Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jeff Stahler

One of the best gifts any of us can have is the ability to make some one laugh.  Jeff's cartoons do just that with his combination of wit and humor.

How is it that you came to be a cartoonist?
Since a young age, I been a doodler. I alway have enjoyed reading the comics page. My favorites being Dick Tracy, Peanuts, Gasoline Alley, Dennis the Menace and numerous more.
I think that being at the right place, at the right time help get me into cartooning. I was a graphic designer for Columbus Monthly and we acquired a weekly suburban paper which I helped redesign.
We created an opinion page and I asked if I could do a weekly cartoon for the page. The editor for the morning daily paper in Columbus, Ohio saw my work weekly and asked if I'd like to come aboard and cartoon on a daily basis for the paper. That's how it began. 
Did you go to art school?
Yes. I attended and graduated with a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design.
Who were your influences?
Their are many. As a cartoonist, I admire just about every other cartoonist. They are all a very unique, individual bunch. Many I admire for their line quality, others I admire for their direct and simplistic humor.
Mike Peters & Jim Borgman were both Ohio cartoonists that I worked with or around for the past 30 years and I admire and respect both for their dedication to this craft and for always being their for me.
What inspires you now?
Creativity never seems to stop. I love getting up each morning and traveling up the stairs to my third floor studio, where I plant myself. I read, doodle, sketch and ink ideas for hours.
Daily deadlines actually inspire me. Knowing that I need to produce another cartoon for either my daily syndicated comics panel, 'Moderately Confused' or my 3x a week editorial cartoon feature is a joy.
Would you share you style or technique?
I sketch in a pad with a pen my ideas and then pencil the sketch ideas with a pencil on a light table to a 2-ply hot-press bristol board. My finishes are inked with a Winsor Newton Series 7 No. 2 brush and I letter and scratch with a permanent .03 ink pen.
What is your market?
Currently, both of my editorials and daily comics panel are syndicated and distributed by Universal Press Syndicate out of Kansas City. 
I also just got a fun side project of doing the program covers for this season's Cincinnati Bengals home games.
Are their links to your images you would share?
Do you do any teaching?
Currently I'm not teaching but I am considering the possibility of going back to The Columbus College of Art and Design to teach cartooning or humorous illustration
Do you currently have any products on the market?
Other than my syndicated cartoons, I've produced a couple of collection of my cartoons in book form and I am currently working on a new collection of 'Moderately Confused' cartoons for an ebook this fall.
What do you love best about what you do?
I love creating & being creative on a daily basis. I hate when a day goes by and I haven't produced anything. I love being busy and looking behind new doors.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Victoria Hutto

I was fortunate to have worked with Vicky at a greeting card company in San Francisco when we were both starting out. She is as delightful as her whimsical artwork.
How is it that you came to be an illustrator?
Ever since I could remember, I’ve liked to draw.  Mostly attempting to copy Snoopy and Hello Kitty in elementary school.  As an adult, it was a dream come true when I actually went to work for Sanrio, the creator of Hello Kitty.  
 Did you go to art school?
I studied at the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.  It is currently known as California College of the Arts.  I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration.
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in becoming an illustrator? 
I don't recall one person that had influenced me to become an artist.  I do remember always having a desire to" make things".  My mom liked to sew, and I remember being so drawn to all the different fabrics she had stashed away in the closet. I wanting to create something out of it.  I also remember,  my aunt had a hobby of working with ceramics, and pottery.  I was always excited to visit her.  She would let me paint her ceramic pieces .  I remember a time when she had a bunch of tiny ducklings, and letting me pick one to paint.  I was so proud of that little duck when I was finished.
What Inspires you now?
My husband is also an artist and we like taking trips and exploring.   You never know what will spark an idea.  Our styles are very different, and we see things differently;  so it's great to brainstorm with each other.  
 Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work for instance what type of medium do you like to work in?
My work is very versatile.   I think it is because I like to try to push myself in directions that are not necessarily comfortable for me.  My work used to be very tight.  I have always admired artists who have a loose flare to their work.  This has been a direction I have been moving  towards.   I used to work with acrylics.  But I work mostly digitally now.  I enjoy Photoshop.  It amazes me what you can do with it.  Although I love using the program, I feel it will never replace the free flow of a brush.  As I grow as an artist, I would like to experiment with other mediums, and combine the two.
 What types of markets do you do illustration for?
My work appears on a wide range of products, from greeting cards, to flags, to home decor.  I found that I enjoy developing products.  I just finished designing a collection of garden items made of metal.   Also,  I recently had the opportunity to illustrate my first children's book.  12 Days of Christmas in Oklahoma comes out in October this year.
 Are there links to your images you would like to share?
You can see some my work on my website:  
I am also represented by Suzanne Cruise:
 Do you do other things regarding art like teaching, or classroom visits?
Working on three dimensional objects keeps creating interesting, when most of my time is spent in front of a computer screen.  My husband and I are able to combine our creative spirits in working with gourds.  Our works have appeared in galleries and have been admired in museums.  We have given workshops working with and teaching the history of gourds-including Native American tribes traditional uses of gourds.  Gourds are unique forms of art.  Many people only think of them as birdhouses, but they could be so much more. 
Do you currently have product with your images on the market?  Books, gifts, or home products?
Several of my designs have appeared on products in stores like Walmart, Target, Lowe's and Joanne’s Home Goods, to name a few.  But you can see some of my designs on the following links:
Wall Art:
Christmas Decor:
Flags/Mailbox Wraps:
What is the thing you love the best about what you do?
The thing I love most about what I do is being able to see something go from my blank "canvas" to a product in a store.  It is wonderful feeling that I can actually make a living doing what I love to do.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lori McElrath-Eslick

I have known Lori's work for a long time and am happy to have her be the first interview here. How is it that you became an illustrator?
I became an artist as a freshman in high school. I started to select art classes, and as I did it became more and more of what I enjoyed doing. I started to explore colleges with an art career in mind. I had never met a working artist in my small town except for my art teacher so I thought that would be a teacher as well.
Fortunately for me, a commercial art college was within driving distance from my parent's home. My art teacher suggested that it would be a good fit for me. Luckily, I was able to receive grant money as my parents were not receptive to paying tuition for art school. I did come very close to becoming an art teacher and ironically because of my illustration work with picture books I do a lot of school visits and in doing so; teach art!

What was the name of the art college you attended?
I went to Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids Michigan. After 3 years I received an associate degree. I interviewed with Hallmark Cards, Inc. as they typically interviewed graduates for jobs. I was offered a position along with one other student that year. I started my illustration career at Hallmark Cards and was an in house artist for 7 years. I left to be home with my husband and 3 year old daughter, and have been freelancing ever since. When my husband (who is a teacher!) and I returned to Michigan I returned to Kendall to finish the requirements for my bachelor's degree. I finished just as I found out I was pregnant with my second child. Great timing as it would have been harder to go back otherwise.

Was there someone that influenced you to become an illustrator?
In particular, my high school art teacher who gave me not only a really good early art education but
also gave me  the courage to feel that I was good enough to go for it.

What inspires you now?
Now I am inspired by other artists who struggle such as I do: working alone, finding time for their muse and children who remind me to always take time to play. I am also inspired by museums. I love to view art in person. Seeing art virtually or in print is one thing but nothing beats seeing original art.

Is there anything you would like to share about your style and technique?
I seem to change my techniques regularly. I am inspired to try new techniques. I love to paint in oils and watercolors. I think these mediums are good for me to learn and grow with. I paint on a regular basis to do hands on learning. I know a lot of artists who are always learning new techniques. I think that's wise. I've learned some using the computer too and enjoy that too, but am most satisfied with painting in oils and watercolors. They are fun! Profound, I know. I had a friend who was working in house at Hallmark Greetings who came to my studio. He saw my palette, picked up a brush and said "just like butter". Never forgot his profound observation about the texture and feel and the velvety fun of swirling around paint like butter. Who doesn't want to make art with butter? Also a heck of a lot of fun to make a good painting with that butter!

What types of markets do you do illustration for?
LOTS! I try to diversify. Different markets dry up so I have lots of irons in the fire. I illustrate for picture books, magazines, greeting cards and I do original paintings and prints. 
You can see my work on my website .http://eslickart.com/.

Do you do other things regarding art like teaching or classroom visits?
I am just starting some teaching at school visits and children's museums. I love to share with kids! I encourage all artists to make art a hands on experience for kids.

Are there other creative interests you participate in?
I work on writing when given the time. I've always loved to sew and did lots of crafts growing up.

Do you currently have your illustration work on products or books?
I did a logo and oven mitts for the company Blueberry Haven. I also did silk screen design on products for Maruska also known as Michigan Rag Company. My website will be offering banners soon.  I also have several picture books that I have illustrated ; Nishmawbe, A Story of Indians in Michigan by Lynne Deur, The Lark Who Had No Song by Carolyn Nystrom,Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? and I am Christmas by Nancy White Carlstrom,  Read For Me Mamma by Vashanti Rahaman, Da Wei's Treasure by Raymond and Margaret Chang, Mommy Poems by John Gale Thomas, Jean Nickolet, The Sign of the Thunderbird by Peter Connie Roup, If Jesus Came to my House by Joan Gale Thomas, Barefoot, Poems for Naked Feet, by Stefi Weisburd and The Good Fire Helmet by Tim Hoffey. 

What is the thing you love best about what you do?
Painting and the variety in my job. I love the different aspects of it. I am not stuck doing the same thing each day. And....when I can...I squeeze out a tube of paint and make a brand new creation, and that is exciting!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Welcome to the Illustrator's Market

This blog is designed to celebrate and promote those illustrators creating wonderful images in diverse markets. I am fortunate to know many talented artists that do work for books, licensing and editorial work as well as creating incredible fine art images. Many have work that crosses over into several markets.
I hope that this will be a forum to showcase the incredible talent that is out there, and to get to know these artists and their work a little better.