- Amerikan Made Prints
- Art Buyer Magazine
- Art Order
- Association of Illustrators
- Cartoon Art Museum
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- 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
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- Today's Inspiration
- UPPERCASE Magazine
When people ask me what I do, I say I tell stories with pictures. They stare at me with a puzzled look and I then break down say I’m a graphic artist. That always seems to satisfy them. The truth is, I want to say I’m an illustrator, designer, animator and author. That’s a mouthful at a dinner party, so I’m toying with the title graphic storyteller. I’ll work on it.
When did you first decide to become an illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
As a kid, I wasn’t sure how artists made a living. I knew I liked to draw and I knew I wanted drawing to be part of my job. But it wasn’t until I saw Alphonse Mucha’s swirling posters that I realized there was something between being a fine artist and a draftsman. Later I realized I could incorporate my love of storytelling and illustrating in children’s books and I was hooked.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m a huge fan of old photographs and movies. A flickering film of a trolley, or a photo of a stoic Civil War soldier, I love that kind of thing. Two particularly favorite photographers that come to mind are Alfred Stieglitz and Dorothea Lange. Also, I’m a sucker for a good “little guy makes it big” story.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
One of the unique things about New York City is the number of great design schools. It’s one of the main reasons I moved to NYC from Austin. I could pick and choose the classes I wanted. So I did and studied illustration, design, animation, filmmaking and screenwriting at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons and New York University. A huge nod has to go to the online 3D tutorials I’ve been studying lately, as well. There’s so much to learn with technology continually changing.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
I keep up with what’s out there, magazines, websites, anything that has to do with design and digital arts. I also keep my designs and art fresh for myself by continually going back to graphics that interest me, namely old advertisements and photos.
What are some of your current projects?
Currently I’m working on an animated short, a proposal for a longer film and design work for a corporate conference.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
There’s a special place in my heart for my first children’s book, Blue Claws. It’s about crabbing with my grandfather. It was my first real paid gig and somewhat of an homage to my grandfather.
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
I’ve recently been itching to get into puppetry. It has a lot of similarities to animation.
Any advice to the novice illustrator?
Find out what you like. Then do it and remember to keep learning and looking along the way for more things to like.
What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?
For me there are two levels, the first being mastery of technique. I love looking at a beautifully rendered piece or a dead-on design choice. The second is that transcendent quality art is capable of, a piece that evokes a feeling.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I start to feel a little out of sorts if I’m not working on something creative, so I’m normally very motivated to work on my projects. Not that I don’t have my down times. In those moments I head over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a real lifesaver for me. Burn-out is something I deal with on a daily basis. That’s a tough one. Sometimes projects seem insurmountable and it feels like a Herculean effort to even put pencil to paper or more recently hand to mouse. In those times, I get on my bike, put on my headphones and pedal around the park till exhaustion sets in.
Finish this sentence. "If I weren't an illustrator I would have been a..."
And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?
When it comes to TV, I’m a true dork. I love anything to do with UFOs and Barbarians, and I hate to admit I’ve taken a liking to the couple of survival shows that are out there at the moment. Geeks rule!
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