I grew up in a house full of art supplies and my dad was something of a pack rat. So for me art was finding a way to take all of the art supplies and create something interesting like Christmas cards or clocks made of Cd's with a hand painted image on them. The junk that my father collected was turned into a number of projects ranging from three wheeled bikes that you could lay flat on, to very intricate tree house designs and interesting bird houses. Creating art has always been in my veins but it took me a while to realize I wanted to do it for a living. The spark began with teachers who showed interest in my art.
Did you go to art school?
I went to Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston Massachusetts. I could have technically become an illustrator without art college but I probably wouldn't have done so. Art college gave me the guidance and start that I needed to take art seriously. I could have learned most of the lessons from books, videos, google and YouTube but I'm not sure I would have taken the time required to pursue art with the intensity which Massart encouraged. Above all Massart taught me traditional mediums and how to take critiques and helped me to begin to find my voice. It wasn't until I started full time freelance illustration that I learned to run a business, find clients and do digital art.
Was there anyone that influenced you in becoming an artist?
I didn't realize there was such a thing as art college until my senior year of high school. I doubt I fully realized you could get paid to be a full time artist. For me the journey truly began with my high school art teacher Larry Golden who not only told me about art college, but actually brought me to a couple of them for portfolio reviews. He helped me build a portfolio and then went one more step to enter my art into a couple of competitions which I got first place in.
Is there one or more artist whose work is an influence?
Practically everyday I find a new artists whose art inspires me. I love all kinds of art. The names that keep popping up over and over again in my career are James Gurney, Will Terry, Scott Gustafson, Brad Teare, and Scott burdick. Soo many blogs, books and websites got me to where I am today.
What inspires you?
I'm generally able to find inspiration in every project I do. I'm particularly inspired by the authors who write a story that is fun, engaging, educational or particularly imaginative. It's much easier to create inspired illustrations when the story is written with an inspired hand. I also find inspiration from other artists work as they often give me the drive to get better. Usually just about the time I start to feel like I'm getting pretty good at this art thing, I find another ten artist's who's work is a million times better than mine. It's a life long process and ultimately all of my inspiration comes from God who gave me the talent, the drive and passion to create.
Would you like to share your work process?
My work process is constantly evolving so it's hard for me to pin down. It's also different depending on the style of art I'm creating, whether its a landscape, a product illustration, a logo or a children's book. My general process for my more recent children's book work is entirely digital. Everything from the thumbnails sketches, roughs, final drawings, color samples and into the final art is done in photoshop. I learned everything from acrylics, watercolors, gouache, oil painting, pastel, to sculpting at massart but I really didn't do much with digital until the past couple of years. I always thought I didn't like digital because the sort I had seen was flat and textureless. My journey to the digital world involved the revelation that textures and patterns could be introduced into digital art. So my work process involves collecting various textures via photography of the natural world and patterns that I find or make. These are kept in a folder that I utilize when I need a wood texture, watercolor wash, paint texture, rock texture etc. I then use photoshops "define pattern" and "fill" features to add textures and patterns to specific layers. You can get an overview of my process for creating a final watercolor illustration from a video tutorial I posted to my youtube channel a couple years back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI1M_pQr2tg or you can find process posts and tutorials on my blog for my traditional mediums.http://matthewgauvin.blogspot.com/ I haven't done tutorials for my digital art yet.
Are there links where more of your art can be seen?
I'm currently the illustrator of the month on childrensillustrators.com. Here's a direct link to my portfolio http://www.childrensillustrators.com/illustrator-details/sneezingleopard/id=2864/
My art is all over the web. The easiest way to find me is to google my full name and a bunch of sites will pop up that show a variety of my art.
What types of markets do you create art for?
Mostly the children's market with magazines, children's books, chapter books etc. Ive also done logos, sign painting, landscapes, portraits, point of purchase displays, banners as a way of keeping the doors open to my business until I'm able to capture the attention of brick and mortar publishers. My dream is to be steadily employed by various children's publishers working with art directors who know what a thumbnail sketch is, or a color sample, and who have a team of people behind them who will bring the book to completion and get it into the hands of thousands of children.
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching?
I could see myself teaching art one day but haven't ventured that route yet. I've done one YouTube video showing my process for a watercolor illustration and hope to do more of that sort of thing some day.
Do you pursue other artistic interests like writing or music?
I have lots of ideas for books I would like to write but have never actually penned one to paper. My art extends into designing household items and building them mainly with woodworking .
Where can your art be seen?
My original landscapes and prints can be seen and purchased from my etsy store https://www.etsy.com/shop/matthewgauvin?ref=si_shop
My art can be purchased on various products like t-shirts, stickers, postcards phone cases and more at my zazzle store. I'm particularly happy with my "Vermoosin'" line of products on there.
My most recent book is available at www.thesilasseries.com my favorite chapter book series that I've illustrated is available at http://samsanimals.info/ and most of my other books are available on Amazon or are directly linked to on my website www.matthewgauvin.com
What do you love best about what you do?
I enjoy the happiness that my illustrations bring to kids and being able to play some role in educating and helping to grow their imaginations. Some of my fondest memories from childhood involve reading books with my parents. It feels good to know there are kids sitting with their parents reading and looking at books that I illustrated and that they may one day have fond memories of that time in their lives.