- Amerikan Made Prints
- Art Buyer Magazine
- Art Order
- Association of Illustrators
- Cartoon Art Museum
- Cartoon Brew
- Design is Kinky
- Drawn and Quarterly
- Fantagraphics Books
- HOW Design
- Hi-Fructose Magazine
- ICON The Illustration Conference
- Illustration Class
- Illustration Friday
- Illustrators Illustrated
- Juxtapoz Magazine
- Lines and Colors
- National Cartoonists Society
- Plan 59
- Project: Rooftop
- Society of Illustrators
- Sugar Frosted Goodness
- Taught by a Pro
- Today's Inspiration
- UPPERCASE Magazine
I'm a freelance illustrator, located in Rochester NY USA, specializing in digital work that is heavily-influence by graphic design. Adobe Illustrator is my best friend, and my worst enemy. I also write and illustrate a webcomic called Kawaii Not (www.kawaiinot.com). I'm probably a little crazy -- but in the best possible way.
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
I've always known I wanted to be an artist, except for a brief love affair with marine biology in middle school, so I guess in that way I'm pretty lucky. I actually went to a high school for the arts, and it was there I realized that this "art thing" was the real deal, that it was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing in some way or another.
Who or what inspires you?
Inspiration-wise, I've always considered myself something of a magpie - my imagination grabs onto the shiny/interesting bits and pieces of everything around me, and files it all in my head for later use. I particularly love trawling through art books for ideas, and I really dig any sort of visual reference book (like any in the Taschen Icon series). Movies are also a brilliant starting place for me when I'm brewing up a brain storm.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
As I mentioned before, my high school was arts-based, so I guess my official training began there, with a strong emphasis on basic drawing techniques -- which was the perfect foundation I would have to say. I went on to get myself a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and then after spending two years working as a cashier/pharmacy technician and realizing I'd go nuts if I had to do this a day longer, I enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology and received a Master's in Computer Graphics Design. I basically spent two years in a basement computer lab pouring my sanity into a glowing computer screen in front of me. It was a weird and wonderful time.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
I keep fresh by remaining as busy as I can, and always trying to have new projects coming in. It's hard to get caught up in one problem too long when you have other work that needs to be done. Of course, a good old-fashioned stare into space can work wonders too. Sometimes just shutting down for five or so minutes is completely and utterly necessary.
What are some of your current projects?
Currently I'm writing a series of Illustrator-based tutorials for a newsletter, as well as creating new illustrations to supplement each article. I also have a hush-hush project I'm very excited about, provided everything works out. Both my fingers and my toes are crossed for that one. Of course, I'm always working on my webcomic Kawaii Not. I update with a new comic once a week. Well, I try, at least.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
I'm not sure I have a good answer for this one. I'm usually proud of any project I finish, or I feel like I've failed. I'm always competing against myself to get better and better.
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
Man, what don't I want to try? I see something, and I want to give it a whirl. I am particularly interested in doing some printmaking. I explored it somewhat in college, and really loved the whole process involved in making a print. I also want to paint more -- but doesn't everyone?
Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
Keep working! Every illustration, every design -- even the ones that seem to fail -- bring you closer to being the artist you want yourself to be. You can't win if you don't play. You can't even tie.
What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?
Hmmm... I think I'm still figuring this one out sometimes. I mean, part of the equation is obviously the marriage of a great concept with great execution, but sometimes there seems like there's a third part that's a little more nebulous in a truly brilliant piece of illustration or design. Maybe it's that instinct that leads you in the right direction when you're creating.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I try to work many different kinds of projects, usually all at once. A magazine illustration, writing a tutorial, designing a t-shirt; mixing up my work flow keeps my brain limber and engaged. I hate being bored.
And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?
Ooo...that's a tough one. I'm completely addicted to Veronica Mars, and have a pretty embarrassing attachment to Lost -- even when it seems to be just stringing me along. And The Venture Brothers, although not technically on in prime-time, is the perfect mix of gorgeous design and insane writing. Oh yeah, and I really, really miss Arrested Development. Damn.
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