Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bob McMahon

  How did you become an artist? 
I was one of those kids who was drawing constantly. First monsters, then cars and then cartoons. I remember in school they told me to stop drawing and do my math work but I kept drawing anyways. All of my friends were into superhero comics but I loved Mad Magazines and I  would lock myself in my room and copy the art of Mort Drucker,Jack Davis and other Mad artists.
 Did you go to art school?  
 I studied art at Cal State Northridge near Los Angeles where I got a my degree in art. I loved art history and the classes there really expanded my thinking about all the different kinds of art and artists there are. I think my real art education came after college when I got a job working at a local art store. I got to meet working artists and talk with them about the business of art how they use their materials and  their processes  of creating art. I made a lot of great friends and business connections there.
Is there anyone that influenced you to become an artist?  
My parents were my main influence. My dad used to bring home reams of paper from his work so I could draw, paint and make comics. I think it was also to keep me from drawing on the walls. To get that kind of support from your parents early on is very important to a kid. They were always proud of me and my art.
Are there other artists work that was an influence?  
The artists of the early Mad Magazines were a definite influence on me and shaped my art and humor. Later on I found artists like Peter de Sève, David Shannon and British children book artists Jez Alborough and Colin McNaughton.
What inspires you?  
I’m inspired by everything that going on around me. My wife and daughter inspire me along with the community of artists in the SCBWI. They really keep my creative juices flowing.
Would you like to share your work process?  
I start by collecting all the reference I need for a project and then just sitting down and playing with ideas and making very rough thumbnails. Gradually I start refining the lines and the ideas down to where I want them.  I go down a lot of dead ends and do a lot of erasing until I’m happy with the result. I use Corel Painter 12 to do all my artwork from sketches to finish and that really speeds up the process and makes changes easier. My sketches that I send to the art director or editor are usually pretty refined though. I believe that if I put more work into the sketches the less problems I’ll have with the finished art.
Are there links to where more of our art can be seen?  
    I also have a realistic painterly style that I love to do and I have a whole separate website for that:
What types of markets do you create art for?
I create art  for the children’s book and educational market. I have done art for advertising, movie posters. Recently a puzzle company called me and wanted to use art from of my promotional cards for a puzzle. I have been dabbling in the fine art market with my other realistic style too.
 Do you pursue other creative interests like music or writing?
I have all these ideas for children’s books so I have been trying to do some writing. I don’t play any instruments or am I musical, unfortunately. I really envy those artists who can also sing and play instruments but that’s just not in me.
   Where can your art be seen? 
My art can be seen on the Children’s books The Very Crowded Sukkot, Making Cents, Apple Days (2014), Ravensberger Puzzles, educational publications, I Am A Pirate Captain book and pirate kit and many other products.
 What do you love best about what you do? 
I love the process of doing art.  I love figuring out the characters and setting the scene . I love the puzzle of picking colors and making the picture come alive. It can be frustrating at times but  feeling of losing yourself in your art is a real high.

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