How did you become an illustrator?
Iʼve been drawing and making art since I was a young boy, growing up in Troy, Ohio. I didnʼt consider art as a career until high school. I struggled to stay focused in most of my high school classes but art was a class where I excelled. I enjoyed creating different types of art but cartooning and storytelling was a really big interest, even at that age. I was lucky enough to find a subject that I was passionate about and that led me in the direction of becoming a professional illustrator.
Did you go to art school?
I graduated from the Columbus College of Art & Design with a BFA degree. It was a great experience, surrounded by like-minded students (for the most part). In high school, I was a big fish in a little pond. At CCAD, I became a little fish in a big pond... a lot of seriously talented peers. It was a good atmosphere for growing as an artist and it created some healthy competition. Dave Groff (an earlier interview) and John Jude Palencar were two roommates who kept me sharp and made the college years some of my best memories. Both are hugely talented artists. Another talented classmate was Patti Gay... a familiar name on this blog.
Were there 1or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator? Is there any other artist or person that continues to influence your work?
Classmates from CCAD were a big influence. Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle and Maxfield Parrish have been influences since my college days. As a junior and senior in college, some of the contemporary professional illustrators were big influences, including Mark English, Bernie Fuchs, Bob Peak, Robert Heindel and others. I create a lot of animal characters and have always been a big fan of Wallace Trippʼs animal illustrations.
What inspires you?
The internet has been a great tool for discovering artists from around the world and talent that is inspirational and often overlooked. Other things that inspire me include:
- Our property, where white tailed deer, wild turkey, red fox, possum, skunk, raccoon, ground-hog, woodpecker and much more wildlife surrounds my studio.
- Music- big band, jazz, blues, gospel, acoustic, chill, etc. I almost always work with background music.
- Books, Illustrators Annuals, Spectrum annuals, wildlife art and artists, the childrenʼs book section at the library, books, realist painters of the present and past, books, art blogs, books, more books, etc.
Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work for instance what types of medium do you like to work in?
Most of my illustration is created with acrylic or oil paint, on canvas, Bristol board or watercolor board. When painting a realistic image, I sometimes start with a monochromatic under-painting in brown or blue. This establishes the values (lights and darks) and makes it a bit easier to lay in the color by adding additional layers of paint. I donʼt do anything fancy but each painting presents different challenges.
Some of my work is painted with acrylic paint on a textured (gessoed) surface. This art is usually less realistic and more stylized. Iʼve included step-by-step demos on my website and blog that show both techniques.
What types of markets do you do illustration for?
-Trade publishing- childrenʼs books. -Educational publishing- textbook and supporting materials. -Childrenʼs magazines. -Social Expression/paper products- greeting cards, gift bags, etc.
Are there links to your images you would like to share?
My website: www.timbowers.com My agent: http://www.eastwestliteraryagency.com/illustrators-
bio.cfm?IllustratorID=4 My blog: http://www.timbowersart.blogspot.com/
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching or classroom visits?
I taught a few classes at CCAD for several years, including classes in illustration, portfolio and technique. For the past twenty-four years, Iʼve visited (mostly elementary) schools and libraries to share my childrenʼs book illustration and the book making process. Itʼs also an opportunity to promote literacy and inspire students to be creative with their own ideas.
Are there other creative interests you pursue like writing or music?
I am working with my agents (Deborah Warren and Rubin Pfeffer at East West Literary Agency) to bring some of my own stories to the childrenʼs book market. I also create music in my spare time and would like to produce some music that could be packaged with my writing and childrenʼs book ideas.
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? Books, gift or home products?
Yes, childrenʼs books, greeting cards and gift bags (at Christmas time). Iʼve had other products that featured my artwork but the life of a licensed product can sometimes be fairly short.
What is the thing you love best about what you do?.
I feel like this is what I was meant to do. Iʼve often thought about what else I could or would do if I had the chance and the list is very short. It hasnʼt always been easy but I really canʼt complain. Where else could I sit and draw cute animals while listening to Western Swing music...and get paid.