How is it that you came to be an illustrator?
I can pinpoint the day I wanted to become an artist to a day in kindergarten. We were drawing trees and the other kid's looked like brown and green q tips. Mine, as I recall, had branches and a bird's nest. I looked around at the others.
Mine was "different". I guess I saw that as a good sign. From then on I drew/doodled on every available surface.
My parents had met in art school in the 50's. My dad was a graphic designer and my mother studied costume design. Art was always in our house growing up. It was the one thing in school that I was good at and that I thoroughly enjoyed.
At some point, later, I realized that I'd have to make a living at this so I steered into illustration.
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator?
I guess I'd have to say that my parents were a big influence as they were always there to guide me. I have a love of good design and costume which, I think, I inherited from my parents. I try to incorporate those elements into my work as the opportunity arises.
A list of influential artists would be:
Vermeer, Modigliani, Grant Wood, Gustav Klimt, Mary Blair, Gennady Spirin, Van Eyck, Toulouse Lautrec, Tony Duquette, Dorothy Jeakins (hollywood costume designer), Gaugin, Mark Ryden, William Morris, John Singer Sargent, medieval painting and sculpture, the architects Greene and Greene.
What inspires you now?
Good graphic design and illustration,costume, most anything "vintage". I'm very inspired by historic images and decorative art and certain juxtapositions of color, especially in nature.
Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work?
I work in a fairly traditional manner. For many years I painted almost exclusively in watercolor. It was expedient for the children's book/magazine market. I never felt much affinity for it though. 5 years or so ago, I started to delve into oil paint... a medium that I had not received much instruction in art school. This has proven to be much more gratifying. The range of color is far superior to watercolor and I am glad for the extra drying time that it allows.
I do not paint on canvas because I do not like the texture or the "bounce" of a stretched canvas. I paint on wood board that has been covered with many coats of real gesso. real gesso (as opposed to acrylic gesso) is a much finer surface on which to paint. it requires much more prep time but it is worth the effort. From there I paint primarily with thin glazes of oil.
What types of markets do you illustrate for?
I like many artist/illustrators today, wear many "art hats". I have a day job as a designer in the giftware industry. I freelance for children's magazines, primarily highlights for children. I also have an art licensing agent. The remaining time is spent painting "fine art" type work that I sell on etsy.com.
Are there links to your images you would like to share?
Are there other creative interests you pursue?
I am more of an "appreciator" than a "practitioner" in other art interests. I have no musical talent but I enjoy listening to classical music, opera and 80's music.
Do you currently have products with your images on the market?
I signed with an art licensing agency about 18 months ago. I have had several images sold to a variety of puzzle companies and a few designs to needlework companies. I've also designed for the garden art market. What is great about art licensing is that the same image can be sold over and over for a variety of different products.
I wrote and published a children's book (there was magic inside) for Simon and Schuster. It was a number of years ago and it is now out of print. I had hoped to work more in that area of publishing but the opportunity has not presented itself.
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
it is a privilege to be making art as a career and I'm very grateful for that. it is not an easy way to make a living. in a perfect world i would love to paint for myself (as opposed to a specific client) and sell the work in a gallery setting. i am hoping one day that will happen. in the meantime i love taking a blank slate and translating a thought or an image from my head on to it. making pictures.... for me it doesn't get much better than that!