3 life lessons from iconic illustrator Tomi Ungerer

Tomi Ungerer OFFSET

Tomi Ungerer has been working in illustration for over 60 years

It's day two of OFFSET festival here in Dublin and proceedings kicked off with a rare treat. Irish illustrator Steve Simpson sat down in conversation with iconic artist Tomi Ungerer to talk about his life's work, growing up in poverty and where he gets his inspiration.

In between stories of his parents, growing up during World War 2 and why his books were banned in America, Ungerer gave some special insights into his creative process. Rising to fame and winning awards for both his children's books and his erotic adult illustrations, the France born creative rightly received a standing ovation. Here's some of our favourite snippets from the insightful interview.

tomi ungerer OFFSET

Ungerer has won numerous awards for his charming children's books

01. Be endlessly curious

"Curiousity is what fuels passion and creativity," says Ungerer. "Be endlessly curious. The more curious you are, the more information you'll gather which will then lend itself to your work. You can never have enough knowledge; keep asking questions and keep searching for an answer. Your work will improve instantly."

02. Practise different styles

"If you only practise one style of illustration, you're not using your full potential," he continues. "I could never stick to just one style. I'd get so bored of myself so I'm always searching for new ways to express myself. If you continuously challenge yourself, you'll enjoy and treasure your work more. Do something that scares you."

tomi ungerer offset

Moon Man has been translated into 12 different languages

03. Be respectful

"A great deal of troubles in this world are down to a lack of respect," Ungerer explains. "That's one thing that I've always tried to teach my children... be respectful of everything, be it food, the elderly or whatever. If you show respect, you'll receive respect. It goes such a long way and people often forget this very simple thing."

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Sammy Maine

Sammy Maine was a founding member of the Creative Bloq team way back in the early 2010s, working as a Commissioning Editor. Her interests cover graphic design in music and film, illustration and animation. Since departing, Sammy has written for The Guardian, VICE, The Independent & Metro, and currently co-edits the quarterly music journal Gold Flake Paint.