Meet the Team

Bringing stories to life: A look into the creative approach of Tellwell illustrator Zar on Canvas

Welcome to the world of Zar, one of Tellwell’s gifted in-house illustrators. As one of our newest team members, Zar has quickly become a top choice among authors looking to bring their stories to life. From his unique approach to working with authors to his expert insights on what to look for when selecting an illustrator for your book, this post is your chance to get to know Zar and discover how his talents can elevate your storytelling.

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, I am Eleazar Daligdig, also known as Zar and @zaroncanvas on IG, Twitter & Facebook. I am a visual artist & illustrator, the CEO of Zar on Canvas, an art director/illustrator of Dungeon Diaries, and a former art teacher at Artissimo Arthouse.

What did you do before joining the Tellwell team?

Before joining Tellwell, I was a speaker at certain universities in Cebu. I am a freelance artist/illustrator, and I manage my own brand. I am an art director of a tabletop roleplaying game group called Dungeon Diaries.

Share with us your typical day as an artist

Basically, reading emails is the first thing I do during the day, then I tend to go out and grab a magical potion called coffee. While doing all of that, aside from playing with my black cat, I tend to imagine what to do with the projects I have, because sometimes ideas spark in random situations when you are not thinking of them. I rely on that because I want my artwork to be authentic and personally made from what I think of and am inspired by.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Aside from making a vision board in Pinterest, I usually go to a local bookstore and grab some books to read, or maybe give myself the gift of time and do whatever comes to me to be surprised at the inspiration that strikes when I least expect it. I always keep a notebook or my phone close, jotting down the ideas that spark in my mind.

What advice do you have for authors when working with illustrators?

I would say trust me and the process, because an artist is different from a manufacturer. Being given the right content and the vision of the author can make the illustration job much easier and more efficient.

What should authors look for when choosing an illustrator for their book?

Probably the style and the overall aesthetics of the book. The entire collaborative aspect of the author and artist relationship can make a cohesive and amazing book.

Any message for the young aspiring artists out there?

Stay inspired and inspire people. Do not stop, just pause. And never stop learning, because when you’re creating a piece of artwork, if it connects to people and helps them, that’s good enough.

Aside from creating amazing artworks, what do you enjoy doing?

I love creating poems with my fiancée, writing my own world building for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and, most of the time, playing video games.

What is the most challenging part of being an artist or illustrator ?

Burnout and art block. It is like staring at an empty canvas where a lot of things come into your mind of doing a certain artwork, and because of that nothing came out and you end up shutting down.

What is the best part about being an artist or illustrator?

The best part for me is when my art connects to people, when they understand the story and the narrative behind the illustration. Even if they don’t say it’s good, as long as they understand it then that would be the best thing for me.

Please show us some samples of your work with Tellwell, and tell us a bit about each

Boogie Pudding by Adam Manno. I loved doing this project. I had fun applying my techniques of lighting which really fit this story because it’s set indoors, and giving it this cinematic feels makes the illustration more inviting to the reader.

Alpaca in My Pocket by Karen Cantley. I love the quirky feel and loose painterly aesthetics of these illustrations. I tried to keep sketchy lines in it so the reader will feel like it is being drawn traditionally, and they will choose the warm greens, since this is a happy book.

The Big White Fluffy Caterpillar by Adam Manno. This was my first project with Adam Manno before Boogie Pudding. In this one most of illustrations are outdoors and I had fun painting the spreads of trees and foliage. This is also one of my favourite projects since I applied all that I have learned from the techniques I made up, like the outdoor lighting and the dappled shadows from the canopy of the trees. This is one of my favourite spreads.

The Dragon Sneezes by Sandra Eikin. This is part of the illustrations I did for her, and I chose to showcase this spread since it is one of the painterly spreads that I love doing. In this illustration I did three changing seasons and how they change the surroundings of the house, with flowers, etc.

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