Sunday, December 7, 2014

Interview with an Artist (me!) by Andrea Mull




I was recently contacted by a student, Andrea Mull, who needed to interview an artist for a paper for her Graphic Illustration class.  I was flattered that Andrea chose to interview me and grateful for the opportunity. Composing the answers led me to think more deeply about how and why I work the way I do.

Dear Ms. Bateman,

This letter is to request your assistance for a school paper that I am writing for my Graphic Illustration class that I am attending with the Art Institute Online of Pittsburgh.  We are to contact an artist that we admire and ask them questions about their work.  

I found your profile on Graphic Artists Guild and loved your illustrations.  I am fascinated by the way you use line and color to created such soft and beautiful pieces like Little Pink Dress with Cones.  I also enjoyed your sheep oil pastel work.

You will find an attachment of a few questions about your work and style.  I hope that you will be able to spare a few moments of your time to answer and share your creative process with me.

I thank you for your time.


1) How did you get started as an illustrator?

My background is in fine arts. I have a BFA from the University of Southern California and a MFA from the University of Washington. I majored in printmaking and have always had an interest in picture books.



2) How did you find your style?  How has it changed since you started? 


I think style, to a certain extent, is innate. I admire many artists and illustrators and I study their work to see how they accomplish certain effects. Ultimately, my work always looks like me.

When I started my work was darker, moodier and the artists I liked reflected that: Bosch, Kollewitz, Goya. Now my work is lighter in palette, line and subject matter and I love picture book illustrators like Mini Grey, Emily Gravett, and Shirley Hughes. Not to say I’ve left the dark behind, maybe the work is more balanced.



3) Can you explain your creative process?


I first sketch from life or photographs to get the forms I want. Then I make several thumbnails to play with the composition. I usually have some colors in mind but that can change over the course of the painting. 

 I work slowly and used to work hours at a time on a painting. This often left me tired and hating the process. Now, I work faster and don’t spend so many hours each day. That way I am eager to get back to it the next day.

4) Do you ever have creative slumps?  What do you do to overcome them?


I have had long periods of not working where it just seems impossible. I’ll trick myself by saying “I am just going to clean up my desk and palette” or “I’ll only work for ten minutes”. This gets me over the inertia. When I look up, it's several hours later.
Looking at art is also helpful. I’ll see a painting that excites me and it makes me want to paint something that I hope will engender that same emotion in someone else.



5) What is the best/worst part of your job?


Best part: I love color and paint and playing. Art supplies stores are toy stores to me. I am my own boss and can create whatever world I want. Making art puts me outside of time. It is passing, but I am not aware of it.

Worst: When the work is not going well and I stop for the day thinking, "I hate this, I can't paint." And each painting is starting all over again. I look at a finished piece and wonder how I ever did it.

I am my own boss. I have to organize and motivate myself.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I'm a Winner! 30 Ideas in 30 Days for PiBoIdMo 2014



Thirty ideas, some with sketches, all safely tucked in my little drawing book. I wrote down an idea almost every day, only having to double up a couple of times. Now I have to find last year's book, take one of these ideas and actually write a picture book.




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

PiBoIdMo 2014 Let the Ideas Begin

Yes, it's PiBoIdMo time and I am participating again. I have no idea what happened to the idea book from last year. I never looked at it after the month was over. But thanks to this blog I will at least know what it looks like, whenever it turns up.

This year I bought several things just for PiBoIdMo:

  • 4" x 6"  Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketch Book
  • Small Mead pouch
  • Pilot Precise V7 pen





I glued blank paper over the sketchbook and drew on it. I'll finish coloring it in as I go along.  The paper takes dry and wet media.



I like these pens. Nice, dark lines and the ink flows well.





Front of pouch for holding pens and pencils




Back of pouch with zippered pocket. It has two elastic loops that I manoeuvered over the wire binding so they stay together.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Illustration Friday-Puppet





A very busy summer involving lots of cleaning and washing, a trip to Pittsburg, trip to Los Angeles. Much art viewing but little art making.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Illustration Friday-Skull

Skull


Illustration Friday seems like the perfect reason to play with the Wacom tablet again.