Monday, September 2, 2013

Susan Eaddy

How did you become an artist?
I have always loved to draw, from the time my mother framed the rooster I drew in kindegarten. In school I was always the kid in the class who could draw, so I took art lessons and every art class in school I could fit into my schedule.  My parents  bought me art books and kindled any talent I had while encouraging me to pursue what I loved, whether it was a money maker or not.

Did you got to Art School?
I didn't. I was raising a daughter by the time I started school and I got great scholarships and grants to attend the University of Tennessee. They had a really strong Art Dept, and some wonderful professors, and I worked on the school Arts magazine and did some great illustration internships.

Was there anyone who influenced you to become an artist?
I had an Uncle who taught college Art. He was a ceramicist, and his home was filled with the most fantastical art. When I was 9 he made a wonderful dragon for me out of clay, and I still have that dragon in my studio today. Even though he didn't live close by, he was a role model for me, as every aspect of his life was filled with creativity.

Is there one or more artists whose work is an influence?
That's hard. There are so many I admire! I have been fortunate to accompany my Art Professor husband on his school trips to Italy, and I love the altar reliefs of Nicola Pisano, the Brunelleschi Baptistry doors, the Della Robbia reliefs and statues, I am in love with Romanesque and Byzantine art, and am inspired by the simple naive figures, the romanesque carvings on columns and baptismal fonts, and the early mosaics of Ravenna and other Byzantine churches throughout Italy.

What inspires you?
Everything. That's what I love most about being an artist, I think. You get to USE everything you see, and by creating something, you get to fully explore any objects, person or landscape that fascinates you. I also like NOT knowing what I am doing. I am always trying to figure out HOW to create my reliefs, and love the whole discovery process.  
I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old in my life, and they inspire me. The kids I see at my school visits inspire me. my garden... nature...

Would you like to share your art process?
First, when I am given an assignment, I start to research. Research is one of my favorite things to do! I sketch as I gather material, and slowly start to build my composition to the dimension assigned, often using Photoshop to alter sizes and rescale my scanned in drawing. I end up with a very detailed drawing. It is my road map for the final

When I am happy with the sketch I send a jpg to my client, and make any changes they need, then I print 2 to 3 copies  on 11"x17" paper . I put one on my wall above me, one on my drawing table, cover it with wax paper, and just start layering on the clay. Backgrounds first, then, each object at a time.

When I finish the  piece, I shoot it in my studio with a professional digital camera, load into my computer, adjust raw files in Bridge and Photoshop.( actually just starting to learn Lightroom) and send my client a hi res digital file via FTP.

Are there any links you would like to share?
Yes,Thanks! Here are links to my website, my travel blog, my Etsy shop and my youTube channel where I show sped up versions of works in progress.

What types of markets do you create art for?
My work is primarily for Children's Trade Publishing, both book and magazines are my primary market. I have done ad campaigns, CD and book covers and editorial in the grownup world but children's work is my passion. I also spent 8 years as an Art Director in Educational publishing, and have about 80 books in that field. In addition, I do some licensing with puzzles,wallpaper,wall stickers, and greeting cards.

Do you do other things with your Art like teaching?
I don't teach, but I LOVE to do school visits! I love meeting the kids and seeing their creations. I love to travel and try to use the chance to do school visits anywhere from Alabama to Hong Kong, from Indiana to Taiwan! I keep  a travel blog with sketches and observations from my trips and school visits.

Do you pursue other interests such as writing or music?
I don't do music, but I do write. I am thrilled that I recently signed a contract with Charlesbridge for my first picture book as an author! My clay art is not a good fit for Poppy's Best Paper so the illustrations will be done by the wonderful french illustrator, Rosalinde Bonnet.
I also have a lot of fun with iMovie making totally amateur videos of my art process.

Where can your art be found?I have several picture books, Papa Fish's Lullaby, by Patricia Hubbell, and a board book series with the Smithsonian- First Looks at Trucks, Aircraft, and Rescue Vehicles. I also do a lot of work for the Carus publications, Babybug, Ladybug and Spider. I have puzzles with various manufacturers, and wall borders with Chesapeake Wall covering. In addition large 18" x 24" room prints of my work are available on Etsy

What do you like best about what you do?
wow. What's not to like? Maybe the best is just always being on the lookout to turn everyday experiences into art. I like it that the wheels are always turning, and I figure if I can make an illustration fun for myself, then it will be fun for somebody else too. I love working at home in my attic studio, getting my hands dirty as I knead and mix colors, the excitement of seeing a piece take shape. Of course there is always the frustration when it DOESN'T work... but I even appreciate the struggle, even though the struggle is no fun... I always hope to learn by it. 
But maybe the the best part is seeing my work in the hands of kids, and feeling like I am contributing to their lives in some small way.

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