Interview :: Sam Wolfe Connelly

sam wolfe connellySam Wolfe Connelly’s star is rising. Just a few short years out of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Sam has done everything from Magic cards, to gallery shows. He boasts both illustration and gallery representation in NYC, one of the toughest markets around for this kind of work.

Sam was kind enough to take a little time to answer our interview questions this week. Enjoy his answers, and some of his work below.

Make sure to check out his gallery work at Acadia Contemporary, and his website.


  1. Hi! Thanks for joining us on Illustration Friday, where we sketch to new words/topics every week. We like to draw on Fridays. What do you do to keep up your chops when not working on client work?
    I dont really keep a sketchbook, but I’m always working on something. Between jobs I tend to use my time towards gallery paintings and finishing other side projects.
  2. Why did you become an illustrator? Why art, why not fine art, why not a designer?
    I mainly chose illustration because it seemed like a somewhat steady way to still draw what I wanted and at the same time, have a constant income of clients that could help me pay the bills after school. Lately I’ve been seeing my work move more into a gallery setting, which is where I’ve always wanted to end up, and it seems like the natural progression for my stuff to take since I like working more with personal themes.
  3. How did you find your first client, or how did they find you?
    My first client was with Playboy, who ended up contacting me after I had sent them a pamphlet with a number of my colored prints and a few hand drawn details on it. It came as a total shock and I remember feeling so nervous to work with such a big publisher at the time. The more jobs I got though, the more comfortable I’ve been around art directors and it really reflects in the work I think.
  4. What were the biggest mistakes you made early in your career? What did you learn?
    My biggest mistake was probably to try and formulate my style to what I saw was succeeding around me. Towards the end of school I felt really out of touch with my work because I had spent too much effort towards wanting to be an artist clients would want instead of drawing for me. As soon as I started drawing things the way I wanted them I began to really see my own ‘style’ begin to flourish.
  5. What advice would you give to up-and-coming illustrators who want to break in?
    Dont take failure to heart. Everyone gets rejection along the way, but you’ve gotta keep going.


Thanks Sam!


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Thomas James

Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at
Thomas James

Posted by Thomas James on 03/31/14 under Interviews
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