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Q&A with Charles Santoso

Illustrator and animator from Sydney, Australia

Hello! I'm Charles Santoso and I'm an illustrator based in Sydney, Australia. During the day I work for an animation studio, creating visual development work for feature films. At night and weekends, I make pictures for books and personal projects.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I always love scribbling when I was a kid. I was happy to be left with a stack of old daily calendar, throwing them away as I finished drawing on the corner of each one of them. and I threw LOTS of them. This activity was driving my grandpa mad (he loves to save those old calendars to write his notes) but luckily my parents was supporting me all the way. Picture books, comics, movies and video games really inspired me back then and I was always dreaming to be one of the makers of those products. I'm very fortunate to get opportunities to do what I currently do.

What tools do you use to organize your work?

For books and personal projects, I use 40/60 of traditional and digital medium. I'm trying to move towards traditional medium more in the future though. To me, there is something really tangible and personal about creating work with pencil, pen, watercolour, acrylic or/and oils. For film visual development works, I mostly use Photoshop for its versatility.

What is your ideal work environment?

If we're talking about ideal.. I really want to work inside a treehouse that close to transports, galleries, bookshops, places to eat and coffee shops, overseeing a lake, forest, mountain or beach, with a really fast internet connection and space for friends and family to hang out.

However, at the moment, I'm happy to work in my 2nd bedroom with my drawing table, computer, surrounded by books and drawings from some of my fav artists.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

Pretty much anywhere. Internet, books and TV obviously hold some of the biggest information and resources available, but for me there are also abundant source of inspirations that I can get from my everyday mundane activities. I always trying to find something obscure that interest me personally when I travel or socialise. I especially amused by how living things or objects interact with each other - e.g. the way people talk to each others, the way ants walk together, dappled lights on the ground, different rock formations, etc. There's always some interesting and unique stories and emotions happening in these process.

Who are the creative people you admire most?

Oh, a lot! the list is a never ending one! I admire people who have personal opinions and stories to share. These combined with their technical skills make a unique 'voice' the end. and thanks to the internet, I found new people to admire quite often. A small list on top of my head at the very moment: Norman Rockwell, Kengo Kuma, Mike Mignola, Rinko Kawauchi, N.C. Wyeth, Charlie Harper, Charles Eames, Ronald Searle, E B Shepard, Rembrandt, Monet, Maurice Sendak, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Spike Jonze, Neil Gaiman, Brad Holland, Phil Hale, Iain McCaig, James Jean, Dice Tsutsumi, Peter De Seve, Mitsumasa Anno, Claire Wendling, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Pieter Bruegel and list go on and on and on and on forever.. :-)