, so give it your all while you’re at it! In freelancing life only your own efforts will result into income and a lot of times you’re not sure when your next payment will come and how much it will be, therefore treating your work time with the same respect as you do your parent time will bring you amazing results. And you can count on being an overall happier person!