How did you get started in the illustration field?
Upon graduating i didn’t think my portfolio was quite ready so while i continued to work on it i freelanced doing mechanicals for Harpers-the literary magazine and SWANK-the porno magazine. One day i needed to have the editor of SWANK sign off on a layout. His office door was closed and he didn’t respond when i knocked. I called him from my desk phone and he asked me to return to his door. He opened it only a crack and pulled me inside. The room was dark, the curtains drawn, all the furniture had been pushed aside the air was thick and warm and there was a naked woman standing in the middle of the room. The editor introduced us and oddly enough we shook hands. Mid-handshake i wondered if her hands were all that clean…..Later that night i decided my portfolio was suddenly plenty ready. I continued working for Harpers and quit SWANK.
How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
I started drawing with pastels in life drawing class at Parsons and just continued. Recently i’ve been changeing the way i do some assignments.
What is your process when working with clients? Can you run us through a typical job? What is your creative process?
Every job is a little different. Some clients are able to give me tremendous freedom and others have constraints placed on them which get passed to me. Illustration is a collaboration and we work it out.
What is your creation process (start with sketches, etcâ?¦)?
Often i’ll ask if the client has something in mind, then i do rough thumbnails trying to see what direction is working and the ones i like i send along. We keep talking/sketching.
How do you market/promote your work?
i do snail mailers and e-mailers and annuals. I love doing snail mailers because i get to use one of the stamps i’ve created for the US post office. It gives me a little thrill!
Do you have a rep? Why/why not?
I used to have the wonderful Vicki Morgan for many years. When i moved from NYC to San Francisco i was traveling a lot and not available to do a lot of work, i thought that wasn’t fair to her or her business. I love Vicki and we talk often and i consider working with her all the time.
What was one of your favorite assignments?
I’ve had so many that i’ve loved and far too many that i’ve loathed. Where to begin…it was a unique assignment with a company called Rabbit Ears, they created children’s books and movies. There were several people there who were extraordinarily creative and their talent pushed me to be a better artist.
Describe your work setting.
I’ve always lived in small places and traveled a lot, it was a trade off. Recently i married a wonderful illustrator and painter-Ward Schumaker- who also happened to own a large home. So for the first time i have an abundance of space to do my work and it feels great.
Do you have side projects you work on?
Yes, it’s a great thing to have personal projects in your life. It’s a way for you to grow as an artist. Also, you never know what will happen, for instance, several years ago I got a dog-Alfred-an extremely handsome and complex French Bulldog who I drew and photographed all of the time. I had thousands of photo’s of Alfred and wondered if i could do something more with them. So, I wrote a story based on a particular neurosis of his and created a children’s book. It will be published by HarperCollins Spring of 2008, called ALFRED’S NOSE. Please be on the look out for it-it was a labor of love!
How do you maintain balance in your life between work and play?
I don’t always do very well, that’s why i travel so much-i get away from everything that way. It’s easier now that i have a husband who i enjoy seeing, we try to make time for each other.
Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then?
Unfortunately yes. Not so often in my illustration work-when i have a job i know what’s expected of me, when the deadline is, how to keep working or reworking it till it’s finished successfully. But I’m working on a large painting right now, i have no deadline, i can do absolutely anything i want , and it is giving me a lot of grief!
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
I know i should say i go to museums and galleries and i do that sometimes, but for something completely different i go yard saling with 2 good friend’s and we have a blast!
What has been inspiring you lately?
Any advice for others who are pursuing creative goals?
Brian Cronin said it better than i can — this is his quote:
“i’m not big on advise but since you asked.!! i would say try and be as honest with your self as possible when it comes to your work and in life in general don’t do thing for just the money do things that make you happy if you can. obviously we all have to make a living i guess don’t destroy what you love for money. or do something else for the money and keep your art for you.”-Brian Cronin