Jared Chapman draws. Growing up in a small town in Northeast Texas, Jared drew a lot to pass the long, hot summer days and chilly winter nights. Over the next several years, Jared continued to draw, and was eventually paid to move to Austin, TX and do it full-time. When he isn't hanging out with his wife or drawing, he can be found looking for links to post on the inspirational weblog, DRAWN (www.drawn.ca) or looking for music that labels him as a "nerd".
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
To be honest, I'm not sure of the moment when I decided that I wanted to be an illustrator. Growing up, I was really mesmerized with most anything animated, so I wanted to be an animator for a long time... but I also said that I wanted to be a geologist, archeologist, and a caveman as well. Fast forward several years and I found myself graduated from high school and attending Texas A&M University, all in the hopes of getting into their Viz Lab program (a graduate level 3D program) four years later once I received my bachelor's degree. The first semester was rough. I was miserable, so I decided to apply to an art school. With luck on my side, I was accepted to the Savannah College of Art and Design and was finally able to start pursuing my dream of becoming an animator. With the constant drawing and learning that I was going through during this time in my life, I started noticing the work of other artists. I was able to put names with styles, observe what different people were doing with their work, and really just take notes on the things I thought were successful and the things that I didn't care for. This was my segway into illustration. I became obsessed with illustrators and found myself becoming hooked on their work. After I graduated in 2003, this obsession really took off, and I found my own work becoming increasingly more illustrative... it still is.
Who or what inspires you?
Sheesh. I could rattle on about this one all day and most of the night, but in order to save everyone the sore ears, I'll boil it down: everything inspires me. Broad answer, right? I'm always looking for new artists. I find the work of others to be very refreshing. If you can find that one artist that has a great, new take on things, unlike anyone you have seen before, well, I get more excited about finds like that then I do about my own birthday! Drawn is a fantastic resource for this. Music is a constant source of inspiration for me as well. I also really find old, small towns to be a huge source of inspiration... that may be attributed to the fact that I am from a small town. They never fail to be a diamond mine of quirky stories, people, and customs.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, which really laid the ground work and stirred the drive for my own explorations in my work. Having said that, I can't help but feel that there is no college or art school that can really teach you when it comes to your own unique voice. They (the school) can take you to a certain point by teaching you different techniques and methods of working, but taking these things and applying them to your vision is up to the individual. The biggest periods of growth in my short artistic career have been on my own.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
For me, the secret is to continually be trying new things. Sometimes these experiments go no where or end in mass destruction. Other times, something good will come out of them. What is important for me is that I am pushing my boundaries as an artist.
What are some of your current projects?
Right now I am working on an illustration for an upcoming collaborative book that will be published this Spring. It sounds like it will be a pretty cool book once it is finished. I'm a big fan of some of the artists that will be included in it. Other than that I have a few personal projects that I hope to complete this year.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
Yes! Screen printing! That is one technique that I have been dying to try out. I really want to apply it to the work that I am currently doing... see what kind of looks I can achieve when I combine it with other mediums and techniques. I actually dream about it at night... I obviously have no life.
Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
Sure. Keep your eyes open to the things around you. Whether it be what other artists are doing, the way a leaves grow on a tree, whatever, you?ll be amazed at what you can learn just by observation. Also, be sure you're having fun with what you are working on. Nothing stinks more than something that is forced. Finally, be sure to keep people of wisdom in your life. My dad once told me that and I live by it.
What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?
I'm not sure I can give a simple answer to this question. I would say a well though out idea that has been carried out to perfection... but I don't think that ever really happens. At least it has never happened with my work. I think perfect means something different to every person. For me, I like to see the flaws in a work. There is a certain type of charm that flaws add. Just knowing that a person used their hands and imagination to craft an object... it's great.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I tend to work in cycles, so the moments of unmotivation are inevitable. When those times hit and I am in the midst of a creative drought, I do nothing. I watch TV, read magazines, listen to music, and think... just whatever. Recently I've been fishing a lot... and I discovered four wheelers. Eventually I come out of my slump... it may take a week or so, but things always get better.
And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?
Hmm... good question. You can never go wrong with The Office. The new season of Project: Runway just started a few weeks ago, so my wife and I have been watching that... it's not on prime-time or still on air anymore, but I really like catching reruns of Grounded For Life in the afternoons as well. With the exception of these shows, I probably don't have the best taste when it comes to TV.