Friday, June 21, 2013

Stephanie Ryan

How did you become an illustrator?
I discovered I was an artist in grade school and continued to explore life as an artist ever since. Every time I thought about what kind of career I would like to have, artist was always the answer.
Did you go to art school?
I attended Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia.
Were there 1 or more individuals that influenced your becoming an illustrator?
I grew up near Chadds Fords, Pennsylvania and the home of the Wyeths. I have visited the Brandywine River Museum so many times, I have lost count. There is a part of me that is deeply affected by Andrew Wyeth’s work; the gray days and bare sycamore tree’s speak to my soul. I was also inspired by the work of Georgia O’keeffe, her big, bold flowers filled with so much color and beauty are amazing. She was such a strong and determined spirit and let nothing get in her way when creating her art. Today, I am influenced by my artist friends doing whatever is necessary to share their art with the world.
What inspires you now? 
I am inspired by everything around me. Color, nature, textures and flowers of course! I am equally inspired by life, people, the journey, our stories and the pursuit of happiness in all of it’s forms.

Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique and style?
I primarily use watercolors but, my work also includes graphic looks and textures that I create in the computer. I am an intuitive painter and don’t like to think too much about what I am going to paint. I let the brush create shapes that turn into flowers. The more I think about what I am painting the tighter my need for control gets and it is reflected in my work. So, I try to be a clean slate when I start!
What types of markets do you illustrate for?
I love product design. Most of my career was spent creating dolls and then art for dinnerware. So, I primarily create art for licensing opportunities on products like fabric, dinnerware, cards, and home decor.
Are there links to your art that you would like to share?
Yes! I have a website, blog, Etsy shop and social media sites! Website:
Twitter: @smallsweetsteps
Instagram: Stephanieryands
Do you do other things regarding art, like teaching?
 Right now my time is spent freelancing and nurturing my licensing career. I would love to get involved in teaching when the right opportunity presents itself to me.
Do you persue other creative ventures?
I love to write and spend a lot of time writing my Small Sweet Steps inspirational messages. This is something I started last year as a way to help others through the challenges of getting overwhelmed by the pursuit of their dreams. They are steps that I have taken and continue to take to make the journey a little easier. They are a labor of love that can be challenging to write but, are also so rewarding.
Do you have product with your images currently out in the market?
 Yes, I currently have dinnerware, fabric, cards, flags, welcome mats, shower curtains and some other things out in the market now and I have a very exciting year ahead of me with some great product launches in January!
What do you love best about what you do?
I love that I get to create art every day for myself and then get to share it with the world. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mark Gonyea

How did you become an illustrator?
I'm very lucky in the sense that I've always known what I wanted to be, aside from astronaut of course. I don't think I knew what graphic design really was as a kid but I've always been drawing or making my own comics.  It's always been a labor of love of comics, design and storytelling. I think that's why even my design work today has a real sequential nature to it. Although it took me a while to realize I might be able to actually make a living doing art.
 Did you go to art school?
Absolutely. After high school I started out with a full course load of classes at SUNY in my home town. Figure drawing, graphic design, printmaking, that kind of thing. After two years there I decided applied to The Joe Kubert School of Cartooning and Graphic Art. The Kubert school is a very specialized college in New Jersey that focuses exclusively on comics and narrative art. It was a great 3 years and I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without my time there. 
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator? 
I think I was influenced more by what I saw on television as a kid. I used to sit on the floor watching Saturday Morning cartoons and copy images out of comic books. Charles Schultz was a big influence on me as a kid as well. He was the first cartoonist whose name I learned and realized that drawing was a job someone could actually have. I remember thinking that was really cool and I'd like to do that someday. Plus the Peanuts holiday specials were a must see every year in our house. I also love Saul Bass as a designer solely for the simplicity and elegance of his work. He exemplifies the idea that strong ideas are most often deceptively simple. 
 What inspires you now?
Still the same things that inspired me as a kid. Tv, movies, books, comics, math and science. 

Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style or work? 
I've been working digitally pretty much since I graduated college. My preferred style is more of a cut paper look and feel so that fits right in to what I feel a computer is best at. A few years ago I took up doing scratchboard because I missed the tactile feeling of actually putting hands on paper to create something that's one of a kind. 
What types of markets do you do illustration for?
Recently it's been mostly children's books and comic posters so it'll be exciting to see where my art ends up going forward. In the past I've also done a lot of work for hire patterns, packaging design and branding. 
 Are there links to your images you would like to share?
Most of my work can be seen at and and Mr.Oblivious was a hobby web comic I did for a number of years basically about how many times you can tell the same joke. Turns out it's a lot!
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching or classroom visits?
I actually JUST did my first classroom visit about a couple months ago which I think it went pretty well. The kids made up some animals for me to draw which included a seahorse with horns and an octopus in a top hat. 
Are there other creative interests you pursue like writing or music?
I definitely write as well. I'm always saying there's a movie script in me somewhere, one of these days I'll have to try and find it. I also like to play very complicated board games with friends. 
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? Books, gift or home products?
As far as licensing goes, I'm fairly new to it but I have done 5 kids books previously. My first was called A Book About Design: Complicated Doesn't make it good. My latest is a Halloween book called The Spooky Box, coming out this summer. You might find a poster or t-shirt here and there online where I've dabbled in licensing but this is the year where I'm hopefully taking it to the next level (cue Karate Kid soundtrack). 
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I love looking back at the end of a project and comparing it to where it started. It's almost never what I thought it was going to be. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Jennifer Parker

 How did you become an artist? 
At the age of seven, I made my mom a gift for Christmas. I purged through a box of photos and began cutting, gluing and collaging the family pictures on a poster board. In high school, I continued making collages from magazine clippings and photos. I also enjoyed collecting and sending greeting cards to family and friends. In college, I worked at a gift boutique shop, which lead me to follow a career path in the gift industry. 

Did you go to art school?
I attended California State University, Chico, and earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Visual Communications (Graphic Design).

Were there one or more influences in your becoming an artist?
Two artists made a significant impression on me when I was 19. Mary Engelbriet's inspirational quotes really resonated with me. I admired how brilliantly she told a story in her greeting cards. And I also fell in love with Nick Bantock's collage postcards and his Griffin & Sabine stories. People have told me that my designs tell a story, and I believe it was those two artists that influenced my work. 
 What inspires you now?
I’m inspired by all things Anthropolgie and Free People! Anything bold and exotic. I love details, ethnic textiles, weathered textures, nature elements, and a mix of unusual objects combined together to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art. 

Is there anything you would like to share about your technique or style? 
I use mostly ephemera [chromolithography printed material out of copyright], photos of textures, and painted backgrounds. And I work primarily in Photoshop, creating many layers in a single file to composite my final image. 
What types of markets do you create images for? 
My career and background has been primarily in the paper products industry. But I look forward to expanding my line into other product categories like home d├ęcor, fabric and tabletop. 

Do you do other things regarding art, like teaching? 
I provide design and consulting services to artists who would like help with branding, marketing, and preparing their portfolios for licensing.
Recently, I guided a group of nine amazing women in creating a mandala vision board. Through that heartfelt experience, I plan to offer a seasonal mandala vision board workshops in my studio starting this Fall. 

Are there other creative interests that you persure?
World Travel has given me inspiration. I’ve photographed many different cultures, and find great beauty in light, color, shape, natural and unorchestrated arrangements. 
In conjunction with travel, I enjoy the process of creating assemblages and mixed media with a Eastern Philosophy quality as I’ve deeply enjoyed my experiences in Asia, Nepal and India. 
Recently, I’ve felt strongly compelled to learn monoprinting, bongo drumming, and tribal fusion belly dancing.

Do you currently have product with your images on the market?
You’ll see my licensed designs on greeting cards, magnets recycled plastic tote bags, journals, napkins, boxed notes, notepads, and desk sets.

What is the thing you love best about what you do?