When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?When I was attending art school I had really a strong inclination to work in a field where I could make a living. I love narrative artwork so it was a natural transition for me to explore illustrations. I have worked in a lot of different forms of it over the years, but most of my recognition came from children's books and graphic novels.How did you come to illustrate children's books?I have always had an interest in children's books and when I was attending college I actually created two as part of my classwork. I have always admired narrative story telling and children's books lend themselves to that end.What has been your favourite project so far?My favorite projects have been The Hobbit, The Wizard's Tale, Kingdom of the Dwarfs, and The King of Little ThingsWhat medium do you use?I usually create my final illustrations in pencil and watercolor, or acrylic ink.What is your favourite thing to draw?I really enjoy creating fantastic creatures and fantasy creatures. I also love to sketch historical subjects. I started my career doing cartoonish characters and sometimes I like to revisit those subjects.What is the hardest thing for you to draw?Cars and trucks.Who is your favourite artist, and why?I really do not have one favorite artist. I admire many and I am like a lot of my fellow illustrators in my admiration for, Howard Pyle, NC Wyeth, Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham. If you check on their work you'll see that they all share the ability to immerse the viewer in their paintings.How do you make a living as an artist?It depends on what kind of artist you are. There are many many men and women making a living as illustrators, concept artists, children's book artists, and storyboard artists, to name a few. Some surge to the top of the professional ladder and never have to worry about money because they are always in demand and art directors love them. For many there is an ebb and flow and cobbling together a steady work load has some ups and downs. For those of us who make living at it there are certainly more ups. The key to being a successful illustrator is that you must have a look, style, or creative ideas that other people want to invest in. You have to study the markets and understand what art directors would find unique and wonderful about your artwork that would distinguish you from the hundreds of others who want to be illustrators themselves.What advice do you have for someone wanting to enter this field?Look at illustration. Look at past illustrators and today's illustrators. Try to see why an artist was successful. Was it due to their technical proficiency or was it their ideas or a combination of both. Work to create a portfolio that says something about you and try to really be unique without being trite. Practice, develop a good skill set and then promote and network.What, if any, artist's quirks do you have?I figure a persons quirks are best observed by someone else as most of us think our quirks are normal.
Sunday, 15 September 2013
Illustrator Interview: David Wenzel
David Wenzel, well-known for illustrating the graphic novel of The Hobbit, was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.