Artist Spotlight


Clairice Gifford


When I first starting working after graduating, the only jobs I could get were in the design field. I didn't really think I appreciated design as much as did illustration, but the more I worked with some incredible designers, the more I realized how amazing design could be. One of those designers was Clairice Gifford. Clairice's style can be described as a modernized version of mid century modern. Her esquisite color palettes and detailed approach to fonts and patterns make her work look like visual confectionary (definitely in line with her other passion of sweet treats!) I am really lucky to have gotten to work with such a skilled designer and can only hope to gain her understanding of delectable designs!


Tell us a little about yourself:
I love chocolate, traveling, hanging out with my family and podcasts. I'm addicted to Audible and Pinterest. I have a BFA in graphic design and just love creating stuff.
Tell us about your art:
I do a lot of lettering, illustration and patterns. It's great when I have projects I'm excited about and I'm all about color and detail. There are too many ideas and not enough time!
Who/ What are your your greatest inspirations? 
I'm inspired by so much! Anything vintage is always inspiring, old books, fabrics, etc. I also love traveling, museums, anything mid-century modern. You can really find inspiration in almost anything!
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I'm lucky to have projects I'm excited about and that always helps. I also like to have a bigger picture in mind. Even if it might take a while to get there, having a bigger goal to work toward constantly helps keep me inspired and motivated.
How do you you balance it all?
Ha, I'm still working on this one! There are a lot of crazy nights and juggling life stuff with project deadlines. Right now, I'm really trying to establish routines (morning, workday, night) to keep myself on a schedule and sane.
What do you like to do when you are creating?
It kind of depends at what point in the process I'm in. I love having tea and maybe a bit of chocolate. :) If I'm working on concepts, ideas or the layout of something and really need to focus, I've been loving listening to classical music lately. If I'm further along and know what I'm doing with the project, I'll listen to an audiobook or podcast.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Try everything and anything! Take classes and learn from other artists. It will only make you better at what you do. Explore and try a few projects out of your comfort zone. I think that's when you really start to see your own style and process come out and grow. There is a lot of great design out there, but you don't need to look like or do everything. Figure out what you love and then pursue that and push yourself to keep your design fresh and innovative.


Thank you Clairice for taking the time to do this! To see more of Clairice work, go HERE!




..............................................

Shawna Tenney




When I was planning to go to school for art, I went online and did some research. I wanted to find artists who were doing the kind of art I loved to see and follow in their footsteps. I came across four artists that still inspire me today. One of those four artists was Shawna Tenney. Shawna has a fun, whimsical style that brings her children's books to life. I was lucky enough to meet Shawna in person during my senior year at University and still learn so much from her art. Her latest book "Brunhilda's Backwards Day" is just being released and I thought it would be a great opportunity to share a little about Shawna.

Tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in Taylorsville, Utah. I discovered a love for picture books at a young age since my mom loved to read them to me. 
I also had a love of drawing from a young age. My mom use to staple pieces of paper together for me so I could write and illustrate my own books. I still have several of the little books I made.
As I got older, I enjoyed being the "class artist." I didn't take a ton of art classes in school, but I loved to draw on my own. My junior year of High School, I was accidentally put into the A.P. Art class because of a mistake in my schedule. The teacher let me stay. From there, I became the Sterling Scholar in art for my senior year of high school, which led me to get a scholarship at UVSC (UVU now) and majoring in art.
It didn't take me too long to figure out that children's books is exactly what I wanted to do. I got my Bachelor's degree in illustraion from Brigham Young University. I started getting illustration work a year later, and have been working as freelance illustrator ever since.

Tell us how you became an illustrator:
I had my first baby about two months after I graduated from BYU (I know, I'm crazy, right?). We also moved so my husband could go to school. I had to go to work to help with the finances. I ended up working at the frame shop in JoAnn's. It was hard to leave my 5 month old baby and go to work. 

After a few months of working at JoAnn's, I was determined to start getting work in Illustration and work from home- do what I loved to do and be with my baby. Double bonus! So I started sending out post cards to agents and publishers. Then I took a giant leap of faith and quit my job. The week after I quit my job, I was offered my first freelance job, working for a children's magazine. The next week after that I got an offer to be represented by an art rep. I took both offers, started getting freelance work, and the rest is history!

Tell us about your book and the creation that went into it:
"Brunhilda's Backwards Day" is a story about a witch who loves making trouble. She loves spreading her nasty spells throughout the land. Until one night her cat makes a potion that makes everything... go backwards! 

I had so much fun writing this book. I wanted to make it hilarious, but also teach a great lesson to kids: that it's much more rewarding to be kind to people than to be mean.
Brunhilda's Backwards Day was not my first published book as an illustrator, but it was my first published book as an author. I toiled over the writing, the character design, compositions, and the color. It was a very special personal project, and I wanted to make it the best book I could.
I wrote my first draft in early 2013.  The first draft didn't work at all, but I was able to shape the story better over time. I finished my story board and some finished paintings later that year. I finished my dummy book before going to an SCBWI conference in New York in February 2014. In the fall of 2014, my literary agent at the time helped me land the publishing deal with Sky Pony Press. I finished the book in July 2015-  a year ago. It's been a long journey, but so worth it! I'm so happy with the way the book turned out! I'm excited to share the book with everyone!

How do you you balance it all?
Good question! Sometimes I wonder this myself. 

I don't think I'm always great a balancing things. But I try my best to stay on a schedule- meaning waking up early in the morning, serving my family meals at regular time, and going to bed  around the same time each night. I try to take a walk every day, because it's not only great exercise, it also helps me clear my mind and come up with more ideas.
I also try to make priorities. Sometimes my work in a priority, and sometimes my family is a priority. It's sort of like standing on a balancing board. Sometimes you have to lean more towards the family side, and sometimes you have to lean more towards the illustration side.  

Who and What are your your greatest inspirations?
My influences are from all over. A little bit of all the things I enjoy from over the years have become part of me to influence my art. Here's a few of them:

When I got to college, one of my first inspirations was Mary Grandpre. I've also always loved the work of Norman Rockwell. There are so many other artists I am inspired by, I could never name them all.
I've also been influenced by many movies. Since a young age I enjoyed old technicolored musicals, and animated Disney movies. I've always loved the humor of old Sesame Street characters and The Muppets. I've always enjoyed the fun of old magical Disney movies like Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Pete's Dragon.
When I was younger, I danced ballet for many years and played a couple instruments. I think the music, shapes and rhythms of these performing arts has been a big influence to my illustrations.
A combination of all these things influenced me when I wrote Brunhilda's Backwards Day.

How do you keep yourself motivated?
Well, deadlines are helpful when it comes to staying motivated on certain things. But personal projects are a little more tricky. I have to tell myself that the personal project is a priority, because if I work hard enough, it will eventually turn into a published book. So again, it's a matter of making priorities. 



What do you enjoy doing when you aren't illustrating?

I love to spend quality time with my family. I enjoy taking my kids on fun outings or going out with my husband. I also enjoy taking tons of pictures and making digital memory books.  


What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Keep reaching for your dream. Sometimes it seems like you will never get there. Just remember, it might take many years, but that's okay. Enjoy the journey. Keep drawing every day. Keep reading books and finding the art that inspires you. You'll probably have to do some crapy freelance jobs along the way. But those jobs will help you learn, and are stepping stones to help you build your career. When you get discouraged, and you will get discouraged, pick yourself up and just keep going.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Link to my book trailer: HERE


Link to the Brunhilda's Backwards Day: HERE

Thanks Shawna! Check out more at her website HERE!

...............................................



Cam Kendall


I was lucky enough to go to school with (for the short time he attended UVU) Cam Kendall. My first class with him was a Children's Book Illustration class and his artwork totally stood out as something special. His playful characters and unique style really captures the essence of who Cam is as a person. I have followed his art over the years and it is exciting to see the stories that come from this guys head and the way he beautifully crafts them into illustrations. Read on to learn more about him.

(Image belongs to Cam Kendall)

Tell us about yourself: I was born and raised in Provo, Utah and am currently living in Orem, Utah with my Wife and four kids. I grew up with a healthy dose of Ninja Turtles, Duck Tales, Garfield, and Calvin and Hobbes (though I didn’t understand half of what that comic strip said… haha).
I’m a complete geek. 
I attended UVU and then bailed out half way through my bachelors.

Tell us about your art: My art is probably best described as riding the line between cute and gritty/dark. I’m a comic book artist and am currently working on a few comic projects as well as my ongoing webcomic: Pundragon.com.


How do you balance it all? Well, mostly I don’t. Haha. Though I find that if I put the priorities first (i.e. Family, my spiritual well-being, and serving others) the rest seems to fall into place, or fall off completely, if it’s not important.


What/Who are your Inspirations? My greatest inspirations are my wife and kids. After that, it’s Lion-O, Lord of the Thundercats. There are loads of Artists that inspire me: Hayao Miyazaki, Bill Watterson, Gustave Dore, Guy Davis, Cory Godbey, Skottie Young… and many others. Lastly would be Nature…. and board games.


What motivates you? It can be hard staying motivated at times. The most helpful thing for me is to have an end goal in mind at all times (like finishing a comic) and then just taking it one step/day at a time. Plus, taking time to help others be motivated helps a lot. And good music.


What do you like to do when you're not drawing? When I’m not drawing, I love playing board games with my boys, laughing, hiking, going on dates with my wife, and reading.


Any advice you'd like to share? My advice to aspiring artists ( I’ll just pretend like I’m talking to the past “me”) Hey aspiring artist Cam, don’t compare yourself with others, just try and improve a little each day. Find out what you’re passionate about doing, and then do it! Don’t give up because you find others who are ahead of you skills-wise. Make lots of friends! Be giving! And, probably lay off the Oreos.


Last words? Rani Bean is fantastic. my first illustration class was “Illustrating for Children’s Books” and she was there, rocking the art! She’s a great friend and I really admire her art style... And for all things Cam Kendell, go to CamKendell.com

Thanks CAM! You are an amazing artist and I'm excited to see more of your projects!




...............................................


David Habben


(Image belongs to David Habben)

I met David Habben a few years ago at a SCBWI conference. David's work really stood out to me back then and I have been following his art ever since. His illustration style has evolved over time and it has been fun to see so far. I knew I had to do a spotlight on him and share his art with everyone I know!

Tell us a little bit about how you became an artist: I was fortunate enough to be raised in a home where the arts were valued, so like most artists, when I started drawing as a child, I never felt the need to stop. It wasn't until I was in college that I really started to feel like an artist though. Being in a dedicated art class and having that be my sole focus changed everything. It went from just something I did to something that I felt I was.
What and who were your biggest influences? My mother, certainly first and foremost. She could've easily been an illustrator and artist full-time. I've always had a great love for children's book illustrators like Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Chris Van Allsburg. I was also drawn to the more graphic work of Picasso and Matisse.
How did you develop your current style? I think it's still developing, which I actually love. Most of the development has come from experimenting with different tools and making use of new opportunities.
What are your favorite projects to work on? (Mediums/ genres, etc) I really love to work with a narrative, whether that's a book or an ad campaign. The idea of building something multi-faceted with a group of people willing to invest their talent and time is always great. Style wise, it varies, but lately I've been focusing on creating subtleties within my work rather than being overtly direct with a message. It's like encoding the work with a secret message and it's really challenging to do effectively.
If you could change something about your journey to where you are now as an artist, what would you have done differently? I think I would do earlier in my life what I feel I'm only starting to do now and that's let go of the fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of acceptance. It's all junk that stands in the way. My greatest joys in art and relationships have come when I let go of fear.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists? Beware the crabs in the bucket, they'll always try to pull you down to their level, but also learn to not judge them for it. Most people don't realize their instilling their fear and negativity into you, so learn to love them for who they are. It will free you to follow your dreams without burdening you with resentment.
How do you stay motivated and involved? I allow myself to try new opportunities and to take breaks. A know a lot of artists that don't accept commissions because they fear it will interfere with their vision. I think that the commission work opens our eyes and keeps things interesting. It's the difference between making friends and talking to yourself all day. Making friends can be dramatic and challenging, but the rewards of those relationships far outweigh any safety you find in solitude.
Anything else you like to add? It's a privilege to share these thoughts with you. Thank you for your interest and your encouragement! Keep making and creating. The world needs your vision! 

Thank you David!!! See more of his incredible work right here.




...............................................


Drew Hill


(image belongs to Drew Hill)

I recently discovered the amazing art of Drew Hill.
Hill is a concept artist for the gaming industry who has an incredible understanding of the mechanics behind creating great characters. I loved that he shares some of this insight in a tutorial video you can find on his website.
And when I contacted Drew, he was so willing to share information, it made me like him even more. So, to share my appreciation for this awesome artist who has inspired and motivated me, here is a little more about Drew Hill, in his own words:

Tell us a little bit about how you become an artist?My earliest memory of drawing was at age 5. We lived on the St. Mary's River in Michigan's upper peninsula so my brother and I would draw freighters as they passed by. I remember telling everyone around that time that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. 


Who are some of your artistic heroes?John Singer Sargent, J.C Leyendecker, Eyvind Earle, Nico Marlet, Glen Keane, and my co workers Ben Shafer and Mark Behm. They're incredible artists that I'm constantly drawing inspiration from. 


What and who has influenced your style?

All the above mentioned artists along with my friends Bob Risetto and Yevgeniya Andriyevskaya. Bob taught me the power of simple, iconic shapes and I'm very inspired by the looseness and fluidity in Yevgeniya's figurative work.  I'm also influenced a lot by mid-century graphic design, vintage product labels, victorian and baroque architecture, old Sega games, the old Disney masters and movies. There's probably a lot more things that I can't think of right now. 

What are some of the things you glad you have accomplished and still want to accomplish? I'm very grateful for the opportunity to work as a concept artists at Epic Games. The quality bar there is very high so I'm constantly being pushed to improve. As for future accomplishments I'd love to try writing and illustrating a children's book someday. 


How do you stay motivated?Being around a community of artists at work helps a lot. I also enjoy writing and sketching which is where I come up with most of my character ideas. I find it more interesting to explore a character's backstory and world rather than just trying to draw a cool looking character. On a practical level I set a realistic goal of posting at least one image a month on my site. This keeps me doing art outside of work and the last couple years it's worked out pretty well. 


What are the best learning materials you would recommend?I personally don't benefit much from painting tutorials or "how to" type books (though I've attempted making a tutorial myself). The single best learning tool for me has been figure drawing and painting. If you can't find regular open model sessions, draw people in places like coffee shops, restaurants and public transit. Sometimes I use online life drawing tools like http://artists.pixelovely.com to do quick 2 minute poses. Focus on gesture, rhythm, form, and whatever style you're trying to refine. 


What advice do you have for aspiring artists?Draw a lot. There's no easy way to get better. You simply have to put in the hours and try to improve with each piece.  The great thing about this field is that we don't rely as much on knowing the right person or having impressive credentials. Ultimately it comes down to your portfolio. If your work is strong and you're pleasant to work with, there's a really good chance you'll get a job doing art. 


I'd like to thank Drew Hill for taking the time to answer these questions and for sharing your insight and incredible art with the rest of us!

See more of Drew Hills art here.

...............................................


Alastair Graham

(image belongs to Alastair Graham)


It is my honour to share a spotlight on my blog of one of my childhood influencers!
Alastair Graham has a unique style, an incredible eye for detail and a great sense of humor.
If you haven't read previous blog posts of mine, I have mentioned how pouring over his illustrations as a kid on rainy days in the library really impacted me to want to draw.

Tell us a little bit about how you decided to become an artist? 
I was in Capetown for three years in the mid sixties and gradually realized the impact art, as presented by Thames and Hudson, was having on my eager adolescent eyes and head and decided that that was my route. 
On my return to London, I tried and failed to get into the Slade, and determined to paint on my own, while I lived with my parents. That was the beginning for me.

Who are some of your artistic heroes? 
Many, many, many, in all genres. But the crucial one was/ is Jean Giraud
aka Moebius, comics artist. 
In him I found the most stimulating combination of imagination and skill and, important
detail, his work showed a completely different range of possibilities.

What has influenced your style? 
Herge, Moebius, of course, Ivan Bilibin (pre-Revolution Russian), Juanjo Guardino,
Jim Woodring, all the clear-line French guys, Heath Robinson, Frank Bellamy, etc.

How do you come up with the ideas for your images? 
By drawing, thinking, feeling, not necessarily in that order.
Also, and this is important, by following the examples of my heroes, and trying to respond to a brief in the way that I think they would.
i.e. Don't be satisfied with the easy automatic option. Try for something better whilst still keeping to that brief.

How do you stay motivated? 
Ambition. By wanting to deliver something better than what I have already.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists? 
Keep dreaming, keep looking and learning, and, most importantly, keep
drawing. You will get better and better and better, I promise.

Anything else you like to add:
Yes. Look at everything, be it art, life, magazines, CD covers, anything that comes into
your line of vision. Look at it and learn as much as you can from it…..shape, line, colour, attitude….everything.

Check out more art from Alastair Graham
Thank you Mr. Graham!!!

...............................................


Nate Call

Nate Call is a very talented illustrator that everyone needs to follow! I am lucky enough to be friends this very cool cat! Nate has an incredible eye for design and a great grasp of sharing story and humor in his pieces. I am always in awe of Nate's beautiful work and his ability to capture the essence of a character or a story in simple, but very well thought out shapes and compositions.

(image belongs to Nate Call)

Tell us a little bit about how you decided to become an artist?

I've always been interested in art since I was little. My dad had a lot of natural artistic talent that he didn't really pursue but both my parents always supported and encouraged me. I remember pausing the Goofy Movie on my VCR at sleep overs and drawing Powerline with my friends. I would always draw during school and I would come up with little comics that made fun of teachers or movies and I really loved seeing my friends enjoy the comics. So I would say that's always been one of my big motivations for becoming an artist.

Who are some of your artistic heroes?


It's really hard to narrow down some of my artistic heroes, because there are SO many incredible artists that I've seen and I try to take something from all of them. If I had to choose a few I would say Skottie Young (Who consistently blows my mind), and Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin (The CreatureBox guys).


What has influenced your style?


Personally I feel like my style is all over the place. I've tried to take things from the above mentioned artists and work them into my own style. A lot of people say they can see a consistent style throughout all my work, but I don't feel like I have one consistent style nailed down yet.


How do you come up with the ideas for your images?


I really enjoy storytelling, so I usually try and include that as much as I can in my illustrations. Where it's the character itself or the environment or even the mood I try to have that depth and interest that I think really reaches out to people. I'm not very good at writing so I try to tell stories visually.

How do you stay motivated?
Luckily I have a lot of friends and family that support me in doing artwork so that really helps me stay motivated. And above all else I have my beautiful wife who believes in me (more than I do) which really helps me keep going. Daily drawings and personal projects really help you keep going as well.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the up coming months?
Well like most creative people I have more personal projects going on than I know what to do with. I've been doing some of the artwork for a video game I'm working on with my brothers called Crashnauts. You can find out more about that at www.crashnauts.com. Another project I'm really excited about will be a sci-fi themed online comic. I don't have anything to show for it yet, I'm working with a writer and we're trying to nail down the details before we get started. I'll keep everyone posted on that as things happen.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
One piece of advice I could give is to try not to always compare yourself to other artists. That's something that I've always struggled with, and still do. It's easy to get discouraged by how much better everyone else is but you should take that an be inspired by it. Everyone's in different places with their artwork and has different things to offer, so keep that in mind.

Anything else you like to add:

A HUGE thank you to Rani Bean who is an incredible artist and friend. She works so hard and has always been so motivated, she's been a big inspiration to me.
You can follow the incredible Nate Call on twitter and instagram @natecallart
Website: www.natecall.com 

Thanks NATE! You are amazing!!!

...............................................


Danielle Pioli

I discovered the art of Danielle Pioli a couple of years ago and have been really excited following her progress. I have come to appreciate her passion in both developing her skills in art and the subjects she portrays. I look forward in continuing to see where her art goes!

(image belongs to Danielle Pioli)

  • Tell us a little about yourself. 
  • I was born and live in Brazil, I'm 25 years old. I studied Digital Design at Istituto Europeo di Design, here in São Paulo. Since my college degree was not about animation, I had attended many other courses and classes that would help me get in the field. Many online and onsite classes and workshops, including the Imaginism In-House Workshop, in Toronto (now in Montreal).
  • Tell us about your art. 
  • Well, it's still in a development process. Maybe all artists are forever developing. But I feel that I still have a long way to go to achieve what it is that I want to share with my art. I love doing character designs, and that's the area I focused my skills. But also, I think we, as artists, have the power of making people feel certain things, think about things they haven't thought about before. That's the kind of thing I want to work on so I can achieve: getting my message out there, making people smile and feel the good vibrations I intent to share through my art.
  • How do you balance it all?
  • That's a good question. I'm actually kind of intuitive, so I'm not sure how to explain how I do things! Lol. I do a lot of what I like the most, but I know I have to learn to do some other things that I don't like as much. It's true to everything in life, right? Finding balance is not the hard part, it's to keep moving so we don't fall to any of the sides. I've read somewhere that things that are standing still tend to stand still and things in movement tend to stay in movement. Maybe we just need to keep working and things fall into place themselves. 
  • Who/What are your greatest inspirations?
  • Let's start with the obvious. Disney is number one, because it has been since I can remember. When I first realized I wanted to work in animation, it was much more obvious to look up to Disney movies. But that's not just it. I learned that there's more to it. Of course, the animation artists are still a huge reference to me, but I started to be inspired with any sorts of things, other things that I love, like music, travelling, yoga and cycling, and the list goes on... But it all gets easier when you have supporting people around you, people who inspire you even if they are not artists. So I think that's basically it: the things/people I love inspire me.
  • How do you keep yourself motivated?
  • Doing those things I love. Watching movies (which I do quite a lot), looking at other artists work in artbooks, online, whatever. Going to exhibitions. Going to concerts. I feel like if I stay at home, I tend to slow things down. I need to keep doing things, seeing things, researching things, listening to things, etc.
  • What is your favorite color?
  • I don't really think I have one. I tend to like warm colors better. But it's more about lighting than color itself. I love that time of day called "golden hour", when everything has that touch of golden yellow from the sun.
  • What advice do you have for aspiring artist?
  • I'm not sure I'm in place to give advice, but here we go... Follow your passion, whatever it is. Because when you love something it's much easier to do it. You study it more, you do it more often, and eventually you'll do it well. And it fills you with joy. Even if you have not art-related passions, try to incorporate it into your art. That way, your art will turn out unique. Another thing is to value your work and all the study and hard work you had to get there. DO NOT sell it cheap or work for free. Be careful with that, and be fair to yourself and the path you walked to get you where you are.
  • Anything else you'd like to share?
  • First of all, I'd like to thank you, Rani, for your interest in my work, and thank the readers for clicking in this page and checking out my stuff! Remember to walk down your own path and don't compare yourself to others. Each person has a different story, it's no use to compare. Compare yourself to yourself from the past. Learn from others, don't take critiques personally, accept people's opinion and then figure out if what they said works for you. And always be kind to yourself and other artists, we are all in the same boat. Peace.
  • A BIG "Thank You!" to Danielle for sharing her art and advice with us!
  • See more of Danielle's art on Facebook and Behance!

...............................................


  •  Jessica Warrick
  • I came across the art of Jessica Warrick when I was looking through Illustration Friday submissions many years ago. I would always seem to click on her entries and knew I was drawn to her work. I absolutely love her style and the way she combines elements humor and appeal into her illustrations. I am so glad she took the time to share some of her experiences with us!

(image belongs to Jessica Warrick)


Tell us a little about yourself:
The first time I got to observe reactions in people after seeing my art was in elementary school. To put it bluntly, I drew naked, dirty pictures semi-similar to the "treasure trove" sketch collection in the movie Superbad. It was educational for my classmates and helped me practice human anatomy.
I grew up drawing with my sister. She was better than me so it helped me improve. And I remember sculpting tiny clay things and gluing things and coating the plants outside with silver spray paint and casting concrete fountain molds with plastic kiddie pools and making elaborate cardboard houses for my pet mice. I was fortunate to have grown up with overly supportive parents.
I never went to college for art. Well, that's not true, I went for a week or so but didn't like it and quit. Turns out that school shut down a year later so no loss there. I studied landscape architecture and clinical psychology but those didn't take either. I did draw and write comic strips and editorial cartoons for my college newspaper for a bit.
Tell us about your art:
I like to draw people the most. I sketch digitally now, print it out, pencil it, watercolor it with a black value wash, scan, and color/modify with Photoshop.
How do you you balance it all?
I used to be quite unbalanced in my approach to art, and would find myself locked away from the outside world for long stretches of time. Now, I take breaks, work out, go outside, spend time with other human beings, meditate…
Who/ What are your your greatest inspirations? 
The Simpsons helped shape my love for the humor/art combo. Even though Matt Groening sucks at drawing…My other inspirations would have to be the 90's golden age of cartoons in general, the playboy artist Erich Sokol, Mary Blair, Ren and Stimpy's Bob Camp, Edith Head's sketches, the original picture book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Chuck Jones of course…there are also so many amazing illustrators today like Kevin Cornell, Carter Goodrich, David Small (mostly his graphic novel Stitches), Chris Van Dusen, Aaron Becker, Michat Dziekan…I also have a cool book: One Hundred Years of Science Fiction Illustration.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
The majority of the time, its not hard to be motivated because I love making illustrations. But when it is hard, I go away from it all for a bit and just sit still and be quiet. I find this helps to solve a lot of problems.
What is your favorite color?
Green.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
My advice would be…see if doing art is something you can't live without doing. Maybe quit for awhile, try lots of things, experiment, see if it comes back to you like a true love kinda deal. Then maybe you can make a career out of it if things naturally unfold that way. But don't force anything and don't let fear in any form decide how you go about your chosen art form. Don't take anything too seriously. That sucks and makes art suck.
Thank you Jessica! For more awesome art by Jessica, scoot on over to her website and blog. It will make your insides smile.

...............................................


Hollie Hibbert

Hollie Hibbert is a talented artist with such an appealing style!
I met Hollie a few years ago when I job shadowed at 'Imagine Learning'
Hollie immediately made me feel comfortable and was so willing to share her knowledge and skills with me. Seeing Hollie's sketches and Illustrations always brings a smile to my face because she has such a great style and beauty in her work.
She is someone that has influenced and inspired me and I am so glad she agreed to share more about the person behind the pictures with us!


(image belongs to Hollie Hibbert)
  • Tell us a little about yourself: I was raised in Sugar City, Idaho. Oldest of 6 kids. I earned my BFA at Brigham Young University-Idaho. I had such a great experience there! The professors all mentored me and helped me see a glimpse of the potential I had. And I made life-long friends. We were very competitive in the art dept. and we pushed each other to do better. Lots of pizzas, donuts, tears, aching backs, laughter, sticky notes...I honestly believe I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had all of them in my life. Other hobbies and interests of mine: Country Dancing, piano, book-binding, singing in the car alone. Attending concerts, rodeos, plays, checking instagram, checking twitter, checking facebook...aaaand checking instagram again. I also quit soda on a regular basis.

    How do you you balance it all? It's a constant battle. My faith and relationships are very important to me, but I don't think it's an either/or thing. Maintaining a balanced life involves a lot of discipline and planning. I don't always succeed with that, but I don't expect I'll ever be perfect at it. Just try to give it all my best effort and that's good enough.

    Who/ What are your your greatest inspirations? I am always inspired by all the amazing talent out there. I love learning more about my heroes and my heroes' heroes. Sometimes when I'm in a rut, all I have to do is turn on "Let it Go" from Frozen and just sit back and bask in it's musical beautifulness. Here's a "few" individuals I can think of off the top of my head:

    JC Leyendecker Brittany Lee Joey Chou Windsor MacKay Sam Nielson Ryan Wood Jim Madsen Alphonse Mucha Nico Marlet Skottie Young Jake Parker Hannah Christenson Chris Ayers Wade Hunstman Peter de Séve Elsa Chang Cory Loftis Brett Bean Dice Tsutsumi Nate Baertsch Leon Parson Jonny Duddle Ty Carter Josh Clare Arnold Friberg Pascal Campion Justin Rodrigues Dave Mottram Maryn Roos Mary Blair Victoria Ying Glen Keane Brandon Dorman Eyvind Earle

    the list goes on and on...

    How do you keep yourself motivated? I have a lot of uninspiring moments. Like a LOT! It's tough to stare at a blank screen and try and 'come up' with something. Usually this is a sign that I am burnt out and need to go on a walk/drive. It helps, but it's not a solve all. I try and keep in mind the bigger picture and try to think about where I want to be in 5 years. What's attainable? What's not? However, when you're on a deadline, it's important to learn how to push through those difficult times and make great art anyway. When that happens, it's very satisfying to sit back and see the hard work you've done. I also remember my art professor's voice in my head, "Just keep pluggin' away!" It's terrifyingly motivating, haha.

    What is your favorite color? My favorite Crayola crayon color is cerulean blue.

    What advice do you have for aspiring artists? Be happy in the success of others and always be kind. Don't wallow or be discouraged if people are "better artists" than you and don't resent someone else if they seem to have "more time" than you or if it appears that their work come "easy" for them. Everybody's journey is different and it's OK if you're struggling (because all those other people are too. Scouts Honor!) You'll be a better artist/person for it before long.

    My friend, Hannah Christenson wrote this about doing work for free in exchange for "Exposure": "A few days ago I was contacted by two separate people on the same day asking me to do work for free. A direct quote from one says, "As for now, I cannot promise a monetary compensation." I once did an unpaid project right out of school, I felt a lot of pressure to prove to myself that I could operate on a "real" schedule and finish a "real" project, but that was stupid. I should have spent those first few months building my portfolio or refining my website or something else useful. It ended up being a pretty sour experience, but I suppose the first year is mostly rough anyway. Don't get me wrong, doing fun and free work for a cool project that one loves or is passionate about is totally awesome! It's just the idea of some jerk taking advantage of an Illustrator or other working professional that gets me."

    Anything else you'd like to share? I am always trying to keep a sketchbook. Making a habit of drawing everyday has helped me improve immensely in the last 2 years that I've made an effort to sketch more. Not every drawing is a success...but I've noticed I'm a lot more consistent than I used to be. Consistency brings confidence, and confidence brings great work!

Thank you Hollie for being so awesome and sharing with us!


Check out more of her art on on her WEBSITE and BLOG.

...............................................


 Adam Munoa

I was really lucky to go to school with some incredibly talented artists. 
One of whom became like a big brother to me, Mr. Adam Munoa.
He is definitely a guy I look up to as an artist and a person. 
Adam has such a chill personality, making him really easy to get along with. 
He has a passion and intense focus when it comes to his art, which I really admire. 
His skill in capturing the essence of a personality in his caricatures and characters and his eye for detail, give his art a unique appeal.


(image belongs to Adam Munoa)

Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m originally from southern California. I had a pretty normal childhood filled with comic books and Saturday morning cartoons. I developed a love for drawing at an early age and spent most of my free time drawing. As far as education goes I was fortunate enough to have a really cool high school art teacher, Ms. Carunchio. She received special permission to teach a cartooning class. It was this class that really helped me to grow as an artist. I learned how to ink my drawings, push expression and tell stories with my artwork. I really loved that class! Years later I had the opportunity to study Illustration under Don Seegmiller, Perry Stewart and a handful of really incredible instructors at Utah Valley University. It was at UVU that I was able to really push myself as an artist. Through many sleepless nights and countless hours of drawing in painting I was able to develop my artistic skills and abilities
Tell us about your art:
For me personally, art needs to evoke emotion in order to be effective. Weather its anger; joy or sadness emotion is the key in making interesting and successful art. As mentioned before, cartoons and comic books were a huge influence in my work. So most of my artwork has some humor to a certain degree. While attending UVU Perry Stewart introduced me to the art of caricature. I had seen it but had not really tried it all that much. After a few attempts in caricaturing I found that I really enjoy the exaggeration and comedy that is part of the caricature genre. Ever since then I have been focusing most of my time on caricatures.
How do you balance it all?
When I decided to go back to art school I was in my late 20’s and already had a career (non-art related), a wife and three small children. I found quickly that time was precious and that I needed to prioritize my schedule. Obviously my family comes first but there were some sacrifices that needed to be made so I could complete my studies. I would be at school most of the day drawing and painting come home see that wife and kids for a couple of hours then after the kids were in bed I would go to my office/studio and work late into the night drawing and painting. I actually found that I enjoyed the quietness of working late. There aren’t many distractions in the middle of the night except for the occasional Google hangout with some of my art friends.
Who/ What are your greatest inspirations?
Man, there are so many it’s hard narrow it down… If I had to choose one it would be my Dad. He was a talented artist and cartoonist. When I was little I would often ask him to teach me how to draw my favorite characters. He jokes that at the age of ten I had become better than he was. I loved every moment of our art lessons!
How do you keep yourself motivated?
That’s the real trick, right? The main thing that keeps me motivated is the compulsion to create art. I’m not happy or balanced if I’m not drawing and painting. Also the desire to improve keeps me constantly working. I have certain goals and things that I want to accomplish with my work and I wont stop until I’m able to succeed in accomplishing those goals.
What is your favorite color?
Blue
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
I would encourage aspiring artists to draw all the time especially from life and also not to worry so much about a “style” right away. That will eventually come with time and effort.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Live life and get out there and draw!


Thanks to Adam for sharing his art and advice with us!

Check out more of his art on on his WEBSITE.


...............................................

Elena and Olivia Ceballos

I was able to conduct a mini interview with two incredibly talented artists I admire very much, Elena and Olivia Ceballos.
They are two of the sweetest people I have ever met, (not exaggerating at all!)
I was lucky enough to meet them at CTN last year and am excited to share their awesome art and insight on my blog.

(image belongs to EliOli)

What most influenced you both to pursue art? 
We both love doodling on any kind of computer paper that we had in the house! Our parents bought us a little drawing table, complete with markers and crayons. Definitely the encouragement of our parents and teachers helped encourage us in our younger years. We were and are fortunate enough to have had the support from people to continue to invest our time in an education for a career that is very specialized. No one has ever talked us out of it!

How did you decide to focus more on animation over any other art fields? 
The DreamWorks film, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron was released in theaters in 2002. We were 7 at the time. We were in such awe of the artistry that went into the film! We bought the DVD, watched the behind the scenes features, and from then on, we knew we wanted to pursue a career in animation! What we wanted to do in animation, though, was another story!

Who are some of your biggest influences?

Anyone who works in the industry, or people close to our age who have a desire to work in it, influences and motivates us! It is so inspiring! Individuals that we find influential on our work all have very different styles. Tom Bancroft has been a great source of advice in many different areas for us. Of course, his work is amazing too! His books on character design are really informative and can whip you back in shape if you get a little rusty! Genndy Tartakovsky, Nico Marlet, Mary Blair, and basically anyone who has a blog, are all our influences! Seeing that we jump from one style influence to another on occasion, really speaks volumes of how these people greatly influence our work.

What things do you enjoy drawing the most? Anything involving color, animals, fantasy related material, nature, character designs, and just working on some on our own ideas! Pretty general stuff, but it is great fun.
Do you have a favorite piece that you have made and why is it your favorite? Well, we try to make every piece better than the last, most of the time. Basically, anything that turns out the way we wanted it to, that will be our current best piece!
How do you go about creating a piece? When going about a digital painting or traditional drawing, it usually starts out with a rough sketch. With full on digital “paintings” it starts with a sketch, rough colors, flat colors, shadows, and then details. Every time is different, but we try to take that approach as much as we can. But sometimes, we improvise during the middle of the process. Oh well!
What advice do you have for others trying become artists? It’s never too late to become an artist! Be dedicated, humble, hard working, and love what you do!
Any other tidbits you want to share? The only reason we got into the gifted class in our primary school days was because we showed a strong interest in drawing. But, that was pretty much the only thing we got in for, because all of the logical puzzles and simple riddles they would give in the class always stumped us! And in our first grade class, there was always this supply of giant, white paper. It was ALWAYS there. When it was time for indoor recreation, everyone would either go to play in the kitchen area, play with blocks, or something else. We always ran for the giant paper! And just recently, we found out that it was our dad that supplied our class with the paper. We thought it was very sweet! After all those years, and our parents were always behind the scenes in our artistic growth in some way.
A BIG thanks to Elena and Olivia for being so gracious and willing to share their thoughts and talents with me and the rest of the world.
Check out more of their art on their TUMBLER page or WEBSITE.

...............................................

Pascal Campion

I have decided to start doing artist spotlights on my blog to share with you a little about some of the amazing artists that have influenced me. I was ecstatic to meet him at CTN last year and he is without a doubt one of the nicest people I have ever met!

I am so lucky to have for my first spotlight post, the man himself, Campion the Champion!

Ok, I apologize to Pascal for the cheesy caption, but in all seriousness, the man is amazing at what he does.
Pascal Campion is a French-American Illustrator and Animator who has an incredible eye for beauty and has the ability to capture a single moment so perfectly with the use of lighting, color, story and composition.
He has been a HUGE influence on my art and I am so lucky to be able to know him in person.
Pascal has worked in a wide variety of media, from games, music videos, feature films to books. Some of which include: Dreamworks Animation, Disney TV, MTV, Nickelodeon, Bent Image Labs, Cartoon Network, Hulu, They Might Be Giants, and PBS.
When I met him at CTN, he so was gracious to let me ask him a few questions about his work and has let me share his answers and art with you on my blog:



(image belongs to Pascal Campion)

How do go about choosing your color palette and lighting for your scenes?

For color and lighting.. I don't really chose colors.. I am actually not very good at that. I do work on lighting a lot actually.. that is something I feel comfortable with and that's also how I go about my colors. I don't see them as colors but as light being reflected...and as such.. they need to work together to give me an indication of where the light is coming from, it's intensity, and what is the emotion I am trying to get through the lighting (I have two sets of lighting when I do my images.. one that is the basic, everyday light and the second that is more the dramatic, storytelling one.. I think about them both.. I do the first one simply, just to set the tone, and then the dramatization to help the audience understand the emotional charge I am trying to impress upon them.. does that make sense?"
But for colors.. I don't think too much about them.. I use simple colors really.. and light the heck out of them.
Who are some of your favorite artists and why?
Ha.. right now I am very much into the impressionists.. and the Ashcan school.. George Bellows really. The impressionists because I grew up surrounded by their art (reproductions and museums)... I didn't know what they were called or who they were, but I loved their images and the heat that came out of them.. it impressed my mind more than I knew at the time.
Bellows because a friend of mine brought him up in a conversation not long ago and I had forgotten about his work.. I looked him up and totally fell head over heels when I saw all he had done .. got a nice big book on him and discovered more about him and was even more impressed.
I go in phases with artists.. but the ones that always always come back are the impressionists, Rockwell, Nc and Andrew Wyeth, Remington, Vermeer, Rembrandt ... and... hmmm. more I am sure. but I can't think of them right now.
And any other aspects you'd like to share about your processes, influences and inspirations?
Hmmm.. when I see something I like, a way the light is bouncing in the hair, on the head of my sons, the way my daughter laughs or how beautiful my wife is.. I try to describe it with words in my head. I literally tell myself.. this is what I am seeing.. Lily is smiling, she has her mouth open and it creates creases around her nose that go from there to there and have this color intensity.. her nose is like this, her eyes stretch out.. the mouth is whiter..etc etc.. I describe what I am seeing so that when I get to my drawing board I can remember what I just saw... makes sense?


A special thank you to Pascal for sharing his incredible art with the world!

Check out more of Campion's art at his site: Pascal Campion
And his Blog!

No comments: