Meet the Illustrator: Tom Casteel
Tom Casteel (self portrait)
Have you ever wondered who illustrates our books? Find out in our Meet the Illustrator blog series!
Picture a Nomad Book without any illustrations. Kind of a weird experience, isn't it? Books from Nomad Press are accessible, vibrant, and fun because of the cool illustrations within each one. And because our books tackle tough science topics, such as plate tectonics and chemistry, it's essential that the material is illustrated in informative, easy-to-conceptualize ways!
That means, not only do our illustrators have to be extremely talented in the arts, they also have to be curious, lifelong learners! Let's meet some of these illustrators.
Introducing Tom Casteel!
Tom's Nomad books:
- The Science of Science Fiction
- The U.S. Constitution: Discover How Democracy Works
- Human Migration: Investigate the Global Journey of Humankind
- The Great Depression: Experience the 1930s From the dust Bowl to the New Deal
- Microbes: Discover an Unseen World with 25 Projects
- The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head
- The American Revolution: Experience the Battle for Independence with 20 Projects
- Cities: Discover How They Work with 25 Projects
- Natural Disasters: Investigate Earth’s Most Destructive Forces with 25 Projects
- Explorers of the New World: Discover the Golden Age of Exploration with 22 Projects
- Maya: Amazing Inventions You Can Build Yourself with 25 Projects
Why did you become an artist?
When I was a kid, I would draw all the time. It was something that I always loved doing. When I went to college and was deciding on a career, I decided that I didn't want to do art as a job. Eventually, I realized that drawing was something that I still loved doing and that I wanted to try to make it my career. I went back to school at the amazing Center for Cartoon Studies and soon after that starting working for Nomad Press. I didn't become a professional artist until I was almost 40!
What is your researching process?
First, I hit the library and see what I can find. If I don't find what I need at the library then I'll search online.
What is your illustrating process?
First, I pencil the illustration with blueline pencils on drawing paper. Next, I ink the drawing with a variety of markers and brush pens. After I'm finished inking I use my scanner to import the artwork into Photoshop. I use Photoshop to remove any pencil marks that came through on the scan, to fix any mistakes, and then to color the drawing.
What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
I loved the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.
What problem of the world would you most like to see solved?
There's really too many to name just one, but I think a lot people's lives would be better if everyone could have a job where they could make enough money to take care of themselves and their families.
What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be a writer?
If you want to do art as a career, you have to love doing it, so try to keep in touch with what makes it fun! If you love making art, and do it all the time, then that's a good first step toward becoming a professional artist. If you are really serious, you will need to work on the areas where you need improvement. There are a lot of good books out there that can help you improve. Check out your library and see what you can find online. Also, check to see if there are any art classes offered where you live that appeal to you.