Kyle and I are pleased as punch to present our good friend and award-winning illustrator, Aaron Leighton, as a member of the Sorry You’re Happy family. We’re big fans of his work, and could spend hours poring through his sketchbooks alone. His humour, creativity and expertise with pen and paper astounds us. We hope you enjoy learning more about Aaron in our Sorry You’re Happy exclusive interview.

1. Please tell us about what you do.
I work primarily as an illustrator, although I’ve also worked as a character designer and creative director. In addition to this, I am a member of two different art collectives and have taught at Sheridan College and the Ontario College of Art and Design.

2. How long have you’ve been doing this?
Seventeen years.

3. Could you share a bit of your creative process?
For commercial work, I will usually start with pencil sketches and progress hand-drawn images which I then scan and colour digitally. For personal work, either fine art or sketchbook stuff, I just go for it with whatever media happens to be on hand. My two main loves are drawing and collage, although I like to also try everything in between.

4. What’s inspiring you currently?
These days it’s metaphysics, Pogo by Walt Kelly, friends’ sketchbooks and the warm, sunny energy of summer.

5. How do you draw your inspiration into your work?
For me, “inspiration” is more a state of being mindful than anything else, so I just try to pay attention as much as possible.

6. What has been one of your favourite projects to work on?
I just finished a collage illustration for Elle Canada magazine which was really fun seeing as the art director gave me absolute freedom. Also, the Breakfast Bunch collection (for Sorry You’re Happy) was very enjoyable. You can’t not enjoy drawing anthropomorphic food!

Surface patterns from The Breakfast Bunch collection

7. What’s your dream project?
To be hired by JK Rowling to re-illustrate the covers of all the Harry Potter books.

8. What’s your favorite holiday?
If Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day had a baby, that would be my favourite holiday.

9. Cake or pie, and why?
Pie, because it sometimes contains fruit and is therefore good for you.

View more of Aaron’s illustration work here and here.
Follow him on twitter here.

Thanks, Aaron!

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