How did you become an illustrator?
I have always sketched- Drawing was an escape for me when I was young, I found that I needed to create in order to feel normal, plus it was a fun get-away from the homework gloominess. Not that I didn't find school to be important or interesting, but I much preferred creating my own histories, sciences and characters rather than learning about them in class. Daydreamer.
Did you go to Art School?
I attended the Art Institute of Dallas and received a degree in computer animation and multimedia. Computer animation was just beginning to be used as an visual FX tool, and A.I.of Dallas was offering a course in the art of animation. It seemed like a perfect tool for film and art, not to mention loads of fun!
Is there anyone that has inspired you to become an illustrator?
It's a very hard question to answer as there are so many Artists who have inspired me. I've always admired N.C. Wyeth's impressionistic style, and Norman Rockwell's characters practically jump off the page they are so rich. Leyendecker with his sharp edges and graphic design was also an influence. Peder Monsted's landscapes- Ralph McQuarrie's otherworldly design. Mucha, Sargent, The nine old men...the list goes on and on-each and every one of them an inspiration. I collect art books. (Can you tell?)
What inspires you now?
Inspiration comes at me from just about anything. My daughter inspires me, she loves to draw and I find myself picking up the pencil more and more when she wants to sit and doodle. Outdoors is another big inspiration, I love to sit and draw outdoors, especially trees; I have a fascination with tree bark, roots and leaves and the gnarly way it gets all intertwined.
Can you tell us a little about the technique you use to create your work?
I normally sketch on paper keeping it very rough and small. I'll draw and chunk (throw out) as many sketches as it takes before I'm happy with a piece. Sometimes doing a simple wash over the top of the pencil with a light water-color, then it's onto the scanner. I work my tones up in photoshop, building up the light and dropping in shadows before moving onto my colors. I have photographed and scanned real paint strokes on canvas (watercolor, oil, acrylic, ink) and use them as custom brushes in Photoshop-I find that this can often times give you a "painted on canvas" look, and I prefer it to the off the shelf brushes that come with the program. After I have my tone and colors- it's all in the details-this is where your art books and National Geographic come in handy. Reference everything. Good lighting can make or break a painting.
What kinds of markets do you illustrate for?
Currently I am a concept artist working in the gaming industry in Austin, Texas. I'm also illustrating children's books and some of my own stories and ideas.
Do you have a a link to your work, so that we can see more?
I do have a blog and am working on re-imagining my website (to be opened soon) http://www.cgyoung8871.blogspot.com/
Do you do classroom visits?
I'd love to teach art someday. I think that as I get older it's something that sounds interesting and rewarding. Since my first illustrative work has just been released, "Return to the Willows" I hope to be able to travel to some schools, I look forward to giving (and getting) some art tutoring. I love talking stories, books and art with children!
Do you do anything else pertaining to art?
Directing. Next to art, it's always been a passion. I've done visual FX work in the past and have a love for digital model making, compositing and matte paintings - would love to do more- though I think, for the time being, I’m happy to just create something for children.
Do you currently have your images on the market?
Yes, you can currently find my work in the book "Return to the Willows" by Jacqueline Kelly (being a sequel to the Kenneth Grahame’s classic "The Wind in the Willows" If you're in need of adventure or you just feel like "messing about in boats" it's the perfect read aloud book. :)
Do you have anything new that you are working on?
My new book, what I’m working on now, is called “Toast.” Toast is my daughter’s stuffed pig and the story of his adventures in a land where all make believe friends and children’s wishes, dreams (and nightmares) go to live. It’s a coming of age story that asks the question “What do our make believe friends do, after we have grown up?” It’s also a love letter to all the things I found great about the stories and characters I loved as a child- and the importance of imagination, believing in yourself, and passing down the things we cherish most.
What do you love best about what you do?
I think the thing I love best about what I do is the imaginative feedback I get from family and friends. I love creating worlds and stories, but only if I can share them. There is nothing better when your child or children are inspired by something you have created- when they give it back to you and you then become inspired; it’s a dynamic ring, art. I often wonder if it’s that feeling that drives creation from its roots-years of inspiration passed down from artist to artist. Maybe that’s where my fascination with trees comes from.