Friday, December 10, 2010

JAW Cooper

Marie Provence had a nice interview with JAW Cooper for the Illustration 5 essay/presentation...If you haven't seen her work before, check it out!

On to the interview:

How do you feel that your personal history influences your work? Do you draw any inspiration from your travels, pets, music, etc

I might never have taken up drawing at all if it had not been for all the traveling that I did growing up. Jumping from country to country made it necessary to travel light and drawing is the perfect "on the go" activity. My mother is a biologist and illustrator and my father is a biologist and college professor so I'd say that they sparked my interest in both art and nature. I draw inspiration from a number of sources, the most significant of which are probably curio cabinets, fashion photography, and nipples. Who doesn't like nipples? Music is an important part of my process and I often create play-lists for specific projects to get me in the appropriate mood.

I love your beautiful sculptures, and I was particularly admiring the skill at which you were able to find a balance between realistic and fabricated qualities in your “Buddy” piece. I was wondering if you have ever studied taxidermy or surface design? How did you initially become interested in exploring three-dimensional art?

I've never studied taxidermy or surface design but I've always had a morbid fascination for it. I love to draw monsters and freaks and realizing one of my two dimensional designs in three dimensional reality was an extremely rewarding experience. I owe it all to an amazing class I had in college with the very talented Daniel Lim called “Experimental Illustration.” Daniel encouraged me to think big, literally and figuratively, and I ended up fabricating the first of my life-sized mutant bear rugs out of foam, faux fur, fabric, and taxidermy supplies which I named “Randal.” I sold Randal in a gallery show at La Luz de Jesus and made a second rug named “Buddy” which currently resides in my apartment... under my giant dog. I hope to make many more in the future!

Currently, who are the artists that you look to most for inspiration and what is it about these artists that you love? (Artists can be anyone, not just limited to illustrators)

Speaking generally I’d say that I have been influenced by the Japanese woodblock prints of Hokusai and Hiroshige, the oil paintings of Sargent and Leyendecker, and the zoological zeal of Haeckel and Audubon.

As an unknown, trying to establish a voice or direction for my art is a bit of a struggle. How did you come about your unique point of view in illustration? Did you stumble upon it, or was it something that came naturally to you from the beginning?

This is a difficult question that I seem to get a lot. Difficult, because it was never something I struggled with and I think that is because I was an avid keeper of sketchbooks. My junior and senior year of high school I completed one giant sketchbook a semester to accelerate my growth as an artist and to document my evolving interests and processes. My proficiency with drawing lept forward and in the process I naturally cultivated interests in the things that continue to influence my work today. The best advise I can give any artist struggling to find their voice is to keep a sketchbook and pack it full of sketches, lists, ideas, and images that inspire, and to write about it all in the margins so that you can trace your thought processes back in the future. You will naturally start to establish patterns and processes specific to your interests and way of working.

Can you share some of your promotional materials or techniques that you find work well when trying to reach a larger audience? Are you able to disclose some of your process in developing self-promotion ideas without giving away any secrets?

I promote primarily through my blog, though I do also have a facebook account, send out emails and mail promo cards. I’m working on a new set of promo cards right now, actually. In general I think it is important to have a strong web presence and to go out of your way to make connections with others in your field.

If you had one suggestion for an illustrator about to graduate from college, what would it be?

Look at as much illustration as possible, promote like crazy, make solid connections, and have fun creating work! After all, what’s the point of becoming an artist if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing?

Bonus fun question: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take three things with you, what would they be?

A sketchbook, some pencils, and a cow... I love milk.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sequential Narrative Images Needed!

Lauren Rae is updating the galleries on the MCA site and needs some Sequential Narrative examples! If you could send her a few pages from your comics, that'd be fabulous! Send them to

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Caitlin Hackett Interview

“I almost became an Illustration major, but one of the professors really didn’t like my work. A lot of the older professors have this strange idea that there’s a really big delination between drawing and’s a break up I’ve never understood.” - Caitlin Hackett

Here's my phone interview with the artist, Caitlin Hackett If anyone else wants to share their Illustrator interviews, e-mail them to!

Do you do your Illustrations for a living?
“No, I actually work full time on top of my studio career. I don’t get enough time to work on my art as much as I’d like, it’s actually pretty crazy. I waitress full time…I also work for a video game company doing creature design so I work 80 hour weeks.”

How did you get the job at the video game company?
“I found it right as I was graduating Pratt..I saw an ad on craigslist. I never really thought of doing design because I was a fine arts major. I’ve been working there for a year and a half.”

How long have you been out of college doing this?
“I graduated Pratt in May 2009…like a year and a half now?”

How did you get yourself out there as an artist?
“A lot of it was luck with my senior show…a lot of people came who were friends of professors that were curators. It’s kind of a small world, especially in New York…a lot of the curators knew each other.”

Is there any story behind what got you started drawing the monsters you draw?
“A lot of my inspiration comes from endangered species…when I was growing up I planned being a wildlife biologist and I ended up being an artist. A lot of my concerns are based on environmental problems. It’ll kind of come just randomly…I’ll read an article about a certain animal and I’ll be like ‘I like that’. It may have started as a certain species but the drawings take a long time and they change. It’s definitely a long process…when I start it’s about a specific species, but you know how it goes…a piece when you work on it long enough…it definitely changes over time.”

Is there any other process you’re fond of besides large ballpoint pen drawings?
“I definitely pretty much use only ballpoint pen and wateroclor, I would like to get into oil paint …I’ve been interested in trying other methods with the paint.”

I read in your interview in Hi-Fructose that negative opinions from a teacher got you started on your large illustrations. Were there any other hi lighting experiences from your college career?
“Yeah, I had a couple really fantastic professors…an oil painter Chris Wright, I was in one of his classes before I switched from painting to drawing major. I never really preferred painting…as you can see from my art I love line. When he saw my personal sketchbook, he said ‘If that’s what you like what to do, that’s what you should really do’ and I think that’s one of the other turning points I really had. If I want to draw the things that I’ve always thought of, then why not?”

What are you up to right now?
“Well my apartment is my studio, I’m working on a bunch of small works for a show next month. It’s a group show, and all of them are under 11x12, which is hard for me because I like to go outside the bounds of the page. Endangered backyard birds that ended up as creepy mutations…they’ll all be up on my site soon. I’ve got to finish them today.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Drawn Is Back Online!

Well, almost...but the blog and old archives are up, and there are apparently surprises awaiting everyone in the near future for the main site!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sinbad 2010!

I'm still waiting for Sinbad photos from October 21. Please send them to me at and I'll get them posted in a flickr set right away. While we wait I've taken the liberty to link to the Sinbad photos from 2009.

2010 24 Comics Challenge photos!!

I'm never awesome at remembering to snap photos, but this year I managed to grab a few toward the end of the night. You can head over to my flickr page to see the set. If there be no objections I'll string together some of the video I shot and post it over the weekend. You've been warned!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Panel Grids and Page Composition

An interesting post by Frank Santoro on panel grids in comics: Giving Up the Center.

I'm not sure I quite feel his urgency for claiming "the center," but I look forward to seeing where he goes with this in the following posts.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Harry Potter Sequential Art by Lucy Knisley

In lieu of the new Harry Potter movie coming out/the HP craze in general, super awesome illustrator/puppeteer/comic artist Lucy Knisley has done a series of sequential images from each book and has posted previews on her blog.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

UP! Fair

Just heard about UP! Fair, which is an event focusing on independently published writers and artists happening Nov. 19-20. It looks like it could be fun and informative, especially for you comics kids. So if you happen to feel like spending a weekend in Kentucky, check it out!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

24 Hour Comic Day Results

Curt Franklin and Chris Haley of Let's Be Friends Again judged MCA's 24 Hour Comic Day today, and here are the results:

Matt Ryan won Best Overall Comic.

Whitney Hubbard (MCA Alumni) won Best Story.

Kayla Cline won Best Visual Storytelling.

Thanks again to Shane McDermott for making it possible and making sure everyone won a little something with the post-comic raffle.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Jen Wang Interview on...MTV?

I recently discovered Jen Wang, and I'm kinda in love with her art. I found out she did an interview for, of all things, MTV! Here it is, and the currently secret comics-based website MTV is concocting is located here. Apparently the director of True Life is now interviewing comic book artists in their studios? Kinda awesome.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thrasher's Journey

Pal and former student, James Callahan, has a process piece up at Thrasher Magazine. Nothing new, informationwise, for grizzled illustration veterans such as ourselves, but it's lovely to see the various stages of James' work.

Thrasher's The Journey Drafts

James Callahan

Ming Doyle

I love Ming Doyle. Hopefully you do too! There's a rad interview with her here discussing her process, comics, and culture. Check it out!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

24 Hour Comic Day

What is the 24 Hour Comic Challenge?
24 Hour Comic Day is a challenge to complete a 24 page comic in 24 hours.

24 Hour Comic Day will begin October 2nd, with registration in DA3 from 10am-12pm. It officially starts at 12pm, and students are allowed to work at the school until midnight that night, at which point they should plan to gather in groups elsewhere. Everyone is to reconvene at 12pm the next day, October 3rd, to display what you have finished and receive prizes for your hard work!

Also, free pizza and donuts for those who register and participate.

Judging begins at 12:30pm October 3rd and prizes are awarded at 2:30pm.

Contact Shane McDermott with any burning questions (

After you finish your comic, you can also submit it to the OFFICIAL 24 Hour Comics website! Official rules and details are located here

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lois van Baarle

Alex and I have been discussing our mutual love of Illustrator/Animator Lois van Baarle lately. She's a Dutch animator who specializes in really, really cute drawings of Disney-esque ladies and has mind-blowing digital painting skills.

One thing you learn from looking at her art, however, is that no matter how skilled you can be technique-wise, if you don't work out your anatomy or the basics of your image, it can still fall apart slightly in the final. (A few of her images lack the attention in her hands than are shown in her faces, and tend to distract from the images as a whole.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moebius Strip

Well, this is neat.

See more wonderful things at Jim Woodring's blog.

Linzie Hunter

First off, hey cool I'm Illustraton Rep! Second off, I wanted to show off this cool Illustrator I found. I might possibly do "Illustrator of the Week"(s) digitally. Or more than once a week, because I constantly find cool people that everyone should see. Lately, I've been really interested in limited linework in Illustration, and just that "cut paper" feel accomplished digitally, which Linzie Hunter does perfectly.

Also, relevant (sort of) to comics students, she does her own lettering. Extremely well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recruiter from Taylor Studios

An exhibits company out of IL, Taylor Studios is coming to MCA this Wednesday at 3:45 to receive resumes and to review portfolios of sculptors and designers who would like to get into the exhibit design industry. We will be meeting in the sculpture studios. If you would like to apply, please RSVP -

summer internships also available

Exhibit Artist / Fabricator
Taylor Studios Inc. is accepting resumes for an Exhibit Artist/Fabricator with broad fabrication skills such as painting, model making, sculpting, carpentry, mold making, casting, metalsmithing; knowledge of production methods and reading design and construction drawings; some experience in three-dimensional production field. This is an entry level position, degree not required, hands-on experience preferred. Portfolio required. Please send application, portfolio, and/or cover letter and resume to the address below (no email submissions), no phone calls please. Taylor Studios is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Graphic Designer
Taylor Studios Inc. is accepting resumes for a full-time Graphic Designer. Duties include production of exhibit graphics, including graphic and text panels, labels, photo murals, banners, posters, environmental graphics, and directional signs. Projects may also include design for electronic media, including web-based and interactive programs. Knowledge of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign is a must. Knowledge of other design software is recommended. Candidate must be detail oriented and able to work quickly and meet deadlines. Bachelor's or Associates degree in Graphic Design or a related field is preferred. For consideration, send cover letter, resume and portfolio samples to the address below (no email submissions), no phone calls please. Please download an application (link at the bottom of the page) and submit with your resume. Taylor Studios is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Museum Exhibit Designer
Taylor Studios Inc. is seeking resumes for a skilled Exhibit Designer with background in museum exhibit design and/or theatre design. Candidates should have experience in drafting and 3-D design. Duties include: leading project design teams, creating exhibit floor plans, museum exhibit designs, lighting design, budgeting design elements, presenting designs to clients, and collaborating with clients, other industry professionals, and A/V firms. Knowledge of 3-D software, Illustrator, and Photoshop is required. Knowledge of CAD, Sketch Up, and other design software is recommended. Some travel required in making client presentations. Candidate should have good presentation skills, and strong exhibit design skills. Some knowledge of graphic design & production is a plus but not required. Candidate must be detail oriented and able to work quickly. Bachelor’s degree in Design is required. No tradeshow design resumes please.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

50 Great Illustration Blogs has compiled a handy list of great things to look at:

50 Great Illustration Blogs

Monday, August 30, 2010

Some lovely illustrations using photography

I was updating links when I popped in over at the Society of News Design and found a couple of gems I thought I'd share. Both links can be found over at SND if you click the Illustration link on the left. The first post is about various newspapers (mostly the Washington Post) and their illustrative coverage of the Oscars. Scroll through the etire post because there is some gorgeous stuff there, most of which is done by Sean McCabe. The second post offers some smart example of using iStock photos and not losing your soul or your self respect. The commenters debate the validity of using iStock photos and even the very talented photographer/illustrator Andrea Levy chimes in. GO CHECK IT OUT!
And while you're at it check out the illustrations in the GOLD post as well. Haunting and lovely.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cartoon Scholarship!!!!

Hey Kids, there's a neat post over at Drawn! about the Jay Kennedy Scholarship in which you could be awarded $5000 just for being a student and drawing comics. Head over to or click here for the link to all the information you need to apply. Don't dawdle! The deadline is December 15 and it will be here before you know it...and by before you know it I mean 111 days from now. I'm no rocket scientist, but I think that's only like a couple of weeks or something.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Superhero Cocoa

Geez, why would anyone want to be anything but an Illustration student? Check out the nerd-fun your peers have been up to this summer at The Superhero Costume Coalition.

Kayla Kline
Derrick Dent
Marie Provence

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Free not Cheap?

An Interesting Thought from Paul Scriven on freelance pricing.

I'm happy to do free work for projects I'm interested in or people I like a lot, but over the years, I've settled on a single hard-and-fast rule for doing free work: No revisions whatsoever. I'll do my best, and there's no hard feelings if it's not what you're looking for, but that's it.

This is especially important to make clear when working with friends. Seriously.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spotlight on Shane

Admit it, we all need to know more about Shane McDermott.

This little interview is rife with revelations.

Really, Shane?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Feeling Ambitious?

L├╝rzer's Archive is accepting submissions to their annual 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide 2011/12.

Selections are made by an international jury, although they also give prices for pages. I'm not sure what that's about. Do you think they make you pay for the privilege of being selected? I dunno. But I thought I'd bring it to your attention.


Monday, June 7, 2010

CCS Summer Studio

Summer plans a bust? Check this out:
Now in its second year is Cartooning Studio, an intensive designed for adult students who want to workshop independent comic projects. Cartooning Studio students may also attend the Extended Studio Option, and add 3 days of workshopping to their CCS experience.

Faculty include:
Cartooning Studio - Steve Bissette, Jon Chad, Robyn Chapman, Alec Longstreth and Jason Lutes
Extended Studio Option - Jon Chad, Robyn Chapman and Alec Longstreth
The Center for Cartoon Studies.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Heads up: if you've left anything behind in DA3, clear it out immediately! The dumpster is coming.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Conference for Illustration Students!

Yes, Really! Cahrles Hively, publisher of 3x3 Magazine (who is sponsoring the conference), says:

One of the reasons I want to do this conference is that I don’t believe young illustrators get off on the right foot. No school has time to adequately prepare a student illustrator—or designer or fine artist for that matter—for the real world and as a result the illustration industry remains static. Fees haven’t changed in forty years. Illustration has lost much of the respect it once had among art directors, editors and advertisers. But I feel that can change if we provide young illustrators with a better set of tools and that’s why this conference is so important.

What I’ve discovered is that successful illustrators are all very astute business people as well as being talented illustrators. At our conference you’ll benefit from their trial and errors to help you avoid some of the pitfalls of starting your career as an illustrator. That’s good for your career. And ultimately that’s good for the industry.

So, register, already!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


3x3, the Illustration Magazine, is giving away their back catalog of issues! I picked up ever issue offered, for just the $20 postage. What a deal!

If you haven't seen 3x3, the library has a subscription. It's a lovely magazine, and a great way to check out what's happening in the world of illustration.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Draw the Haggis-Beast!

In case anyone, in the hectic last days of a waning semester, should happen to have a spare moment and need something to draw, this might be fun.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Covering Ender's Game

Irene Gallo has, over on, posted about the considerations that went into producing a cover for the new eBook edition of Ender's Game. It's worth a read to gain insight into an art director's thought process.

Ender’s Game ebook cover by Sam Weber

Sam Weber's website

Bill Griffith's Top 40

Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy the Pinhead, has posted some fun and useful advice for cartoonists.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rad How-To

Rad Sechrist, a storyboard artist with Dreamworks, has a really great blog where he posts these amazingly helpful little tutorial sheets. F'rinstance:

Making a pose better.


A simple cartoon pelvis.

The indispensable Shape design never goes away.

And here's a great primer on his approach from The Art Center blog: What is drawing?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Painting Procedural

Here's a dusty ol' series of posts detailing my approach to paint. I thought the Illustration 2 students might find this useful as they head into the home stretch with the Invisible City pieces.

This example is using watercolor and gouache, but there's not a thing in it you can't do with acrylic. Except re-wet your paint.

Card carrying card makers

Hey all you Illustration 4 kids! Want to know more about making playing cards? Check out the links below for some neat-o information on rounded corners and actual playing card cardboard.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Scanning and Coloring

As promised in Illustrated Story 1, here's the tutorial on scanning and coloring line art I posted a few years ago.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

There are probably better ways to do every single step of this tutorial, but this is quick and works for me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Movie Night

I think we have the subject for our next Illustration Movie Night (no, it's not Kick-Ass).

August 13!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cul de Sac, mapped

Some more Invisible Cities inspiration of a more whimsical sort from the always enjoyable blog of Richard Thompson.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Kong Wee Pang

Designer/Illustrator/Artists/MCA Alumna Kong Wee Pang is featured in this inspiring video from ArtsMemphisTV.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Brode Gallery Illustration Show Stuff

If you submitted something to the Illustration show in the Brode Gallery last month, it's in the bottom drawer of the flatfile in the Illustration room.

THANK YOU to those who submitted! No one from the other departments submitted anything, so it ended up being an Illustration Dept. show instead of Illustration/Computer Arts/Design Depts. show.


Bothering to scroll down a bit from the post just linked to, BLDGBLOG has revealed itself to be a great source of inspiration/blatant theft for the Invisible Cities project.


Paris, without Parisians.

Whatever this is.

Buildings on super-stilts!

Holy Wow! I could do this all day!