Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

IF Interview – Christopher Silas Neal

Name: Christopher Silas Neal
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Website: www.csneal.com
Blog: csneal.tumblr.com
Twitter: @csneal

Sketchbooks:

Studio:

Work:

Video:

1. Tell us about yourself / Bio?
Chris Silas Neal is an artist and illustrator, born in Texas and raised in Florida and Colorado. His work has been published by a variety of magazines, book publishers and television, and has been recognized by the AIGA, SPD and Type Directors Club among others. His first book, Over and Under the Snow, with Kate Messner is a 2011 New York Times’s Editor’s Choice, was selected to the Notable Book List and won an E.B. White Honor Award in 2012. He exhibits drawings at various galleries and speaks at events across the country. He currently works and lives in Brooklyn and teaches Illustration at Pratt Institute.

2. How did you get started as an illustrator?
I found illustration in a roundabout way. It started with a Graphic Design elective in the School of Mass Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder. I started undergrad as a music major (drums) but switched to advertising half way through. The last semester of my senior year I took the one and only design class offered at the school. The teacher and I hit it off and by semester’s end, I was offered a job at his small design studio. It was just the two of us. I worked at his shop for nearly four years learning about type, composition and idea making. Though I wasn’t making illustrations, working as a designer really provided the foundation for my art career. Eventually, I moved to New York working as a designer and making drawings at night after work just for fun. Through a mutual friend I met Rachel Salomon and seeing her work successfully as an illustrator changed everything. I left my job and starting making an illustration portfolio. I haven’t looked back since.

3. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
I’ve always used flat shapes, color, decorative elements, texture and conceptually tried to elicit an emotional response- a smile or something sad that tugs at the heart. My work for the most part has been simple and quiet. But, the drawing and technique has shifted over the years while experimenting with media, surface quality and visual tricks. It’s sort of like fashion. At its core, my work is anchored to something individual, personal and immoveable but in order to be in the moment and reflect culture, the surface has to change each season.

I can’t say exactly why my work looks the way it does other than I am bound by my limitations. I enjoy having to navigate around my quirks and peculiarities in order to arrive at a picture.

4. Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums, etc?

Read.
Sketch.
Scan.
Email.
Draw, Paint, Scan, Photoshop.
Repeat.
Save.
Email.

5. How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process?
Ideas mainly come from drawing. Sometimes, I’ll arrive at an idea while going for a walk, surfing the web or just thinking- starring off into space but mainly, the act of drawing is what generates the most ideas. I most enjoy when a concept is intrinsically fused to the medium or drawing technique- the idea simply couldn’t exist if the artist didn’t draw with scribbles or use acrylic paint. Those are the best ideas and often feel the most personal.

6. Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then?
All the time and no matter how long I work at this business, I’ll read a manuscript and think, “I have know idea what I’m going to do” But I suppose thats a good problem to have. I simply freak out and have a miniature panic attack until I figure something out.

7. Best / most fun part of your job:
Two things I enjoy most are creating something personal and making my own schedule. I pretty much get to do those two things everyday.

8. Worst / most difficult part of your job:
It’s really hard to plan in this business. It seems like everytime I go on vacation I’m offered the coolest job ever and have to turn it down.

9. Do you have side projects you work on?
I just bought an apartment and working in our garden keeps me busy.

10. What’s on your horizon? Any current/future projects and plans/dreams you¬†can share with us?
I just published a picture on Chronicle Books with author Kate Messner. We are working on a follow up. I’m also pitching my own ideas and hope to have something published soon.

* * * * *

5 things inspiring you/your work right now:
swimming, travel, colored pencils, stand-up comedy, walking

3 constants in your day:
cat poop, drawing, food.

Your #1 art tip or words of wisdom:
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” – Bill Cosby

* * * * *

Thanks, Christopher!!

Posted by Thomas James on 08/14/12 under Interviews
18 Comments

10 Questions with Karen Barbour

Name: Karen Barbour
Website: karenbarbour.com
Location: Inverness, California
Primary Medium: gouache, ink and pencil

Sketchbooks:

Studio:

Artwork:

1. Tell us about yourself / Bio?

I got my MFA in film from the San Francisco art Institute and have shown at Jack Hanley and Anthony Meier Fine Arts and at The Shiseido Gallery in Tokyo etc. I’ve done illustrations for The New York Times, Ralph Lauren Polo, Mitsukoshi department stores, etc.

 

2. How did you get started as an illustrator?

I had a show in San Francisco and an older artist came and told me that I should be an illustrator. He gave me a list of names at magazines in New York and I took my portfolio to every one. It was actually a bunch of slides and not very well organized. New York Magazine gave me a job to illustrate five nightclubs and then I was working a lot after the pictures came out.

 

3. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?

I just stayed in my apartment and didn’t do anything but make these figurative pictures all day every day. I was trying to paint the figure in a graphic way and I outlined the people in pencil and then filled in the space with gouache and ink. I didn’t know what I was doing but somehow they all were similar. After awhile I had a bunch of work that was really consistent and held together — but it happened by chance. When I started to get a lot of work I was constantly rushing and doing every project that came my way and I think the stuff I was doing was not very good and I was always just trying to make money. After several years I started turning down work and then I pretty much stopped altogether. I was just drawing the people around me and stuff that I was thinking about and making paintings of dreams etc. and I didn’t like the old work anymore. So my work now is different.

 

4. Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums, etc?

I mostly use gouache and ink and pencil but I also work in oil and acrylic and collage. I do a lot of different paintings at the same time and it’s always sort of evolving and changing. If I’m reading about something or want to remember something or if I get something in my head— I try to put it in my notebooks or sketchbooks—-somewhere so I don’t lose it. I keep trying to figure out where a picture is going and I don’t know how it will turn out. I go over different parts and then sometimes I try something out and it’s almost a surprise.

 

5. How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process?

I have a lot of ideas that I’m working on and many times when I do an illustration I like to work with those same ideas and sometimes it feels like it adds another dimension because of the old layers underneath. When I get a job I like to look through different paintings that I have piled everywhere and I try several different directions and then see what the art director might be interested in.

 

6. Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then?

I just keep drawing and working—–I  mostly feel like it’s all an experiment and it’s not that I feel great about everything I’m doing—I just feel like it’s all a work in progress and unfinished and so I can keep changing and adding and erasing. When I go to my studio I just start looking at stuff or painting on something and then one thing leads to the next.

 

7. Best / most fun part of your job:

I’m really interested in it.

 

8. Worst / most difficult part of your job:

It’s difficult sometimes to come up with solutions on tight deadlines. Self promotion is challenging and awkward.

 

9. Do you have side projects you work on?

I’ve been working on an illustrated YA novel.

 

10. What’s on your horizon? Any current/future projects and plans/dreams you can share with us?

I recently illustrated a poetry collection for children and I’m working on a picture book for Scholastic. Also doing some paintings for a group show in the fall.

 

* * * * *

 5 things inspiring you/your work right now:

1. Memories

2. history

3. Old books and magazines

4. My kids

5. Drawing

 

3 constants in your day:

1. Drawing

2. Reading

3. Music

 

Your #1 art tip or words of wisdom:

Try not to worry too much.

 

* * * * *

Thank you, Karen!!

Posted by Thomas James on 08/08/12 under Interviews
9 Comments

EFII Podcast Episode 64 – Keith Gentile of Agency Access

 

 

Episode 64 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast features an audio interview with Keith Gentile of Agency Access. Together we discuss his many years of experience in helping creative professionals to create effective promotional campaigns. I also announce the upcoming launch of our new blog, Illustration Age.

Here are links to some of the things mentioned on the show:

Posted by Thomas James on 12/28/11 under Interviews
No Comments

EFII Podcast Episode 80 – Gerard Dubois

 

 

Episode 80 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast features an audio interview with Illustrator Gerard Dubois. Together we discuss his distinct approach to his art, as well as his conceptual and technical process.

Here are links to some of the things mentioned on the show:

Posted by Thomas James on 10/20/11 under artists,Interviews
123 Comments

EFII Podcast Episode 78 – Scott Bakal

 

 

Episode 78 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast features an audio interview with Illustrator Scott Bakal. Together we discuss his work as an artist and educator, his thoughts on promotion, and the creative voice of an Illustrator.

Here are links to some of the things mentioned on the show:

Posted by Thomas James on 05/24/11 under Interviews
No Comments

EFII Podcast Episode 77 – Jolby

 

 

Episode 77 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast features an audio interview with Jolby, an Illustration/Design duo consisting of Josh Kenyon and Colby Nichols. Together we discuss their experiences with working as a collaborative unit and executing self-initiated concepts.

Here are links to some of the things mentioned on the show:

Posted by Thomas James on 04/20/11 under Interviews
No Comments

EFII Podcast Episode 76 – Greatest Hits Vol. 1

 

For episode 76 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast, we celebrate 75 episodes by digging through the archives to compile some of the most popular moments in the history of the show. Greatest Hits Vol. 1 brings you such memorable guests as Drew Struzan, Christoph Niemann, Scott Hull, and Gary Taxali, just to name a few. Enjoy this stroll down memory lane!

Posted by Thomas James on 04/05/11 under Interviews
117 Comments

EFII Podcast Episode 75 – John Cuneo

 

Episode 75 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast features an audio interview with Illustrator John Cuneo. Together we discuss his distinct work and the lessons he’s learned from many years of experience as a creative professional.

Here are links to some of the things mentioned on the show:

Posted by Thomas James on 03/23/11 under Interviews
2 Comments

Podcast Episode 74 – Illustration Intermission

 

 

Episode 74 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast features a departure from the norm when J makes a mysterious discovery on the island.

Posted by Thomas James on 03/08/11 under Interviews
3 Comments

EFII Podcast Episode 72 – Charles Hively of 3X3

 

Episode 72 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast features an audio interview with Charles Hively, Creative Director of 3X3 and Creative Quarterly. Together we discuss his thoughts on promotion, competitions, and the virtues of running an effective creative business.

Here are links to some of the things mentioned on the show:

Posted by Thomas James on 02/22/11 under Interviews
No Comments

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