Chris Robertson’s digital books are always a delight to see and read because he has a unique lighthearted approach to describing his characters with his pen and translates it to digital. "Harry and the Hot Lava" will be released on touch screen digitally by Xist on July 15 and displays this same approach to creating the character.
Since it is summertime, Robertson takes advantage of weaving the feeling of heat into his story and the challenge faced by his character, Harry. Young Harry finds that everywhere he goes in and around his home there is that “hot lava” substance. With bold splash of the colors against black lines you can feel what Harry is feeling. How will Harry escape the heat? You find yourself caught up in Harry’s situation looking for relief and safety.
Robertson has a unique talent through his characters and their depiction that draws you into the scene and engages you in their story. His previous book named, “My Yellow Umbrella” on digital at Xist has the same unique touch of upward movement that swirls forward and captures you in its story until you smile. Each of his characters takes on the “moment” and goes into the movement with an optimistic attitude.
Robertson, who has been an assistant art director at Fox Animation over the past ten years, currently completed work on “American Dad”, seasons 3-9 and previously he was an assistant director on “Family Guy”, seasons 3, 4, and 5. It is easily seen in his work that he is comfortable and highly expert at the use of translating his art and characters onto the screen with the blend of modern technology.
I had a Q & A with Chris Robertson about digital books and how he translates his skills and art to digital. Here are his responses:
Chris: I think it's important for the illustrator to expand their creative pallet to include working in digital programs, but I think it all falls back on an understanding of artists' materials and tools and how they naturally and organically interact with the surface of one's "canvas".
Q, How does working in Television differ from a digital book?
Chris: “I suppose there is a connection with the digital books and the TV digital world, but from my standpoint, the primary reason to create something digitally is to produce the end product in a faster and more efficient way. I never thought I would enjoy drawing or painting on a digital tablet, but the process can be quite rewarding, especially for someone like me, because I never really considered myself a "techie". As far as my work goes, I find it satisfying when someone can't actually tell whether the illustration was done digitally or traditionally. That proves to me that I'm just using the digital tools as I would pen and ink or a brush and watercolors.”
The ending of Harry and the Hot Lava is a tickle to the heart, so enjoy this summer another totally delightful treat from a talented animation artist who has mastered the joining of art and digital technology. It is simply fun! Harry and the Hot Lava will also be available in print from Xist.