How is it that you came to be an illustrator/artist?
Drawing is always the one thing I was good at and enjoyed doing. It’s always served as a personal companion, therapist and means of emotional release. It only made sense for me to take that on as my career of choice.
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I attended the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fl. I wish I could go back and do it all over again! There was so much more I could have taken advantage of. That’s ok, I’m making up for it now.
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator? Was there any other artist or person that influenced or continues to influence you now?
My Mother and Father have always been a great influence since they were supportive of me from the beginning. Early on I would say that it was bullies and prejudice strangely enough. Children not wanting to be friends with me for whatever reason forced me to go into myself a bit and entertain myself. I did that by drawing. In those moments I found my passion. Later on I would say it was a group of peers that I shared in high school as well as my high school teacher that helped show me that a career was a possibility.
What inspires you now?
My family, my childhood experiences, peers, nature, other exceptional artists and the world around me. I find that I get visual ideas from everywhere and I have to keep notepads or loose paper all over the place so that I can write down those ideas when I have them.
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?
My personal work, when I have the time to do it, is largely watercolors and pastels. Sadly, the mediums I like to work in are not as conducive when working for clients. (For me) Before I started working full time freelance I made sure I had a portfolio that was all digitally created. I do this largely to maximize the ability to correct the work. I work in Photoshop and Illustrator to create my professional work.
What types of markets do you do art for?At one time I worked full time for a sports apparel company and did a large amount of licensed work. Now I primarily work in the children’s market and have had the opportunity to do work for the licensed, religious, educational, trade children’s books, magazines and toy design markets.
Are there links to your images you would like to share?
Of course, I am always working on expanding my visibility online which means multiple places to view my work. But here are the most up to date.
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching or classroom visits?
I’m still working up the guff to do school visits and whatnot but that is definitely in my future plans. For now my biggest secondary interest is the website Once Upon A Sketch. www.onceuponasketch.com On the blog my business partner, Norman Grock and I are dedicated to provide information about other aspects of the children’s market. We think too many children’s illustrators think that the only place their work fits or can be profitable is children’s books and magazines. We want to dispute that and show them other aspects of the varied markets that bleed into the children’s market that they may have not considered.
I am reading and learning and teaching myself to write. I know how to tell visual stories with my art and now I’d really like to be able to give voice to the stories that pop into my head. In the process of learning I have a new found respect for talented writers and scribes. This is not an easy road by any means!
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? Books, gift or home products?
Yes I do, the best place to see those items is to visit my blog and look in the left hand column. I try to post all my books there.
What is the thing you love best about what you do?I grew up watching my Mom go to work every day to a job she didn’t enjoy but endured so that we could survive as a family. I didn’t want to endure the same sentence of misery. So I am glad that every day I get to wake up and work on something I can be proud of and have joy while creating it. I think that joy pushes me forward and helps me want to help others find it as well! Thank you so much Patti for taking the time to interview me! If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me through any of the websites mentioned above.