Take a Break: Illustrator Benoit Van Innis' Process

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

Inspiration can hit at anytime. Take for example last night. Before I laid down to sleep, I read an interview with illustrator Benoit Van Innis. It was in one of my favorite illustration magazines, 3x3(Volume 2, Number 3). I never know what I'll learn in this magazine, but it always give me new ideas. I knew Benoit Van Innis from his many New Yorker covers like the ones below. But I had no idea how he worked. I ended up finding it fascinating.

Benoit's typical day of work starts by reading the newspaper at his studio like reading the soccer news. He believes it lightens his mind and keeps it from anything stressful or heavy. He said, "After this warm up I take a look at my recent work and decide what to do---draw, paint or something else." And while he's working he said, "I sometimes stop to read for about 15 minutes. It's a good rhythm for my concentration. I stop a painting at a certain point, I read a book, and for a little moment I'm in another world. Then when I come back to my work, I have a better view of what I'm doing."

Taking a break sounds like a way to avoid blocks and stress. It even sounds refreshing like having a cup of tea or taking a walk. I'm usually like a stubborn mule working, working, working until the project is done. But maybe, this is a something new to try. Time for a breather could make all the difference.


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