Monday, October 28, 2013

Rachel Gresham

How is it that you came to be an illustrator? 
I have always been an artist, although I haven't always called myself one.  Two years ago, out of frustration from not having enough space for my studio work, I took a graphic design class at a local art school.  I quickly became obsessed with making patterns, and worked on them every night until I started getting work as a freelance surface pattern designer. 

Did you go to art school?
I went to Middle TN State University & majored in fine arts with an emphasis in Painting & Printmaking.  At the time, I never took a graphic design course because I was too stubborn to admit I may need it.  I have been playing catch up for the past two years, when I finally decided to take one of those classes.
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator? 
Oh there are so many! My parents are both artistic (and my mom is a retired art teacher), and many of their friends are artists.  Having that supportive community was a huge influence on me.  Seeing people make their life about their art made a big impression on me. 
What inspires you now? 
I am inspired now by going to fabric stores, hiking, looking through photo albums, flower gardens, and by old illustrations, among many other things.  I recently found my grandfather's childhood sketchbook and it was like finding gold.  When I teach art to kids, I love that their work is so spontaneous and doesn't take itself too seriously. I try to keep this tucked into my art as well.

Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work?
I am at heart a lover of's what drives my work.  So whatever I'm working in, whether paint or digital, the color is what does it for me. I normally take doodles from my sketchbook and then scan them in, and rework things in Illustrator.  I love the combination of hand and digital.  
What types of markets do you do illustration for? 
I design mostly for paper, juvenile, and home products. 
Are there links to your images you would like to share? 
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching, or Classroom visits?  
I was an art teacher for several years and still teach some summer classes, which is super fun!  My favorite age to teach is Elementary.
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? books, gift or home products? 
 I have photography backdrops with my juvenile patterns, as well as iPad and Kindle cases.  My scrapbook collection "Very Merry" is coming out this month through the new company Hazel & Ruby.  I am currently working on projects for baby textiles and bolt fabric, which will all be out in 2014.  All very exciting to me!
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I am able to create, which is just the very best there is.  I am also very grateful to have such flexibility, which allows me to be home with my son a lot.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chris Chun

How did you become an artist?
I’m sure if you asked any creative person, the moment we became ‘artists’ was probably the day when we first started school and having the opportunity to express ourselves. As long as I can remember, I have always loved to draw and create – it felt very natural and made me happy. I have been incredibly blessed to have wonderful parents who supported my creativity, especially my Mum. I remember going to art classes during school holidays; we did macramé one day then ceramics then candle making…it was great! No iPad back then. My Mum even helped me screen print fabric for my final year school project at a textile workshop.
Did you go to art school?
I studied textile design at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Are there individuals that were an influence in your becoming an artist?
At various stages throughout my life, there have been several people who have been key influencers. I had a really fantastic art teacher called Lindy Spreadborough who was incredibly nurturing and always gave lots of encouragement. I also had various friends & relatives of the family who were artistic so I think they had a strong influence on me too. When I decided to paint full time, I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my husband Matthew.
Are there any other artists that inspire you?
OMG – I am inspired by so many artists; there’s just too many to name. One key theme that they all share is a wonderful sense of colour. In my early years, I loved Monet, Matisse, Willem de Kooning and Hundertwasser. I love the Japanese woodcuts, Basquiat, Joshua Yeldham, Cressida Campbell, John Olsen, Andy Warhol….
What inspires you now?
I’m inspired by travel, food, family, friends, magazines, films, nature…pretty much everything and anything. Since living here in Thailand, I am constantly inspired whether it’s the wonderful abundance of tropical flowers to the lanna designs on the temples to collaborating with some of the many talented artists and craftspeople who live here. My artwork celebrates the joy of the life.
Can you share a little about your work process?
Usually, I like to create a storyboard of ideas for any new project whether it’s a painting or a teacup. Then I like to think about it and do some concepts before I start working on it. Sometimes, it can be really quick other times I have to think about it a bit more before I actually start painting. I usually find I have several things working in the back of my sub conscious mind. To the outsider, it always looks like I leave things to the last minute before completing a job but I have been always thinking about my work beforehand. The actual painting doesn’t take that long, once I have the idea and direction formed in my head.
Are there links where we can see more of your work?
View Chris' work:

Online Boutique (limited edition products, original artwork):

Facebook (for daily updates/ new work):

YouTube (Chris’s videos on painting):




What markets do you create art for?
I create for all product categories from ceramics/ tabletop to stationery to textiles to bedding. I’ve also done a couple of book covers, designed websites and am even consulting on interiors for a new café here in Chiang Mai. I also do a bit of graphic design and product styling for photos. I love new challenges and I love learning new things.
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching?
I am not teaching at the moment but it is something I have been thinking about doing lately, especially online. I also give lectures at universities/ art colleges about working as a creative professional to students.
Do you persue other creative interests?
I love cooking but I haven’t done it so much since I have been living in Thailand. Most kitchens in Thailand do not have an oven and I didn’t realize how much I love to bake! This year, I have been learning ceramics – how to use the potter’s wheel but I have decided I do not have the patience or skill for this. I have also been to a few Bollywood dance classes in my time LOL.
Where can your art be seen?
You can find my work on cards, textiles, canvases, works on paper, elephants, books. I have some new card ranges coming out soon with Papyrus.
What do you love best about what you do?
I just love being able to do what I love to do. I have a very blessed life.

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.