Tuesday, July 22, 2014

AmericasMart Atlanta July

This was my second trip to the AmericasMart in Atlanta. I also attended in January. There was much less traffic at this show. I understand that this time of year is busy for stores so they tend to come in larger numbers in January. 
With that said I found this show as exciting and interesting as in January. I took time to look at showrooms I hadn't seen before and met some lovely people along the way. 
I did find that themes and trends haven't changed much.The chalk look and word images were still strong. There were some lovely garden and animal themes as well. I saw some wonderful art on all kinds of products. There were lots of fun whimsical products for Halloween and Christmas too. 
Seeing new friends and old was an added benefit.
Personally the show was especially nice in that some of the Two Can Art images were launched. PPD featured the Winter Solstice collection in the window. One of the cards at Design Design was also in the showroom. I really love meeting the sales forces at the show too. They were all so incredibly kind.
 Visiting the showrooms can really give you a good idea of a manufactures look and product selections,so you can get an idea if it's a good fit for your artwork.
  I am looking forward to heading south again in   

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Siyana Zaharieva

How did you become an artist?
It was a very straight process in my case.I was quite excited by illustrations back in my childhood and very early I decided that exactly this would be my job. Even I enrolled in drawing classes by myself and my parents got to know this as late as the time for payment came.
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I graduated with „Illustration“ from the National Academy of Art, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator?
Definitely all illustrators, with whose children‘s books I have grown up, have influenced me. There are a lot of such illustrators. However, there are two persons, who showed me in a completely different way that despite the difficulties, one should not give up what one wants to do; that one should be persistent, work hard and believe in one‘s self. These persons are my parents.
Are there any artists or individual that influence your work?
I am addicted to illustration. The blogs and websites of illustrators that I follow are really a lot. I am constantly discovering artists, who are new to me and who become my favourite. They are also quite a lot. Over the past few days I have been checking with great interest the illustrations of Fredéric Pillot, Chun Eun Sil, Eric Puybaret.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by stories for children, by the good writers, children‘s imagination, nature... by the world that surroudns me.
Your work process is really interesting can you share how you create your images?
I draw entirely by hand. First I give myself enough time to explore and ponder on what I will do. Then many pencil drawings follow while I create the character or characters that I draw. It is important to have drawings from different points of view in at least several situations before I proceed.If I do a book, after the development of the characters, I make small sketches (storyboard) of the various illustrations. Then I start developing them in detail in the real format. Finally I do them in colour. I paint with acrylic paints on paper. Incidentally it has been the case that I have had to paint in Adobe Photoshop, but this is in extraordinary situations, when the deadline is too tight and this is the only way for me to fit in it.
What types of markets do you create art for?
Until now I have worked in the field of children's books and illustrations for advertising campaigns. I hope that in the future the books will prevail.
Are there links where more of your art can be seen?
Yes – here they are:
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching, or classroom visits?
I have always found working with children to be extremely interesting, but I am still doing my first steps as an illustrator and perhaps in the future I could try also in this area. Next month I'm about to be one of the presenters at a children's workshop "DO YOURSELF A BOOK" and I am very excited.
Are there other creative interests you persue like writing or music?
In my free time I like reading, travelling and cyclingI have never done music and I think I am not talented in this fieldAs for writing, one never knowsI am considering such a book written and illustrated by me, but I‘m still gathering courage.
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? books, gift or home products?
Yes, but for now they are only on the Bulgarian market. There are books with my illustrations. They can also be seen on the cupakes from„Take a cake“ (http://en.take-a-cake.eu/cupcake-art/poznaj-prikazkata.html), the promotional mugs of Jacobs Monarch and on the cover of the latest issue of the culinary magazine "Bacchus. "
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I love everything, the entire process. Yet, perhaps I love it the most when,following numerous pencil drawings, Idetermine on the characters and composition, and move on to work with colors. This has always been the sweetest for me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Patrick Girouard

How did you become an artist?
I've always drawn and painted, and that's always been my favorite thing to do. I loved it whenever my Dad would bring a batch of laundry home from the dry cleaner, because I had permanent dibs on all of that shirt cardboard. It was white on one side and brown on the other. Two drawing surfaces for the price of one! I took all of the art classes that I could all through school, volunteered to paint sets during class plays, and figured out ways to illustrate book reports and any assignments that I could. Going to art school and becoming a professional artist was the only thing I ever considered doing.
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I went to the Paier School of Art in Hamden, CT. I had wonderful teachers and classmates, and was given a great foundation to build on. Attending school there was one of the best times of my life, I can feel it's influence every day.
Was there anyone that influenced you in becoming an artist?
My Dad was a successful businessman in New York City. In spite of always being very supportive and encouraging, I was nervous about telling him that I wanted to go to art school. When I finally got up the nerve I was incredibly relieved when he said he thought it was a great idea. He told me that he had always hated his job, and he never wanted me to be in that position. I was also lucky to have several great teachers in elementary and high school who noticed my abilities and encouraged me.
Is there one or more artists whose work is an influence?
Tons! Early influences were artists like Tony Ross, Babette Cole, and especially Tomi Ungerer. I love their line, color, and especially their senses of humor and anarchy. When I was younger I enjoyed illustrators like B. Kliban, Edward Gorey, Rick Meyerowitz, and Gahan Wilson. Scratch that younger part, I still love them. Other favorite illustrators include Wilson McLean, Brad Holland, Alan Cober, William Joyce, Trina Schart Hyman, Friso Henstra… this list could go on forever and I'd still forget someone.
What inspires you?
Books, movies, other artists, conversations with friends and family, dreams, images that stick in my head, color combinations, travel… life! Last November I was driving down to Florida with my son Marc. We saw a big flatbed truck that had gone off the side of the road and big white boxes scattered all around it. Then we noticed that the people cleaning up the boxes were all wearing full body beekeeper's outfits, and there was a huge cloud of bees over the whole thing! By the time we had passed it was too late to go back or snap any photos, but I clicked a brain picture for future reference. Later on I made a quick image, and some day it might be refined and turn into something.
Would you like to share your work process?
It's pretty intuitive. If an illustration that requires specific reference material I'll gather as much of it as I can so that I really feel like I know what I'm drawing. I try to look at things and absorb what they are, then put the reference aside and draw from memory. Otherwise the drawings become too dear and I lose that kind of spontaneous energy. It doesn't always work, but observing and recalling is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. 
I generally draw the characters and environment as separate elements in my sketchbook, then scan them and compose the image using layers in Photoshop. I paint digitally, but still like to do all of the drawing with ink and paper. If an area or element isn't working, I can redraw, scan, and adjust it. Once I have everything the way I want, I usually print it out, then take it to my light box and redraw the entire image all at once. That way the line is consistent, and I can make small adjustments as I go. 
Then I scan the drawing and set it up with three transparent layers. I keep the top layer to hold the line (even though I sometimes erase areas), and the bottom layer for insurance. I like to paint on a toned background, so I add that above the bottom layer.  My favorite is simply a scan of a brown paper grocery bag, but sometimes I'll paint something or use different surfaces. I do the painting mostly on the middle layer, using transparent washes and building color just like I would with acrylics or gouache. I say mostly because I frequently add lots of additional layers where I can experiment with color and texture, but easily edit or eliminate them.
Are there links where more of your art can be seen?
My website is www.pgirouard.com

Last September decided to paint one new Facebook profile picture every day for a year. I'm a little more than halfway done right now. Here's a video featuring some of them - http://vimeo.com/92870783, and you can follow my daily progress here - www.facebook.com/profilepictureproject

I'm a member of Picture Book Artists Association - http://www.picturebookartists.org

My agent is Bernadette Szost at Portfolio Solutions - http://portfoliosolutionsllc.com
What types of markets do you create art for?
Primarily the children's market, picture books, magazines, and educational work. But I've also done lots of greeting cards, posters, t-shirts, toys, games, puzzles, work for institutional clients, advertising, newspapers, and the occasional odd project, like streetlight banners or the outside of an entire city bus for a radio station in Hartford, CT. I'd love the chance to illustrate a label for a wine or beer bottle, and still haven't given up hope for an album cover.
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching?
I've taught classes at a variety of places over the years. Most recently a rotating series of classes for families at local libraries in the county where I live, and after school programs at two local elementary schools. I also do visits at schools and libraries around the country, but those are more lectures than classes.
Do you pursue other artistic interests like writing or music?
I've written several picture books but haven't done anything with them yet. I really need to close my eyes and take the leap. I enjoy making stained glass windows and mosaics, and our house is a never ending project.
Where can your art be seen?
 In addition to the sites listed above, you can find some of my work in my Etsy shop - https://www.etsy.com/shop/drawboy

 What do you love best about what you do?
I get to make a living doing something that I love every day. What could be better than that?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Andi Butler

 How did you become an artist? 
Everyone starts out as a creative risk taker. Babies and toddlers all start out with crayons and pencils, observing, imitating, grasping, drawing, coloring and creating, and eventually displaying our work in the 'Fridge Gallery.' Some kids stop when they hit grade school or maybe middle school, but I didn't. I was a huge fan of our local kids' programming (I grew up near Detroit, MI) and two of my favorites were Count Scary and Sir Graves Ghastly (they'd show a monster or b-movie, and have weird skits after commercials). They always had a 'ghoullery' of kids' art and being very driven, I would beg my mom to send them my stuff. Sometimes it would make it to their wall. That set me on a course to being a maker... I grew up in the seventies and eighties, so it wasn't called that then, but that's what I was. I learned to sew when I was nine, so I was doing what Molly Ringwald's character in Pretty in Pink was doing, waaaay before she was doing it...Coincidentally, her character's name was Andie, which I still think is funny...
Did you go to art school?
I went to college. I took art classes, but at the time, there were no degrees for what I wanted to do, which was a bit of everything, but not boring things. So I took creative classes at the local community colleges and just continued learning what I wanted. I'd just had just over a decade of learning what the public school wanted to teach me, now it was my turn to pick. I took photography, figure illustration, color, perspective, fashion merchandising, marketing, advertising, etc. I had a lot of fun with it! I still take classes online, because I'm a lifelong learner, but I would recommend to younger people: go to college and get the degree, not art school necessarily, but something so you can have an income to keep making...
Was there anyone that influenced you in becoming an artist?
Yes, my parents. Both of my parents are from England and grew up post WW2. My dad was pretty traditional when I was a kid, and regarding a career, he just didn't think a person could make money from drawings. This is ironic because he worked for Ford, and had to build from someone's design. The more he expressed that I needed a 'real' career (that was very non-traditional, both my parents wanted me to be independent financially) the more driven I became to show him I could create, and have a stable career. My mom was very much a maker, she made everything. At a young age she'd see something and then copy it because she couldn't afford to just buy it. I learned that from her, how to make my mark. 
Is there one or more artists that influenced your art?
I love, love, love Naiad and Walter Einsel. Their work pushed me very early. My mom hated to cook but for some reason had a lot of cookbooks. I don't know if it was because she wanted people to think she liked cooking, or, was hoping that she would find something she'd want to cook. We didn't have a lot of money and I loved to read and those were what were around the house. The Einsels had a lot of illustrations in cookbooks, recipe cards and 'homemaker' magazines (my mom also bought a lot of those, and still did not cook from them) and I loved looking at just all the detail and bits and pieces. They were just really fun! Charley Harper was also huge for me. I wish I'd saved all my dad's Ford Magazines, as Harper did a ton of illustrations for them! He created a lot of insects and animals, and I wanted to be an entomologist because of his drawings. I also loved Jim Flora. My parents didn't listen to jazz, but when we'd go to the record store, I always looked at those albums, sometimes there would be old ones still in print with his art. I also love the Provensens, Mary Blair, Good stuff! Contemporary artists I look to include Angie Lewis, Shaun Tan, Oliver Jeffers, Chris Reccardi, Isabelle Arsenault and Alison Jay.
What inspires you?
Living things, anything that's moving or growing. Humor, sadness, anger, if you think of a color when you think of a word, you can draw it... I also like to see what the youngsters are up to. They are so great with taking risks and ignoring someone who tells them they "shouldn't draw like that." My sons are the most inspiring. Our younger son has high functioning autism, our older son is nearly a genius. They take care of each other and solve conflicts and are funny and they're just brothers. I look at the adversity that they rise above, who couldn't be inspired by that? 
Would you like to share your process?
My process is very similar to other creatives: I'll get outside or read or bake something (in other words, do something not related to art, sometimes if I try to hard for an idea, I hit a wall), and the images come. I'll brain map a bit and do some word association with drawings. I'll expand on some of those, and flesh out the roughs in Adobe Illustrator. Some things get finished and some don't. The ones that don't, get filed away and I'll bring them out again when I need to doodle or work out more images.
Are there links where more of your work can be seen?
I post my work on my website (andibutler.com) and on my Instagram and Twitter feeds, and also Dribbble. I use 'andibutler' as the handle for all of them. I also have a Facebook public page. All links branch off from my website : )
What types of markets do you create art for?
I've created for toy companies, publishers, social expressions, apparel companies and even software icons! If you focus on making work that you like, and getting yourself out there, there are applications for your work you may not even be familiar with, but the companies will find you.
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching?
I volunteer, teaching art once a month at my sons' elementary. I make visual presentations in iMovie, and collaborate with two other design moms, who put together the lessons. 

Do you peruse other interests?
I cook and I bake. I love baking. The delicious reason would be because baking means pies and cookies and cake. But I actually really love the process of learning why something does what it does. Baking is all about chemical reactions. I like making the mistakes and realizing why it happened. I also garden and teach our sons how to grow food. There's nothing like something you grow yourself, and anyone can do it. This is where I get to explore my science side without the boring bits...
Where can your art be seen?
Is it on products, books, etc.? I've collaborated on a lot of books for Klutz, which is owned by Scholastic. I've created a lot of prints used on apparel for Sears, Kmart, Land's End, sneakers for a dance apparel company, baby gear for Fisher Price (I did a lot of the character development for their Rainforest Baby Gear line, the frog in their logo was from me), even temporary tattoos from Gumtoo!
What do you love best about what you do? 
I really enjoy the diversity of the work that I do. Even if I'm only working on surface design at one point, those patterns could have many different applications: giftwrap, stationery, apparel. Even in apparel, a print I create could be used for an all-over pattern on a dress, with a motif pulled out for an embroidery, appliqué or a screen for a tee. A coordinating print can be made for a pant or short. An entire collection of garments that would hang together can be based on one print. I also enjoy the problem solving. All creative work is really searching for a solution, although the 'problem' isn't negative, it's a question in need of an answer. Some of my favorite ways to work are with a restrictive palette, which often happens with printwork. If you're only allowed 4 spot colors on a print, you have to find new ways to use those colors so the motifs still make sense to the consumer.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Matthew Gauvin

How did you become an artist?
I grew up in a house full of art supplies and my dad was something of a pack rat. So for me art was finding a way to take all of the art supplies and create something interesting like Christmas cards or clocks made of Cd's with a hand painted image on them. The junk that my father collected was turned into a number of projects ranging from three wheeled bikes that you could lay flat on, to very intricate tree house designs and interesting bird houses. Creating art has always been in my veins but it took me a while to realize I wanted to do it for a living. The spark began with teachers who showed interest in my art. 
Did you go to art school?
I went to Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston Massachusetts. I could have technically become an illustrator without art college but I probably wouldn't have done so. Art college gave me the guidance and start that I needed to take art seriously. I could have learned most of the lessons from books, videos, google and YouTube but I'm not sure I would have taken the time required to pursue art with the intensity which Massart encouraged. Above all Massart taught me traditional mediums and how to take critiques and helped me to begin to find my voice. It wasn't until I started full time freelance illustration that I learned to run a  business, find clients and do digital art.
Was there anyone that influenced you in becoming an artist?
I didn't  realize there was such a thing as art college until my senior year of high school. I doubt I fully realized you could get paid to be a full time artist. For me the journey truly began with my high school art teacher Larry Golden who not only told me about art college, but actually brought me to a couple of them for portfolio reviews. He helped me build a portfolio and then went one more step to enter my art into a couple of competitions which I got first place in.
 Is there one or more artist whose work is an influence?
 Practically everyday I find a new artists whose art inspires me. I love all kinds of art. The names that keep popping up over and over again in my career are James Gurney, Will Terry, Scott Gustafson, Brad Teare, and Scott burdickSoo many blogs, books and websites got me to where I am today.
What inspires you?
 I'm generally able to find inspiration in every project I do. I'm particularly inspired by the authors who write a story that is fun, engaging, educational or particularly imaginative. It's much easier to create inspired illustrations when the story is written with an inspired hand. I also find inspiration from other artists work as they often give me the drive to get better. Usually just about the time I start to feel like I'm getting pretty good at this art thing, I find another ten artist's who's work is a million times better than mine. It's a life long process and ultimately all of my inspiration comes from God who gave me the talent, the drive and passion to create.
 Would you like to share your work process?
 My work process is constantly evolving so it's hard for me to pin down. It's also different depending on the style of art I'm creating, whether its a landscape, a product illustration, a logo or a children's book. My general process for my more recent children's book work is entirely digital. Everything from the thumbnails sketches, roughs, final drawings, color samples and into the final art is done in photoshop. I learned everything from acrylics, watercolors, gouache, oil painting, pastel, to sculpting at massart but I really didn't do much with digital until the past couple of years. I always thought I didn't like digital because the sort I had seen was flat and textureless. My journey to the digital world involved the revelation that textures and patterns could be introduced into digital art. So my work process involves collecting various textures via photography of the natural world and patterns that I find or make. These are kept in a folder that I utilize when I need a wood texture, watercolor wash, paint texture, rock texture etc. I then use photoshops "define pattern" and "fill" features to add textures and patterns to specific layers. You can get an overview of my process for creating a final watercolor illustration from a video tutorial I posted to my youtube channel a couple years back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI1M_pQr2tg or you can find process posts and tutorials on my blog for my traditional mediums.http://matthewgauvin.blogspot.com/ I haven't done tutorials for my digital art yet.
Are there links where more of your art can be seen?
 I'm currently the illustrator of the month on childrensillustrators.com. Here's a direct link to my portfolio http://www.childrensillustrators.com/illustrator-details/sneezingleopard/id=2864/
 My art is all over the web. The easiest way to find me is to google my full name and a bunch of sites will pop up that show a variety of my art.
What types of markets do you create art for?
Mostly the children's market with magazines, children's books, chapter books etc.  Ive also done logos, sign painting, landscapes, portraits, point of purchase displays, banners as a way of keeping the doors open to my business until I'm able to capture the attention of brick and mortar publishers. My dream is to be steadily employed by various children's publishers working with art directors who know what a thumbnail sketch is, or a color sample, and who have a team of people behind them who will bring the book to completion and get it into the hands of thousands of children.
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching?
I could see myself teaching art one day but haven't ventured that route yet. I've done one YouTube video showing my process for a watercolor illustration and hope to do more of that sort of thing some day.
Do you pursue other artistic interests like writing or music?
I have lots of ideas for books I would like to write but have never actually penned one to paper. My art extends into designing household items and building them mainly with woodworking .
 Where can your art be seen? 
 My original landscapes and prints can be seen and purchased from my etsy store  https://www.etsy.com/shop/matthewgauvin?ref=si_shop
My art can be purchased on various products like t-shirts, stickers, postcards phone cases and more at my zazzle store. I'm particularly happy with my "Vermoosin'" line of products on there.
My most recent book is available at www.thesilasseries.com  my favorite chapter book series that I've illustrated is available at http://samsanimals.info/   and most of my other books are available on Amazon or are directly linked to on my website www.matthewgauvin.com
What do you love best about what you do?
I enjoy the happiness that my illustrations bring to kids and being able to play some role in educating and helping to grow their imaginations. Some of my fondest memories from childhood involve reading books with my parents. It feels good to know there are kids sitting with their parents reading and looking at books that I illustrated and that they may one day have fond memories of that time in their lives.