Queensland College of Art design alumnus Andrew Kolb has rocketed up the bestseller lists with his popular picture books and has also brought his distinctive style to collaborations with Pixar and Marvel.
The Canadian author, artist and designer credits his time as an international student at Griffith with providing the inspiration for his debut picture book, Edmund Unravels.
‘I made lifelong connections at Griffith’
“The first book I authored and illustrated is about travel and missing home and keeping yourself centred. I couldn’t have written that story without the experience of living and studying abroad,” he said.
“Griffith was a place where I made lifelong connections and really discovered my independence.”
Originally from Ontario, Andrew travelled halfway across the globe to study design at the Queensland College of Art.
“I studied in a graphic design program here in Ontario. It had a great reputation within the industry, but the major appeal was knowing it connected up with QCA and Griffith University,” he said.
“I knew I wanted to study abroad from my first week in college.
“Having the chance to immerse yourself in another culture was a rare opportunity for me so I couldn’t pass it up.
“My classmates inspired me the most – I’m still in touch with, and follow the careers of many from my class. The work they continue to produce and explore is consistently amazing.”
After graduating from Griffith, Andrew began experimenting with illustration, creating a distinctive look influenced by mid-century design and vintage illustration. He has since created everything from children’s books to board games and limited edition prints.
“Since graduating, I’m most proud of becoming a published author, working with very cool clients and fully transitioning to illustration,” he said.
“I’ve always loved picture books and in pursuing illustration I figured a good way to start would be with my own stories. I drafted an idea, got rejected by a bunch of agents, and then finally found one who liked Edmund Unravels, which was picked up by Penguin.
“It’s perhaps a rare thing but I really feel like I’m doing the right thing. Not necessarily the best or newest or or most daring, but the sort of work that I didn’t realize I wanted to do as a kid.
“I get to write books and illustrate games and draw stuff I love and I think that’s what I appreciate most.”
A dream come true
His latest release is a collaboration with Marvel. Spider-Man Swings Through Europe is a picture book companion to latest blockbuster Spider-Man film.
“I’m a huge Spider-Fan so it’s been a dream to work on it,” he said.
“To me, Spidey is a beacon for what I love most: colourful adventures, personal drama, and a sense of fun throughout it all.”