A Conversation with OMB Staff Illustrator, Augustus Moore Jr.
OMB: So I was flipping through the books you’ve illustrated, 1 Peking, A Gift for Yole, Jamonghoieand Kukujumuku and I noticed that the aesthetic is different in each book. Could you talk to us about the different media you employ? GM: PrismaColor has been my favorite medium since high school. So naturally, it was what I gravitated toward when my sister asked me to illustrate. 1 Peking was all PrismaColor because that was just what I felt most comfortable using. With A Gift for Yole, I didn’t want to keep doing the same thing so I switched it up and used watercolor like my older sister (OMB Creative Director Kula Moore). OMB: Is PrismaColor still the medium you feel most comfortable with?
GM: It’s funny because I’ve used Photoshop and other digital media but it still looks the same as the work I’ve done with PrismaColor. That said, I still prefer PrismaColor. OMB: What’s your decision making process when you are given an assignment? How do you decide which medium would be the most appropriate for the story that you have? GM: It’s mostly about what I’m feeling from the story. If I feel there’s a lot of movement in a story’s plot, I’ll gravitate towards colors that reflect that emotion. For 1 Peking, I wanted the colors to be as bright as possible, since it’s about a birthday party with friends. OMB: Who are some of the artists that have inspired and influenced your work?
GM: Monet and Manet, Impressionist artists. Always those two. Also, Marcel Duchamp, he’s not an Impressionist artist but definitely one of my favorites. OMB: I used to study photography in high school, and I remember there being a distinct difference in my artistic process and the final product, when I worked in the digital darkroom as opposed to the physical darkroom. I feel that same difference when I write a story with pen and paper as opposed to the computer. There’s something about the tactility of writing with a pad that affects my thinking process. Does that affect your work as well? GM: Definitely. Even though I work with digital, I try to make as many sketches as possible. OMB: What was it like to hold a book that you had illustrated for the very first time? GM: It was crazy. In the spring of 2011, I saw I finally saw one of the books in my sister’s apartment. Flipping through the pages gave me such a sense of fulfillment. I had it in my head earlier, what we were doing, but it just hit me: “Wow, we’re really doing this.” OMB: Looking back when you first picked up a pencil and started creating, did you ever think something like this would ever happen to you so early? GM: No. Not so early, but I do remember wanting to illustrate a book from a very young age. In my elementary school we used to go to libraries, and the librarian would always mention the illustrator and the author. And I thought, “I could do that one day.” And sure enough, it happened. OMB: Were you the kind of child who was always in the library?
GM: [Laughs] Every summer, my mom would make us do something called Tube Off. She would make us spend a month without television and we’d all have to read.
OMB: I know that you come for a really artistic family. Your sister, Wayétu Moore [OMB founder], has an MFA and Kula is an art therapist. What was it like growing up in a house filled with so many creative people? Where do you think that comes from? GM: I guess it’s always been around. My dad studied engineering, but he’s a landscaper. Always drawing and sketching things. I used to watch him growing up. My mother is a teacher, so she was always reading to us. So I guess it comes from them just pushing us in that direction. My brother is studying engineering right now, so I guess what he did rubbed off on us in different ways. Many of those ways turned out to be something artistic or creative.
OMB: Let’s switch gears. I found out that you’re into music production. One of your biographies online states that your motivation to illustrate stems from your love of music. If you did say that, would you mind elaborating on that statement?
GM: I wouldn’t say motivation, but rather inspiration. Music inspires me. I don’t really listen to hip hop. I love Kanye, Kendrick Lamar, and anyone that pushes the envelope and does something different. They inspire me to do the same with my artwork. But when I’m drawing I listen to more ambient sounds, maybe even classical music.