Friday, November 7, 2014

Nidhi Chanani

You started on a different path as a literature major. How did you come to be an
Books and art fueled me equally growing up. I couldn't convince my parents to support a major in art so I picked my other love - literature. At UC Santa Cruz, art was impacted so a minor wasn't possible. While I was in Santa Cruz I took art league classes and did lots of crafts. I knew it was basic, though. I began to follow young artists and the desire to grasp concepts beyond the basics grew stronger. I was working full time in the non-profit sector at the point that I decided to take the plunge and attend art school. 

I was 27 and surrounded by artists who were 10 years younger than me and 20 times more talented, I debated dropping out every day. What kept me on the path? I wish I could say it was a teacher or mentor, but it was my stubbornness. I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to draw and make people happy. I did end up dropping out, but not because of my feelings of insecurity. I wanted to break free of the prescribed notion of education. I was simply ready to explore my voice. 

That's what I did. It sounds so simple, but it was nerve-wracking and grueling. I worked part time and drew a new illustration every day. Those daily drawings became the basis of my career. 
Did you go to art school? What were the benefits that you got from your time there?
Art school gave me the insight into light, shadow and color. It did not give me the skill set, though. I developed that by practice. Art school can only give you so much and the rest comes from drawing all the time. I gained an understanding of form, shape, character that was essential in thinking about art as a form of communication. I was also exposed to career options as well as modern artists who were influencing current movements. 
Are there any artists that inspire you?
Yes! One of my favorite questions. In terms of graphic novelists - Marjane Satrapi, Raina Telgemeier, Craig Thompson and Cyril Pedrosa. Illustrators like Joey Chou, Jerimiah Kertner, Alina Chau, Roberto Kondo and Kei Acedera inspire me with everything they create. And sculpture artists like Lyla Warren, Kina Crow and Leslie Levings make me want to sculpt! 
Was there an individual that inspired you to become an artist?
Kurt Halsey. His work was a major influence on me when I was living in Santa Cruz, dreaming of becoming a full-time artist. I remember reading all his interviews and spending hours looking at his work. I thought if he could share cute, sentimental art and "make" it then maybe I could too. 
Can you tell us about the different techniques you do your work in and how they 
I primarily draw digitally. I use flash and photoshop. I didn't pick that combo but its what works for me. I loathe illustrator although I have taught myself how to use it for certain commercial jobs. 

I know many artists who use the lasso tool in photoshop for their base drawing. I use flash in the same way but I find its more fluid. I developed my photoshop painting, texture and lighting through trial and error as well. Prior to art school, I taught myself photoshop for graphic design. I've never had a formal course on either! I'm sure there are dozens of things I could learn for each to improve, but as my friend says, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! 

Before all of that digital stuff, though, I studied drawing. I still do! I draw traditionally as much as I can. Neither a wacom, a copy of photoshop or even the best illustration tutorial can teach you how to draw. You have to study form, shape, flow, weight character.... You have to draw dozens - or rather hundreds - of bad drawings before getting to the good ones. 
What inspires you?
My husband. Music. My kitties. My moms. Nature! The ocean. Photography. Light. The world we live in is quite beautiful. 
What is the story behind the themes you illustrate?
I usually say I have three themes - love, solo girl and animals. I had a very difficult childhood. I never believed in much because of it. When I met my husband things changed pretty dramatically. It was like all the layers of anger and hurt fell away and I found this happy person inside. When I draw love that's the story. Love is pretty magical.

Solo girl is just that, influenced by my relationship with nature or myself. Introspective and hinting at hope, too.

Animals! I love them! I'm a lifelong vegetarian. Growing up my favorite animal was an elephant. I had the chance to visit a friend of mine living in Kenya. I scrimped and saved and went alone. On safari, I fed a giraffe with my own hands and saw basically every animal in the African savannah. I visited an elephant orphanage. I drew animals before, but after that experience I drew many, many more. I want to meet every animal! I am vehemently against zoos and aquariums, though, so my opportunities are limited and that's okay. If I get more chances I welcome them, and if not, my experience in Kenya will fuel me for many years to come. 
Your site is titled Everyday Love. How did you come up with this name and what is it’s significance?
It came from my daily drawings. I started drawing every day about 5 years ago. It's become weekly as I work on the graphic novel, but at the time I completed a full illustration 5 days a week. I drew from my love of animals, my husband and nature. Over the years I've created around 700 complete illustrations. 

The scenes are every day scenes cooking, walking, eating ice cream in bed. I believe that in each day there are many moments of love - everyday love. I also love drawing everyday, so it works that way too.
You have a new graphic novel coming out.  How did that come about and where 
could someone purchase it?
It will be available in 2016, I believe! Depending on when I get all the artwork done! I wrote and pitched the story back in 2013. I rewrote it many times that year and sold it to First Second (Macmillan) at the end of 2013. I have been working on the thumbnails this year and next year I hope to complete the final art. It will be my first long form story so I'm nervous, excited and... mostly nervous! 
What types of market do you create art for? (ie prints, cards…)
Prints, cards, gifts. I've been wood burning for a few years now and I'm working with a wonderful artist in LA that helps me translate my wood burning ideas into laser-etched pendants. I've also done freelance concept art, virtual stickers, patterns and editorial.
Are there links where more of your work can be seen and where your images can be purchased?
Do you have interest in other creative areas? (writing,music…)
I love to write. I also love cooking and baking. 

What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I love making people happy. When people write or come up to me at conventions and say that my work makes them smile - nothing beats that. It makes me feel like what I do matters and that's the best feeling.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rosenthal Represents-Elise Rosenthal

How long have you been representing artists?  

I know I am going to sound ancient, but it’s been 35 years!  Amazing how time flies when you are doing something you love!   After teaching art in the New York public school system for 10 years I was looking for a new career path.  I loved the children and teaching but wanted something new and different for the next phase of my life.
I interviewed with the renowned NY art group, “Push Pin Studios” headed by Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser. Two icons in the advertising and editorial world even back then, realized the importance of a well qualified agent.  Seymour and Milton were not only exceptionally talented but enjoyed sharing their knowledge with me. I learned the right way to represent artists and had a ball running around Manhattan showing their award winning work.  I met Neil, the month before I started that job.  I was visiting all my Stanford University buddies up north first. I then went south to Los Angeles to visit friends there and that is where I met Neil.  Meeting Neil was my high point that summer.  We really got to know each other via many long phone conversations.  My trip to LA lasted only a week as I headed back to New York to begin my new career.  I loved my new job, but Neil’s power of persuasion was too much to resist.  I started my illustration representation business shortly after he moved me out here.  That was the birth of Rosenthal Represents.  We are still in contact with our first group of illustrators from way back in 1979!

Do you primarily represent artists for licensing?  

I represented illustrators for editorial, advertising, publishing and entertainment (Movie posters) in the beginning.  Neil joined the business soon after to help with servicing the many customers, Warner Bros. Disney and the ad agencies because it became too busy for only one rep.  We met the new Creative director for Warner Bros, thanks to Neil’s great talents for researching “up and coming” businesses. That launched us in 1989 into the licensing business but only for Warner Bros.  I was at Warner Bros. almost every day for a year and a half consulting with Andrew Baron, the amazingly talented art director Warner Bros hired to begin their licensing business. He kept our group of 13 artists busy for over 18 months creating images for their growing list of licensees all over the world.  Andrew Baron, was the one who encouraged us to branch out into art licensing.

We were relatively clueless about licensing art.   Andrew was generous with his time and knowledge in the beginning.  It helped us initially but the real education was by diligent research. There were no websites to learn from as there was no INTERNET…. can you believe that? No one would talk to us about it and there was very little to read about it.  I would just have to go to shows and find out myself.  Since we love challenges, we threw ourselves into this new biz as we realized that our days in illustration were numbered.  Computers were getting popular and the Movie Studios no longer did art on posters. That business dropped off the planet very quickly.  The ad agencies were suffering and the time was ripe for a new phase of ART and it seemed to be Licensing.

We looked for new types of artists and discovered the biz together.  The rules were different, the process was different and the payments were very, very different.  New and different was a nice change.  We all grew together and now we share our knowledge by mentoring and educating 
new talent in this challenging biz.

We love to put on seminars and mini classes on Licensing in Art Schools and big and or small venues. Although there are many art schools in the United States and around the world they, for many reasons, do not include licensing as a formal course to their students.  We have been invited to speak at Utah State and then other invites came along in LA as well.

 What products have your artists been licensed for?

We run the gamut depending on our team of talent and what they are open to  creating for clients.  We go from fabric, textiles for the kitchen and bath, party plates and Stationery such as: invitations, notebooks, albums, to cocktail napkins, to jigsaw puzzles, gift bags, flags and more.

As Neil would say, we go from the floor to the ceiling with the types of things we license.  We license art for floor mats, area rugs, coir welcome mats, wall décor, metal and wood signs, ornaments, Popcorn tins, music boxes, tabletop, gift bags and boxes, decorative boxes, crafts, such as paint by number,  embroidery, kits, tee shirts, trays, coasters, top of bed, luggage, calendars, children’s products, baby and pet products.  Inspirational products are important too. Often art is needed by location, country, coastal, national parks, Lodge, mountains as well as seasonal art too since many products concentrate on important holidays.  Anything you can imagine that has art on it, we can do!

 What advice would you give an artist interested in licensing their work?

This is not the business to start if you have no other income coming in.  It’s not a quick earning business.  They will need to consult with a seasoned agent to decide how to begin creating an archive of art. They will need to create seasonal art, which is a good place to start.  Seasonal designs can be licensed to many categories at the same time. Photoshop or similar programs are a must.  Manufacturers are literal… they must see the art the way they are going to use it.  IF you do art in groups, they will get a taste of your hand and your styling.

One design won’t tell the story and won’t get you in the door.  This is not a one trick pony industry.  On the bright side, you can earn money from art you are doing for years to come. Re-freshing your look is important and paying attention to trends is essential.  An artist will need to be creating new art every day so their archive will be broadened and widened to include new markets.  With licensing, you are earning an annuity for your art once you have found your niche .We can help you branch out into new specialties so you won’t get burnt out and will acquire new revenue streams along the way.

What kinds of themes do you see trending for products?

Chalk art has taken hold for the past couple of years and that retro decorative layered look that came in from variety of sources including Punch Studio. Fringe and Michel Studio have a very successful and appealing style. Realism with some new twists never goes out, but new looks are also important too.  Graphic looks have a contemporary feel is appealing today as well.
Retro never seems to go away. In tough economic times, people like to be reminded of the more innocent days of yore. Also inspirational art and art with an attitude is hot.  Campus art with typography and famous icons are popular with the high schoolers and the College set.   

Are they any other things you see as a current trend?

Pet products are a huge industry since billions of families have cats, dogs, birds and other small pets.  People without children have pets as their families and spend a fortune on items to celebrate their special “four legged family” members.  

What do you like about representing artists?   

As Neil would say, I was born to do this business.  I have always loved art and doing it myself in my amateur way.  I loved studying and learning all sorts of art techniques at Queens College in NY and then at Stanford University and then teaching it.  I mentored my special students when I was a teacher and have been doing that for the past 35 
years. Art is my life!

I see it everywhere and enjoy coaching talented people change their lives by doing what they love!  Encouraging others on how to excell, is a huge part of our business. When our artists send  art to present to our clients, I know which pieces will need tweaking and which ones will be chosen and why.  It’s most important to help them understand how to improve their designs so that a client will be thrilled to have the privilege to manufacture and produce them. That is the ticket!  

Elise can be reached at Rosenthal Represents (818) 430-3850

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

AmericasMart Atlanta July

This was my second trip to the AmericasMart in Atlanta. I also attended in January. There was much less traffic at this show. I understand that this time of year is busy for stores so they tend to come in larger numbers in January. 
With that said I found this show as exciting and interesting as in January. I took time to look at showrooms I hadn't seen before and met some lovely people along the way. 
I did find that themes and trends haven't changed much.The chalk look and word images were still strong. There were some lovely garden and animal themes as well. I saw some wonderful art on all kinds of products. There were lots of fun whimsical products for Halloween and Christmas too. 
Seeing new friends and old was an added benefit.
Personally the show was especially nice in that some of the Two Can Art images were launched. PPD featured the Winter Solstice collection in the window. One of the cards at Design Design was also in the showroom. I really love meeting the sales forces at the show too. They were all so incredibly kind.
 Visiting the showrooms can really give you a good idea of a manufactures look and product selections,so you can get an idea if it's a good fit for your artwork.
  I am looking forward to heading south again in   

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Siyana Zaharieva

How did you become an artist?
It was a very straight process in my case.I was quite excited by illustrations back in my childhood and very early I decided that exactly this would be my job. Even I enrolled in drawing classes by myself and my parents got to know this as late as the time for payment came.
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I graduated with „Illustration“ from the National Academy of Art, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator?
Definitely all illustrators, with whose children‘s books I have grown up, have influenced me. There are a lot of such illustrators. However, there are two persons, who showed me in a completely different way that despite the difficulties, one should not give up what one wants to do; that one should be persistent, work hard and believe in one‘s self. These persons are my parents.
Are there any artists or individual that influence your work?
I am addicted to illustration. The blogs and websites of illustrators that I follow are really a lot. I am constantly discovering artists, who are new to me and who become my favourite. They are also quite a lot. Over the past few days I have been checking with great interest the illustrations of Fredéric Pillot, Chun Eun Sil, Eric Puybaret.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by stories for children, by the good writers, children‘s imagination, nature... by the world that surroudns me.
Your work process is really interesting can you share how you create your images?
I draw entirely by hand. First I give myself enough time to explore and ponder on what I will do. Then many pencil drawings follow while I create the character or characters that I draw. It is important to have drawings from different points of view in at least several situations before I proceed.If I do a book, after the development of the characters, I make small sketches (storyboard) of the various illustrations. Then I start developing them in detail in the real format. Finally I do them in colour. I paint with acrylic paints on paper. Incidentally it has been the case that I have had to paint in Adobe Photoshop, but this is in extraordinary situations, when the deadline is too tight and this is the only way for me to fit in it.
What types of markets do you create art for?
Until now I have worked in the field of children's books and illustrations for advertising campaigns. I hope that in the future the books will prevail.
Are there links where more of your art can be seen?
Yes – here they are:
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching, or classroom visits?
I have always found working with children to be extremely interesting, but I am still doing my first steps as an illustrator and perhaps in the future I could try also in this area. Next month I'm about to be one of the presenters at a children's workshop "DO YOURSELF A BOOK" and I am very excited.
Are there other creative interests you persue like writing or music?
In my free time I like reading, travelling and cyclingI have never done music and I think I am not talented in this fieldAs for writing, one never knowsI am considering such a book written and illustrated by me, but I‘m still gathering courage.
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? books, gift or home products?
Yes, but for now they are only on the Bulgarian market. There are books with my illustrations. They can also be seen on the cupakes from„Take a cake“ (, the promotional mugs of Jacobs Monarch and on the cover of the latest issue of the culinary magazine "Bacchus. "
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I love everything, the entire process. Yet, perhaps I love it the most when,following numerous pencil drawings, Idetermine on the characters and composition, and move on to work with colors. This has always been the sweetest for me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Patrick Girouard

How did you become an artist?
I've always drawn and painted, and that's always been my favorite thing to do. I loved it whenever my Dad would bring a batch of laundry home from the dry cleaner, because I had permanent dibs on all of that shirt cardboard. It was white on one side and brown on the other. Two drawing surfaces for the price of one! I took all of the art classes that I could all through school, volunteered to paint sets during class plays, and figured out ways to illustrate book reports and any assignments that I could. Going to art school and becoming a professional artist was the only thing I ever considered doing.
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I went to the Paier School of Art in Hamden, CT. I had wonderful teachers and classmates, and was given a great foundation to build on. Attending school there was one of the best times of my life, I can feel it's influence every day.
Was there anyone that influenced you in becoming an artist?
My Dad was a successful businessman in New York City. In spite of always being very supportive and encouraging, I was nervous about telling him that I wanted to go to art school. When I finally got up the nerve I was incredibly relieved when he said he thought it was a great idea. He told me that he had always hated his job, and he never wanted me to be in that position. I was also lucky to have several great teachers in elementary and high school who noticed my abilities and encouraged me.
Is there one or more artists whose work is an influence?
Tons! Early influences were artists like Tony Ross, Babette Cole, and especially Tomi Ungerer. I love their line, color, and especially their senses of humor and anarchy. When I was younger I enjoyed illustrators like B. Kliban, Edward Gorey, Rick Meyerowitz, and Gahan Wilson. Scratch that younger part, I still love them. Other favorite illustrators include Wilson McLean, Brad Holland, Alan Cober, William Joyce, Trina Schart Hyman, Friso Henstra… this list could go on forever and I'd still forget someone.
What inspires you?
Books, movies, other artists, conversations with friends and family, dreams, images that stick in my head, color combinations, travel… life! Last November I was driving down to Florida with my son Marc. We saw a big flatbed truck that had gone off the side of the road and big white boxes scattered all around it. Then we noticed that the people cleaning up the boxes were all wearing full body beekeeper's outfits, and there was a huge cloud of bees over the whole thing! By the time we had passed it was too late to go back or snap any photos, but I clicked a brain picture for future reference. Later on I made a quick image, and some day it might be refined and turn into something.
Would you like to share your work process?
It's pretty intuitive. If an illustration that requires specific reference material I'll gather as much of it as I can so that I really feel like I know what I'm drawing. I try to look at things and absorb what they are, then put the reference aside and draw from memory. Otherwise the drawings become too dear and I lose that kind of spontaneous energy. It doesn't always work, but observing and recalling is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. 
I generally draw the characters and environment as separate elements in my sketchbook, then scan them and compose the image using layers in Photoshop. I paint digitally, but still like to do all of the drawing with ink and paper. If an area or element isn't working, I can redraw, scan, and adjust it. Once I have everything the way I want, I usually print it out, then take it to my light box and redraw the entire image all at once. That way the line is consistent, and I can make small adjustments as I go. 
Then I scan the drawing and set it up with three transparent layers. I keep the top layer to hold the line (even though I sometimes erase areas), and the bottom layer for insurance. I like to paint on a toned background, so I add that above the bottom layer.  My favorite is simply a scan of a brown paper grocery bag, but sometimes I'll paint something or use different surfaces. I do the painting mostly on the middle layer, using transparent washes and building color just like I would with acrylics or gouache. I say mostly because I frequently add lots of additional layers where I can experiment with color and texture, but easily edit or eliminate them.
Are there links where more of your art can be seen?
My website is

Last September decided to paint one new Facebook profile picture every day for a year. I'm a little more than halfway done right now. Here's a video featuring some of them -, and you can follow my daily progress here -

I'm a member of Picture Book Artists Association -

My agent is Bernadette Szost at Portfolio Solutions -
What types of markets do you create art for?
Primarily the children's market, picture books, magazines, and educational work. But I've also done lots of greeting cards, posters, t-shirts, toys, games, puzzles, work for institutional clients, advertising, newspapers, and the occasional odd project, like streetlight banners or the outside of an entire city bus for a radio station in Hartford, CT. I'd love the chance to illustrate a label for a wine or beer bottle, and still haven't given up hope for an album cover.
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching?
I've taught classes at a variety of places over the years. Most recently a rotating series of classes for families at local libraries in the county where I live, and after school programs at two local elementary schools. I also do visits at schools and libraries around the country, but those are more lectures than classes.
Do you pursue other artistic interests like writing or music?
I've written several picture books but haven't done anything with them yet. I really need to close my eyes and take the leap. I enjoy making stained glass windows and mosaics, and our house is a never ending project.
Where can your art be seen?
 In addition to the sites listed above, you can find some of my work in my Etsy shop -

 What do you love best about what you do?
I get to make a living doing something that I love every day. What could be better than that?