How I Got Here: Illustrator Luke Pearson

From Nobrow books and New Yorker covers to a Netflix adaptation, artist Luke Pearson tells CR how he found his creative freedom, why he’s left comics for grown-ups behind, and how his daughter is helping him think differently about children’s books

He’s only been out of university eight years, but already illustrator Luke Pearson has published several children’s books, landed a New Yorker cover, and most recently announced a Netflix adaptation of his Hilda comic series. It’s an impressive set of achievements, even if the artist modestly describes himself as only “fairly chuffed” by it all.

Pearson has carved out his own space in the illustration world, becoming as much children’s author as he is artist, thanks to his blue-haired character Hilda, who lives in the city of Trollberg. Across the course of five books, Pearson has drawn critical admiration for the series including comparisons to 90s animation The Iron Giant, and the work of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki.

In the wake of Hilda’s Netflix debut, CR caught up with Pearson to discuss the challenges of putting her on the screen, why he no longer makes graphic novels for grown-ups, and how his daughter is helping him re-assess The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

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