Friday, July 27, 2012

Doreen Gay Kassel

How is it that you came to be an illustrator/artist?
I never wanted to be anything else. I have been drawing and sculpting as long as I can remember. When I was a girl my father did some book design for Franklin Watts (I think), I remember being given an illustrated children's book, done in watercolor washes. The main character, a little girl, had to sit on a horsehair sofa. The illustrator showed, by her expression, how the backs of her thighs itched (girls wore skirts and knee socks back then). I remember being enchanted with the illustration. My grandmother and aunt also gave me many classic children's books, The Wind in the Willows, The Brother's Grimm, Illustrated Volumes of Nursery Rhymes and stories, all influenced my decision to become an artist. Another reason I wanted to be an illustrator instead of a 'fine' artist was because I never wanted to have to be a waitress (which I knew I couldn't be anyway).
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I went to the School of Visual Arts for illustration & the Fashion Institute of Technology for textile design, which has really helped my understanding of color & design. I couldn't wait to get out of high school, which I hated, and into art school, which I loved.  I had to go to art school in New York, because I thought it was the center of the universe and I wasn't disappointed. 
 Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an artist?
My father was an artist & he influenced me more than anyone. There was always creative activity in the house with him. Oil painting, watercolor painting, photography, airbrush, sculpture, type design, map design, furniture making. He did it all, and he did it well. He went to Cooper Union at night when I was a little girl and we lived in Greenwich Village, which was an quite an influence too. I loved all of his homework assignments. Being an artist always seemed like the best thing in the world to me.
What inspires you now?
So many things around me. Stuff that's off beat and vintage. Stuff that's a bit worn and loved up. Animals, patterns. Children's rhymes and stories. European art and architecture from an earlier time, carnival, masquerade balls.
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?
I paint and draw and work in pastels but now I mainly work in three dimensions, or in relief. I've discovered a technique that I absolutely love. I use white polymer, cure it and apply a series of coats of oil paint, which I rub off and reapply. I creates a soft and subtly colored vintage look.
What types of markets do you do art for?
 After doing children's books and products for many years I began to create sculptural pieces that tell a story in another way. Each ornament, tile or small sculpture has its own narrative going on. 
Are there links to your images you would like to share?
These are links to my website, blog and agent...
Do you offer other things regarding art, like teaching or classroom visits?
I teach workshops all over the country, they are listed on my website.  and in 2013 I'll be teaching my first, week-long workshop in France!
Here is a link...
Do you currently have product on the market? books, gifts or home products?
My children's books are on Amazon. I also have my ornaments in art galleries across the country, including an opera group, a diva, a maestro and Pagliacci, for the NY Metropolitan Opera Shop and I'm just looking into licensing some of my artwork.
What is the thing you love most about what you do?
I love the excitement and discovery. I love being alone and losing myself in it. And I get a huge kick out of the fact that it makes people smile. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dave Groff

How is it that you came to be an illustrator?
In high school, I really started to focus on becoming an artist for a living. I realized that Disney hired artists to make animated films and that seemed like an absolutely awesome way to make a living so that was the first thought. Later in my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to meet with an art director  and talk about advertising and illustrators. As soon as I walked into his office and saw the layouts on the wall and smelled those markers I was hooked! I knew that making art for a living was for me.
Did you go to art school?
I graduated the Columbus College of Art & Design though my first thoughts were to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art. They turned me down because my work “looked to much like a commercial artist”!
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in becoming an illustrator?
I've had many influences and inspirations in my career. My oldest sister was an excellent artist and I was always in awe of the things she would paint and was inspired to do the same. In art school my friend, Lee Woolery was a great motivator and really inspired me to want to succeed and carry on even when the nights and assignments never seemed to be coming out right. He was always there to offer advice and encouragement. Jeffery Terreson, another art school buddy was also a big influence. He never gave up and always worked to make it work. My great college roommates Tim Bowers and John Jude Palencar were the best. Always making me want to try harder on every assignment. The made it look easy. Being in art school was more than going to class and learning art it was always  the inspiration and friendly competition among my peers that really drove many of us to want to be better.
What inspires you now?
What inspires me now… many things like my student’s work at CCAD, the beautiful, skillful work I see being done my peers, my faith, my new grand daughter!
What techniques and mediums do you work in?
I am a traditional painter working in oil and acrylics. There is nothing really fancy to what I do as a painter. I strive to do a good drawing, create believable values and pleasing color. Over the last few years I‘ve been scanning my finished art into PS and experimenting with different textures and filters with some really cool results.
What types of markets do you illustrate for?
My work is mainly used in advertising, and book work. A wide variety of areas really.
Are there links to your work you’d like to share?
My work can be seen here: 
this is my black and white sketch blog 
this is where I’m posting the most variety of work for now until I can get my new web site where I want it
Do you do other things regarding art?
I am currently an adjunct professor at The Columbus College of Art & Design and also taught a few years ago at the University of Dayton. I‘ve done several school class room visits and have always enjoyed promoting and speaking about being an artist. 
I enjoy easel painting as much as I do sitting behind a drawing board or computer monitor. I have always enjoyed playing the guitar and was a cello player for many years.
I ‘m an avid garage sale junkie and flea market / antique show attender. I ‘m always on the hunt for anything , funky or 60’s, I collect old toy and mid century furniture. 
Do you have products with your images on the market?
I have never gotten into much licensing of  my work for products outside of a few greeting cards I’ve done and some t-shirt design work.
What do you love best about what you do?
The thing I love best about what I do is that I feel blessed to be able to create art that people can relate to  and leaves me fulfilled and wanting to do more .

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Michelle Lash-Ruff

How is it that you became an illustrator?

I became an artist because of a relentless passion for painting, drawing and creating art while growing up. I drew in sketchbooks, painted rocks, carved wood and rocks, anything to express my creative ideas. I became an illustrator at the suggestion of a wonderful art professor during my undergraduate studies in graphic design. He pulled me aside before graduation and asked what I planned to do after I graduated. (I had planned on working.) He suggested I continue my education for my Masters degree in illustration. I applied to the illustration program at Syracuse University, and was accepted to their Masters Program. Over the years as a freelance artist I have worked in both areas of graphic design and illustration.

Did you go to art school?

My original intention was to study to become an Art Teacher in college at the suggestion of my high school guidance counselor. But while showing my portfolio to the Dean of the Art Department at Buffalo State College she felt otherwise. She recommended Graphic Design. I had taken graphic design courses through a technical program in high school and it was more of my strong suite in my portfolio. I stayed at Buffalo State College for one year and transferred to SUNY University of Buffalo. I actually wanted to try my hand at premed. I lasted a semester. By spring semester I was filling up sketchbooks and back in the graphic design classes. I graduated from theUniversity of Buffalo with a BFA in Visual Communications and an MFA in Illustration from Syracuse University.

Were there one or more individuals that influenced you in becoming an illustrator?
There are many people that have inspired me to be an illustrator. Teachers, family and friends all along the way through out my creative career. My husband and children are strong influences on my creative spirit.
What inspires you now?
Everything and anything can inspire what I create. It can even be a new medium to try. My pets are an inspiration too.
Would you like to share anything regarding your technique or style of work?
I work in acrylics, gouache, and watercolor. I use an airbrush when I want certain effects. I also love trying new things on the computer.
What types of markets do you illustrate for?
My market is usually, children’s art. I describe my style as a “sophisticated cute”. Although, it does cross over to d├ęcor art.
Do you have a link to more samples of your work? ( I don’t get to blog much, but I hope too soon)
Do you do other things regarding art?
I teach occasionally. I am even substitute teacher when needed. I also take classes to try new things at my local colleges.
My other creative outlet is creating beautiful gardens. I tend to create a new garden every year. I also like to take broken antiques and make new artistic items for my house.
Do you currently have product with your images on the market?
I have licensed my art to appear on needle point, figurines, ornaments, tapestries, throws, pillows, puzzles, plates, napkins, flags, fine art prints, children’s books and more.
What do you love most about what you do?
What I love best about what I do....I just love what I do.