Fabric talks to South West artist Ian Mutch about his children’s book More and More and More and his upcoming involvement in the 2019 Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival.
Ian Mutch’s More and More and More is a masterfully crafted children’s book featuring Ian’s quirky characters and a beautiful message around friendship and connection. We chat to Ian about how the book came about.
FQ: More and More and More is your first foray into children’s books. What is it about?
IM: Henry Harper hurtles through space collecting things. As he collects more and more, we learn what happens when we tend to collect too many things. It’s a really fun journey for young readers and also presents meaningful themes such as sustainability and consumption. Predominantly, I feel the book portrays the feeling of friendship and how this is more important than a connection we have to any object or item.
FQ: Why a picture book?
IM: I think More and More and More is a continuation of my arts practice. Most of my gallery paintings and murals have hidden stories and elements of detail, objects, shapes, and characters. I have always wanted to write a picture book. When I developed the concept and began the sketches, I initially thought that drawing lots of ‘stuff’ would be conducive to my artwork style. As the plot unfolded, it became apparent that the story held a range of timely messages for children.
FQ: What are some of the challenges you faced when creating the book?
IM: The process of writing and developing the story and its characters within a 32-page format was quite a challenge. I wanted to hand draw and paint everything because I enjoy that process. That meant there was also a lot of work to do. The illustrations are a mix of pencil, ink, acrylic and watercolour, scanned in and layered together as finished artworks. The text is also hand drawn. Over 400 pieces of paper were used to create the artwork, from storyboarding through to the finished illustrations. I’m guilty of keeping all of these as a collection, which now sits in my studio collecting dust.
FQ: What will you be doing at this year’s Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival?
IM: I’ll be sharing stories behind my recent art projects, as well as the process of writing More and More and More, at Voyager on Friday morning, May 3. Then I’m involved in some workshops throughout the festival which I hope will encourage you to take your pencil for a walk and create your own characters.
FQ: What’s it like being involved in an event like this?
IM: It’s an honour and really nice to be involved at a festival close to home. Discussing my creative process allows me to reflect on past projects and provides the opportunity for me to try and improve on future works. I’m usually involved in exhibitions and art and design festivals, but am only just getting into the world of writing; constantly learning and meeting with authors, publishers and people in the industry. I think this festival is going to be a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to it!
FQ: What else are you working on at the moment?
IM: I’m preparing for a couple of new murals and working on new studio artworks for Margaret River Open Studios, beginning next month. Later this year I’ll be embarking on a new project with Christian Fletcher, combining photography, illustration, painting, animation and film. We aim to explore the process of collaboration through artworks and storytelling, all based in regional Western Australia.
Ian Mutch will be featuring in a number of events at this year’s Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival, which runs from May 3-5.
Visit – Ian Mutch
Visit – Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival