— I really love your style, but i’m more of a watercolor/ink girl and am not well versed in using graphite. Would you be willing to describe your specific materials?
Sure, though I don’t think its anything too out of the ordinary:
- Faber-Castell Graphite Pencils, usually ranging between H to 6B
- a jar of General’s Powdered Graphite
- either Stonehenge paper or BFK Rives paper
- lots of kneaded erasers
- Faber-Castell Eraser Pencil (my favorite tool ever)
- lots of tissues (for blending and wiping up my tears when I mess up)
- a blending stump or two
- a large, wide brush for brushing off eraser shavings
- a smaller sheet of paper to rest my hand on so I dont smear the drawing
— When you do commissions like cover art and such, what level of direction do you prefer? Would you like it if someone gave you a crude drawing and told you, “Draw this with this same layout, but better”? Or would you like just a basic premise or inspiration?
Hmm, I guess it usually depends. I’ve never had someone give me a crude sketch and tell me to make it into a final drawing. If they did though, I’d probably turn the job down. I think the duty of an artist isnt necessarily just to make something look pretty; we’re hired to think and to find solutions, and it isn’t very fulfilling to draw someone else’s idea. Jobs range a lot in terms of how much leeway or direction you get sometimes, but you just have to adjust yourself based on who your client is. Sometimes I like when an art director has something specific in mind and they know exactly what will work. Other times, it’s frustrating to have to constantly revise sketches due to a lack of direction they might have. Nothing beats doing personal work though. I love being my own boss.
— Do you have a part time job? What is your routine like as a professional illustrator? Also, where could i buy prints of your work?
I am a full-time freelance illustrator. I quit my part-time job right after I ended school (I worked at a honey store, running the honey bar and conversing with guests about different types of honey). It seemed like such a momentous decision to try and make a living off only doing art, but so far I’ve had absolutely zero regrets. My routine: Wake up anywhere between nine and noon. Make some food and lots of coffee. Answer emails and hop on twitter. Then work on and off on whatever art pieces I have deadlines for for about twelve straight hours. Then sleep. The weekends are spent going to wild artist parties in the city and trying to act charming around people that can get me more jobs. And you can buy prints RIGHT HERE
— Where else do you get your reference from besides yourself?
As far as models go, I usually use people I know when I can. If I need references of animals or odd objects and whatnot, I look on the internet, but I usually try not to use the references too closely in the drawing. It helps avoid making your things look the same as everyone else who uses the first image they find on google.
— Has art been something you’ve always been interested in, or was it surprising for you and everyone else that you became an artist?
Yea I’ve always wanted to do art. When I was five I made so many comic strips. If I can dig them up at all in the future I will definitely post them here.
— I was wondering how in the world do you get your graphite so smooth and cloudy looking? do you use a fancy cotton paper? or is it just a result from using powdered graphite?
All my paper is like, $300 a sheet. Only kidding. I dont think it’s a result of using powdered graphite, but more so erasing a lot in my process. Erasing away seems to lend itself more towards even gradients than laying down graphite, especially with kneaded erasers. When it comes down to details, it really helps to sometimes think of the paper’s texture as tiny little pixels that you need to fill in. It’s really difficult to get subtle values with just a swipe of a pencil, so a lot of times I’ll go back in and, very lightly, fill in all the little imperfections of a darker area. Other than that I think it really just relies on glazing the graphite numerous times to get a controlled smoothness.
— Why the decision to switch from Blogger to Tumblr? Do you believe it has more followers?
I am really in love with Tumblr. Tumblr, I love you. The decision wasn’t totally based on followers (but however, within a day I had more followers on Tumblr than I ever did with my blog). The main reasons I switched was because I liked the simple layouts tumblr had and how geared it is towards sharing. Tumblr makes it so easy to spread art (and any inspiration for that matter) around and have it seen by thousands. It’s my favorite tool to use when I’m looking for ideas for a new piece too.