All your work is so beautiful ! May I ask how you create your work.....digitally or traditionally because, it is all stunning ?!
Digital and traditional. Every time it’s a bit different because I am restless! I’m trying to push the ratio to be more traditional and not rely on digital brushes or feel like coloring every single traditional mark digitally.
Hi is there a name for the art style you use?
I have never named it! I would love people to throw some names out for fun though.
Any dream and/or personal projects you'd be willing to talk about? And since it's now come to mind as I type this, do you prefer talking about details of in-progress work, or do you think that "ruins" or diminishes the eventual reveal of said work?
I like talking details if I can! I admire people who can sit on a big project and never share til it’s ready, but I always like sharing process because it keeps me from quitting on it.
As for projects: Yes definitely. The problem is I come up with a lot of ideas but don’t always follow through or feel like I’m not ready yet. But I’m encouraged to dive back in.
- Working on an animation project of some kind. That could be a feature, it could be a TV show or it could be just collaborating on a small scale on a short.
- Getting to collaborate on more housewares like ceramics, bedding, or glassware, or on products like stationery and books.
- Illustrating something for Criterion.
- Creating a book of my own with Nobrow.
Personal projects are more self-driven:
- It’s my goal to start producing more zines and visual essays to explore story and dig deeper on topics. There are a few topics I want to look at (depression/being and getting lost, monsters, the folklore/symbolism of birds, home/homelands, night markets, shapeshifting and camouflage, etc) in depth that I’m hoping to compile into a little book series. More stories for sure.
- I am planning to get into more 3D experimentation after starting at the Firebird in my house every day. The shape of which hasn’t fully shaken out yet- possibly just paper, maybe moldmaking but I intend to make another little bird or creature to take with me and photograph outdoors in Iceland and maybe in Oregon too.
- Experimenting with more screenprinting— loosely and tightly planned prints, printing on textiles, printing on wood and making objects.
- I’m working with PMurphy on a short animation (that I need to get back on!) about my weird dog.
- More drawing and challenging myself to draw things I am not great at drawing. Drawing at different scales. Also more reading and drawing (I guess these aren’t as concrete but they’re still things I intend to work on!).
Your style seems to be always developing and growing with each piece. Have any recommendations for someone who is looking to expand and push their own style more, but not sure where to start?
Thanks! Growth is really important to me as I expand my visual vocabulary so I appreciate that. For me, I’ve tried to look outside the field to see if I can learn from other things— science, sculpture, art history, etc. The more I refill the well with different things the more novel connections tend to happen. I also sometimes will think ‘what if I tried ____ differently?’ Mixing up your tools, starting with shape first instead of line, thinking of negative space or a different perspective, thinking of opposites, etc. I still struggle with this myself— there are things I want in my work that haven’t presented themselves just yet but I think it takes time.
I was wondering what sorts of brushes you use to get that sort-of crayon texture (especially in your llama/dragon pieces for the poetry book)? If you don't mind sharing, that would be lovely :)
If it’s crayon-like, that’s all done by hand and scanned in! I can’t remember exactly but it’s usually a mix of water-soluble carbon, pencil, charcoal, Neocolor crayons, etc.
Hey, I know your work through a print you did of Link that my friend bought me. It's great! I was wondering, have you ever done any comics?
I’ve done some really little ones a few years ago. Comics really inspire me and a lot of my friends are amazing cartoonists but I haven’t really done a lot yet! I admire how hard working they are and how tough comics are as a medium.
What sort of things do you find inspire you the most? Also, loved your booth at Roadshow. Wanted to stick around it longer but it was just too crazy in there. :)
I think I’m finding that comedy and the natural world inspire me the most. Of course like everyone I am inspired by so much work out there but I’ve made a point to pull back a little and look outside of illustration to fill the well. Comedy inspires me because there are a lot of parallels to illustration, and there’s something great about captivating an audience and making them laugh. The world around us is weird, colorful and interesting— so much to pull from! Remix culture is also something that I’m finding really inspiring— the idea of taking and remixing/collaging to make new things seems like an interesting way to pull different things together.
Thanks for popping by at the Roadshow! It was so busy but really fun!
If you were to get another pet, what would it be? And what would be their name? Or when naming pets, do you have ideas in mind, or do you select a name that fits the pet?
If I got another pet, it would be:
a) another dog once I enter the post-Levi epoch (weep!), perhaps a shiba inu or another minpin
b) a leopard gecko because I miss their little spots and stances
c) a hedgehog or a tortoise because they could be protected from Levi a bit
d) a parakeet which I would name Torgo.
As for naming— so far it’s been based on the pet as well as whatever I’m into and I think they get weirder each time. I have named pets after two characters from the Kids in the Hall, one based on my highschool anime nerdery, a couple from indie rock bands and for Levi, it was because the name she had didn’t fit and we couldn’t think of a better name than Leviathan.
What led you to teaching and in what ways does teaching inform your illustration practice? I've been realizing my own interest in teaching illustration but I'm not really sure where or how to start investigating it!
Hi Liz! When I was in school, I was really lucky to have three professors who changed my world and I really admired how they shared their passion in different ways. When I graduated, I wasn’t really thinking about it because I figured I would need an MFA first and diving into that was the bigger hurdle but I always appreciated the idea of sharing my experiences and helping others. I didn’t wind up getting that MFA (yet); I think in 2009 I applied to SVA’s Illustration as Visual Essay program and got in. At the same time my internet friends Jonathan Hill and Jason Rainey had a bedroom to spare in Portland and I was done with living in the desert, so I made the toughest decision to move to Portland and turn down the MFA. At the same time, I was searching colleges in Portland for office jobs and saw a listing for adjunct faculty for illustration at PNCA with the magic words “A MFA is preferred but not required.” Somehow I convinced the chair of our department to hire me, he threw me into the deep end with no teaching experience and I figured out how to swim. Now I’ve been teaching for nearly four years. It’s funny how that worked!
Teaching has really informed everything. When you teach, you gain perspective and you remember the things you took for granted learning. It has made me pay much more attention to what I’m saying and how I’m saying that. It’s also made me learn that I didn’t know as much as I thought so I’ve absorbed as much as I can.
I’ve learned a lot by teaching alongside a really small but tightknit crew; their insight, critical thinking, passion and experiences have helped me be more well-rounded and more questioning. I’ve learned how to improvise and it’s made me less shy; I’ve experimented more, and I’ve learned where to toughen up my skin and pull back. It’s made me realize that balance in my practice is really important, and how vital both working and teaching are for me at this moment (and what the right balance for both those are). I’ve then pushed myself even harder because my students are working so hard too. I think that is one of those things that benefits everyone- the students see how hard you work and that makes them want to push more and dig deeper, and we all push each other to be our best.
I’m trying to get back in the groove after the whirlwind that was ICON8 (full writeups soon!)— while I start working I’ll have Tumblr open for the next hour or so. Keep me company and ask me a question? I’ll try to answer as many as I can.