In the past I’ve always described my illustration style as loose and playful. I’m not sure that’s the case anymore. My illustration is definitely playful and lighthearted and usually not based in any sort of realism. I’m not sure I can describe it as loose anymore, over the years I’ve become a bit obsessed with line-quality and the graphic nature of my images. Who knows if that will last, but right now I’m obsessing over every line. Aside from that, my work typically features some lettering, and sometimes it’s exclusively lettering. My aesthetic is rooted in classic cartoons and animation, 50-60’s graphic design, and some street art.
Negative feedback is only negative if you don’t learn from it. In the past few years I’ve been incorporating some portraits into my editorial style work. In the beginning I struggled quite a bit with likeness and when I reached out for help and opinions there were times when I was told point blank that the likeness wasn’t there. In situations like this it’s sometimes hard to judge the illustration by yourself because you’ve been staring at it for too long.
I think it’s really important to be passionate about the work you’re doing—or better yet—want to be doing. If you’re just starting out and client work is a hopeful thought, it’s important to create work for yourself. If you don’t get your work out into the world no one is going to know you’re making. Even the most amazing illustrator isn’t going to get work if no one knows it exists. In terms of boosting productivity in this regard, come up with a project you really want to do. If you are excited about it, it’s going to be hard not to work on it. Make stuff that is relevant to you as opposed to stuff you THINK a client might hire you to do—chances are you’re wrong, I’m speaking from experience.
I think it would be fun to work on a picture book for children. I’m hoping I’ll get there at some point when I can clear some other things off of the to-do list.
I’m always juggling a few personal projects—they’ve been crucial in my career as an independent illustrator. I don’t really do any marketing or advertising so my personal projects fill that void. I’ve been posting a daily drawing on my website since 2007, so that is my main personal project. I just finished my second collection of daily drawings in book form, “Another 1000 Days of Drawing,” which features my dailies 1001–2000. In addition, I’ve recently completed a couple coloring books, and I’ve also been making silkscreen prints.