June 1, 2015 Groundwood Books

Tour Kellen Hatanaka’s Studio and Make Your Own Car

Kellen Hatanaka is an artist/designer living in Toronto, Canada with his wife, Kiersten and his dog and studio-mate, Paul. He is the author and illustrator of Work: An Occupational ABC and Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites. Here are a few photos of his studio space. In addition to being a place to work, it is a place to display and collect art, books, records and a never-ending collection of odds and ends that transform the space into a place of inspiration.


How to Create Your Own Car!

We love Kellen’s unique way of illustrating his books, so we asked him to show us how he does it!

“I usually work with a combination of digital and hand-drawn elements. Most of the large shapes of color in my work are created in a computer program. You can create your shapes by using coloured paper!”

Step 1

Start with the largest, simplest shape of the car, which is the body. I am creating a station wagon which is long, but you can create a car of any shape and size.


Step 2

Add some windows by cutting them out of the body, or by pasting or drawing the shape of windows over top of your car.


Step 3

Continue to add details to your car. I always like to work from the largest, simplest shapes to the smallest, most complicated or detailed aspects of my subject. In this case, add some wheels and bumpers.


Step 4

Continue to add any other items or details that you would like to see on your car. Again, start with the general shape of the items you are adding. You can add the details later.


Step 5

Add in all of the details you like! At this stage, I often add hand-drawn elements or textures to my digital pieces. The wide stripes on the orange panel, the lines for the doors and the little bits of rust along the bottom are hand-made items. You can create your final touches by cutting out more paper pieces or drawing on your car with markers, pens or anything else you like.


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