Ken Graning Interview

It is my pleasure to present the autobiography and artwork of illustrator, Ken Graning. Ken Graning's impressive career as an illustrator spans an astonishing forty six years.

When It Comes To Logos These Companies Don't Play Around

The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. In March, Forbes reported that Gabe Newell, founder of Valve Corporation, is "one of the richest people on the planet".

Ed Fella Interview

Ed Fella is one of the most prominent graphic designers of our time, and as you can imagine, a conversation with Ed Fella is both inspiring and enlightening

The Amazing Illustrations and Sketches of J.R. Mounger

Artist and designer J.R. Mounger has a passion for illustration and you sure can tell by the artwork he creates.

An Interview with Art Licensing Consultant, Maria Brophy

I first learned of Maria's work last year, when I featured the artwork of surf lifestyle artist, Drew Brophy, here on Illustration Pages - I've been a loyal fan and avid follower of both ever since.



Happy New Year From Illustration Pages

Illustration Pages wishes you a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

Happy New Year!

Illustration by GUY SMALLEY

Guy Smalley is a conceptual artist and creative gun for hire. He is often called to do advertising art with crazy deadlines. He has been illustrating for over 35 years.

Guy’s studio is unique. It’s a 1986, 40' Blue Bird Wanderlodge Motor home. He and his wife travel all over the U.S. and with a Motosat dish he is in touch anywhere he goes. He travels with his family approximately 5 months of the year and has a home base in the mountains of NC. But he keeps his studio in the motor home year round.

A graduate of School of Visual Arts, Guy is married, collects rifles, builds Rat Rods and spends much of his time running after his boys, Evan, 5 and Chace, 1.


Announcing the Winner of the Online Portfolio Giveaway

The winner of the online portfolio giveaway is…

Wilson Williams, Jr. (Mighty Kwan)

Wilson’s one year membership to includes 40 portfolio images, 10 published book images, his own biography page, client list and a link out to his personal, portfolio website.

Wilson will be contacted with all the details.

Thank you to all who entered. The participation from everyone was fantastic. is a premium, online, children’s illustrators' directory. They’re professional, affordable and simple to use. They’re passionate about the industry and dedicated to assisting illustrators market themselves and gain more exposure, while increasing their clientele. Artists love the look of and the timely and thorough customer care. The simple set-up combined with the detailed marketing features makes for an easy, yet comprehensive, marketing solution for children’s illustrators. Promote your portfolio, published books, biography, client list, website and blog all in your own gallery!

Illustrator Jorsh Pena's City Robot Problem

contributed by Melissa Kojima

Yeah, the future might hold a giant robot to attack your city. But if it's created by Jorsh Pena, it can't be that bad. I mean, doesn't this illustration look fun and wouldn't you scream with delight if you looked up to see this awesome robot hovering over your city?! Okay, maybe that's just me. Whatever the future holds, let it be a fun new 2011! Cheers, everyone!

Illustrator Randy Mora's Space Rocket Man

Su nombre en el espacio, originally uploaded by Randy Mora.

contributed by Melissa Kojima

The new year has me thinking about the future, so what better way to celebrate the coming 2011 with space and future inspired illustrations. This one is by Randy Mora and titled, "Su nombre en el espacio" or Your Number in Space. It was created for a Spanish magazine about NASA. Happy New Year, everyone!

What the Future Holds According to Franco Brambilla: Happy 2011

contributed by Melissa Kojima

Franco Brambilla Lets Go Back To The Alps
Happy 2011, originally uploaded on flickr by Franco Brambilla.

Italian illustrator, Franco Brambilla loves to combine vintage robots and vintage lifestyle images. According to his created world, aliens, robots and humans can get along just fine. After all, you can see them taking cruises together or sunbathing together on a hot summer day. The future looks bright and it sounds good for a Happy New Year.

I thought this would be a fun and inspiring way to wish you the best in 2011. Love, peace and joy to you and yours. Online Portfolio Giveaway - FREE One Year Membership

It’s the season of giving. And with that in mind Illustration Pages and have teamed up for a fantastic giveaway. Together we're offering children's illustrators a chance at winning a FREE, one year membership on, the premium, online, children’s illustrators' directory. The winner's membership includes 40 of your best portfolio images, 10 published book images, your own biography page, your client list and a link out to your own personal, portfolio website.

To enter, leave a comment below answering the question: What was your favorite storybook as a child? One lucky winner will be selected at random using The winner will be announced Thursday, December 30, 2010. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, December 29, at midnight, EST. Please comment only once. There must be a way for you to be contacted if you win, either a valid email address, (johnsmith[at]yahoo[dot]com) or a web address that has your contact information.

Good Luck! is a premium, online, children’s illustrators' directory. They’re professional, affordable and simple to use. They’re passionate about the industry and dedicated to assisting illustrators market themselves and gain more exposure, while increasing their clientele. Artists love the look of and the timely and thorough customer care. The simple set-up combined with the detailed marketing features makes for an easy, yet comprehensive, marketing solution for children’s illustrators. Promote your portfolio, published books, biography, client list, website and blog all in your own gallery!

Illustrators Helping You With Your Christmas Wrapping

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

It's only 3 days until Christmas, so I know you have all your gift creating and shopping done, right!? Now, it's time to wrap all those gifts and tag them to Grandma, Aunt Sue, Little Joey, your neighbor from Brazil and don't forget the always dependable, Mr. Bots the postman......well, maybe, you don't have that many people you're gifting, but to tell all the gifts apart, you'll need some gift tags. Some very creative and fun illustrators have some free downloadable gift tags for you. Below are a few of them.

Michael Slack of the "Slack Art" Blog is giving away a free download to top off your gifts. It's a yodeling yeti of course! How fun.

Wee Birdy blog which finds the best of London and Sydney designed these cute birdy gift tags for you. It's available for free downloading in either pink or blue.

Graphic designer and illustrator Kelly Medina wants you to have a hoot of a holiday with these owl gift tags. The link to download them is here.

Caroline Roach who has an online store of handmade cards and buttons called, "Champ + Rosie" (among many other fun items) created these gift tags where the owl is posing as a holiday reindeer. And why not! Download the sheet of tags here.

Thank you to all these great illustrators for their free gift tags! I hope they have inspired you to get creative with your wrapping. Have fun whatever you put on your gifts!

The Season of Wonder

After Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Friday, and whatever other marketing-generated-pseudo-sales day retailers could devise, I got to thinking about things that had made past holidays special. No surprise, they weren’t the kind of things you’d find wrapped in paper under a tree, but times when a feeling of wonder captured my heart, and filled me with a sense of hope and joy that - I like to believe- is what the holiday season is really about. Here are some of my favorite “wonder-filled” moments of Christmas Past:

The moment I saw the pink training wheeled bicycle I got from Santa when I was five. I know I just said that what makes me happy isn’t found wrapped under a tree, and this was true in this instance as well. While I was happy enough to just get the bike, the fact that it was the EXACT shade of pink I loved so much made me believe that Santa existed in all his magical I-know-what-your-heart-wants kind of way. Believing someone exists who knows your heart’s desires and grants your wishes is magical, and that was the real gift for me.

One evening, about a week or so before Christmas, I was unpacking groceries, stressing about all that needed to be done in preparation for the holidays, when the doorbell rang. A friend of mine, who is a local police officer, stood in the doorway. I saw flashing lights and immediately thought the worst, when he stepped aside and there on my front lawn was a crowd of children, holding little flashlights, who began singing Christmas carols. My neighbor’s 5 year old son, who has Down’s Syndrome, came rushing over to see what was going on. With a huge grin on his face, little Chris ran to me and threw himself into my arms. I stood on my front steps, in the glow of Christmas lights, holding Chris who was beaming with joy listening to the carolers Officer Bob had arranged as a surprise. It was simply a perfect Christmas moment and one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received.

The day after Christmas I was walking my dog in the park. It had snowed and the ground was covered with nearly a foot of the white stuff. The sky was laden with heavy, grey clouds that threatened to unleash another winter storm any moment. Suddenly a small break in the thick clouds allowed a ray of sunlight to hit one of the pine trees that was encased in ice. The tree looked exactly like someone dipped it in silver glitter- like a kitschy ornament you’d find in your attic. It was remarkable that something in nature could really look like this, but it did. The tree was surreal in its beauty and literally stopped me in my tracks. I remember thinking it was as if this simple park scene had fashioned itself into a Christmas card. The whole scene lasted less than a minute, which made it feel that much more of a special surprise gift of nature. 

What was one of your most memorable holiday moments?

Article by LYDIA GNAU
Illustrations by NESSA GUILLET
Nessa Guillet graduated from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Her artwork is inspired by French vintage poster designs, Australian aboriginal art, the colors of nature, flower gardens, Japanese prints as well as dreams from her childhood growing up in France. She likes to play with the idea of what is hidden or unseen at first glance. At first the images may look to only have one meaning until you look closer and see the hidden story. Her medium is gouache and lead pencil on coarse cold pressed watercolor paper. At her desk, small brush in hand, stippling away for hours paying close attention to complementary colors, shapes, textures and repetition of pattern. While creating the pieces she relies on her intuition more than anything else. She has been published in magazines, has designed stamp art, logos, book covers as well as mug designs. As a child, Waldorf Schools influenced her love for storytelling, both in the written word as well as imagery. Nessa currently works and lives in Boston, MA.

See more of Nessa's Work at:
Nessa Guillet on Etsy

Drawing Inspiration: El Greco [ε]

Illustration by Owen Schumacher

Painter / Old Master of the Moderns
Ahead-of-his-time style was confusing to critics
Offered to repaint the Sistine Chapel(!)
On Michaelangelo: "He was a good man, but he did not know how to paint."
El Greco
Wikipedia Bio

Attack of the Cardboard Bots

Artist Alesko Griffe offers up two new robot creations built from cardboard. See both on flickr…

To learn more about how to submit your news to Illustration Pages click here.

Rich Pellegrino Interview - Canvases of Color

Rich Pellegrino is an illustrator and artist currently working in Warwick, Rhode Island. And what you don’t know about this talented young artist you’re about to find out. IP had the pleasure of catching up with Rich to discover more about the man behind the bold canvases of color.

Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to become an illustrator and artist?

There have been a bunch of twists and turns along the way in my career. But to answer your question I’m really no different than other artists. From my earliest memory I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Even before I knew what an artist was I knew I would draw for the rest of my life. I couldn’t imagine anything else. I just didn’t know I could get paid to do it.

Growing up in the 80’s was a great time to be a kid. The cartoons were great. G.I. Joe and Transformer cartoons were my life. I drew Optimus Prime all the time. Just couldn’t get his arms right. Foreshortened perspective was my Achilles’ heel. I had to settle on having them shooting out of his hips sideways. Anyhow, cartoons led to comics like Todd McFarlane’s Spiderman, which inspired me to be a penciler for comics for many years.

Two of my high school studio art teachers were detrimental to me pursuing a career in the arts. One said I’d go nowhere. The other nurtured and encouraged my interest in drawing. I had no idea who da Vinci was, Van Gough, Impressionism… the list goes on. I was hooked from the moment my eyes were opened to them. After that I got serious about school and pursued a college education. Further down the road I shifted from penciling comic pages to painting covers and then gallery work.

Since I hadn’t taken any art classes in high school until senior year, and honestly, had too much of a good time to study hard, I had a lot of catching up to do. I was rejected by RISD and had to go to a community college. In the end I attended a community college and transferred into RISD. After a year and a half of watching student loans pile up over my head I decided to leave school and travel the states looking for comic work. I went to comic conventions all over, with a portfolio in one hand and leave behind samples in the other. I was always ninety five to ninety nine percent there. Looking back I’m glad I was since it had a big influence on my going back to school.

I went back to RISD more focused than ever and started painting junior year. When I graduated I was fortunate to get cover work right out of school. I realized that while I enjoyed comics and fantasy work I didn’t enjoy making them myself. I did like painting, and decided to pursue that which is where I am at today.

Although it’s difficult to briefly summarize your process, can you give us an overview on how you tackle your paintings? How do you achieve such rich colors and great textures?

I start with researching the subject matter. Google is a wonder. Research is one of the parts I enjoy most on projects. Learning information that I didn’t know before is exciting to me. Ignorance is bliss until you find out what you’ve been missing. My next step is making a lot of preliminary drawings and thumbnails. These are often fast gestural sketches in pen and ink, to get a natural feel for the subject. Sometimes I fill up entire sketchbooks with studies for just a few paintings. Once I get a simple and direct drawing I’m happy with, it’s scanned and then transferred to a piece of hardboard. Occasionally I paste it on backwards with acrylic matte medium and rub off the paper, other times I trace it onto the board from a printout with graphite paper.

For painting I prefer quick drying media like watercolors, gouache, and acrylics. I find myself using Acryla Gouache a lot lately. The rich colors are easy to get by applying them straight out of the tube without much mixing. If that’s what you’re going for you don’t want to diminish the integrity of the pure color by diluting it with too much water and another color. When I was in school I learned if you get the values right the color choices do not matter. I clung to that, as I was deeply afraid of color. Back then I was also painting in oils, and with those, the more I put on, the more everything blended together.

To achieve the textures, I use a mix of new and old brushes, palette knives, water, and many layers of paint. It’s all how the paint is laid down. I try to have as much fun as possible with it.

Pop culture seems to be a big part of your artwork – the music industry in particular. What other forms of popular culture do you like to draw inspiration from?

Yeah, the pop culture thing sort of snowballed. It started off as an excuse to try something new. My intent was to make visual cover songs of some of my favorite music. In my Hendrix image I was trying to get the feeling Jimi got across in his, Are you Experienced track.

Movies, literature, and the Discovery and Science channels are as a big an influence on my work as music. Alfonso Cuaron’s, Children of Men is one of my favorites. I love the way it was filmed. Kurosawa was another great filmmaker. Guillermo Del Toro is a master of color and light. His 2006 film, Pan’s Labyrinth is a masterpiece. Some writers I dig are Palahniuk, Kerouac, Salinger, and Orwell. Still, Hendrix and Dylan influence my work the most, their sound and lyrics equally of course. I want a brush stroke to sound like a distorted A chord. You know - something loud and visceral.

When I saw Bob Dylan a couple weeks back I was taken aback by how well his light show reinforced the lyrics of his songs. Ballad of a Thin Man in particular stood out, with its eerie tone combined with mood lighting that cast the band’s shadows on the wall behind them in different shapes and rates of speed. It was a surreal visual experience.

The thing that connects all of these different, creative individuals is their ability to create a world full of living, breathing characters.

Who are some of the artists that have influenced you?

My friend and mentor Rick Berry will always be my biggest influence, for sure. I have a lot of talented friends that always show me new things and inspire me to experiment and push myself. Most of them post at Gorilla Artfare. There are really so many artists that I enjoy. If I had to pick my main ones they are probably pretty standard, Degas, Klimt, Schiele, da Vinci, Van Gough, Kathe Kollwitz, Whistler, Lucian Freud, Toulouse Lautrec, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Volliard. Comic artists are Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, J. Scott Campbell, Joe Mad, Phil Hale, Kent Williams, and James Jean.

Is there someone who isn’t an artist that inspires you?

My mother taught me to improvise when I make mistakes. I can see that a lot in how I approach painting. It’s all give and take.

What haven’t you worked on yet that you would love to do as an illustrator or painter whether it’s personal or commissioned?

Well, I really want to get this new series of paintings completed first. I’m working on a group of new figure paintings that are different from anything I’ve done before. The problem I’m running into is that painting is starting to feel a bit one-dimensional. With all of this multimedia stuff going on painting can seem a little restrictive. At first this was tough to get around but figuring out how to make it work has been one hell of a fun time. It’s been interesting. Sadly, that series of paintings will have to wait for now until a couple other projects are finished up.

My dream commissioned gig would be for a Rolling Stone article on Jimi Hendrix, editorial spots for the New Yorker, Playboy, and Guitar Magazine.

Your work has been featured on Drawn, 2DArtist Magazine and Juxtapoz to name a few, how do you promote yourself? Has there been one avenue that has been particularly successful for you as far as advertising?

Simple! Just email them! I email my website address with a short message. You don’t want to badger people with your work though. Being respectful is what’s most important.  Send an update every quarter year.

“Live Painting” can be a bit intimidating. How has it helped as an artist?

Live painting helps in the respect that I get out and interact with people. Collaborating in public is when it’s most fun. It’s all or nothing at that point. So I have to just go for it. I can’t worry about making a mistake too much. That attitude frees me up. The whole experience gives me exposure to people that may have never known I exist otherwise. I like to keep business cards out and ready. But I don’t get too caught up in it. Once I’m painting it’s just the canvas and me.

What industry books have you read and found to be helpful to your career?

I’ve read a lot of them. The GAG books are the best on professional practices and rates. Instructional drawing books are ok to learn structure but there is nothing better than observational drawing from life. If you’re in school ask your teachers questions on business practices, like contract negotiating, email etiquette, deadlines, self-promotion, and anything you can think of.

How do you recharge your batteries, stay focused and motivated?

Deadlines help me stay focused and motivated. And to help stay focused during the workday I drink a lot. No, that doesn’t sound right. I keep hydrated with water and some morning coffee.

When I’m between projects I self impose deadlines on personal work to keep my hand in shape. Recently, I got a planner to keep my days organized to the hour. That helps when juggling a lot of things. Time usually ceases to exist in the studio for some reason.

I found it necessary to maintain a personal life. Sometimes you just burn out and have to take off a few days.

And finally, what is it you would like people to know about Rich Pellegrino the artist? What do you hope your audience comes away with after seeing your artwork?

I want them to be able to find something they can relate to in my art. If people don’t get some sort of feeling out of something I created then it’s a failure in my eyes.

Illustration Pages thanks Rich Pellegrino for such an enlightening and informative interview. Please take the time to know more of Rich's work by visiting his links below.
Rich Pellegrino's Blog
Rich Pellegrino on Etsy

Also enjoy other Illustration Pages interviews.

10 Logo Designs From Graphic Designer Fernando Forero

Fernando Forero is a graphic designer, illustrator and typographer working out of Columbia. Parallel to his professional work, Fernando creates his personal art, also in the areas of design, illustration and typography. It has earned him accolades in many competitions and has been exhibited in different events and countries throughout the world. His expressive and inventive work has been reviewed by several art and design publications and has also been featured on numerous blogs specializing in design.

"RAM" A Handmade Limited Edition Book By Artist Rowland Jones

Artist Rowland Jones is announcing the release of his latest project, RAM. Made up of idiosyncratic images with off-the-wall quotes and comments, RAM is available from the innovative Dutch company, Matchboox. Producing matchbox sized, Japanese style books, Matchboox features work from many well known Dutch artists and writers. Rowland is the first Welsh artist invited to contribute.

Rowland Jones didn't start drawing until he was in his fifties. Encouraged by a friend to pursue his dream, he began by attending a life drawing class. Today Rowland is working toward completing his 35th Moleskin notebook of sketches, scribbles and writings. He is also currently putting the finishing touches to a series of illustrations for an anthology of Dutch poetry being produced by award winning book designer, Baer Cornet. Find out more about "RAM"…

To learn more about how to submit your news to Illustration Pages click here.

The Gift For The Picky & Self-Loathing Artist in Your Life

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

Are artists hard to shop for? Do they ever get picky and self-loathing? Well, yeah, doesn't it come with the territory? I guess that could become a problem for someone looking to buy them just the right present this holiday season.

Springboard for the Arts thinks that they have the solution to your gift giving problem. They suggest buying a gift certificate with them. They are an organization in St. Paul, Minnesota who "cultivates a vibrant arts community by connecting artists with the skills, contacts, information and services they need to make a living and a life." In other words, they have workshops, personal consultations and classes to help your artist gain professionalism, confidence, and artistic fulfillment. Sounds pretty good, huh?

After a tune up with Springboard for the Arts, your artist will then be standing on his/her head, filled with the things they need to become viable and make a living. They may still be picky, but they will no longer be self-loathing.

Today Is The One Year Anniversary of Illustration Pages

Today marks the one year anniversary of Illustration Pages. It was a year ago today that I posted my first feature of an artist's Facebook Page. And do you know who that artist was? It was artist Michael Fleming. Since that time I've written features on over one hundred artists' Facebook Pages. Recently it was illustrator Anthony Freda's page that was the one hundredth Facebook page to be featured on Illustration Pages. But as you know, Illustration Pages has become more than Facebook pages - a lot more. After a few months went by and IP progressed, I decided to feature artists' online stores also. And since that time I've written features on over thirty of them.

Illustration Pages has certainly come a long way since that first feature of Michael Fleming. I've had some wonderful and talented people join the IP team. artist Melissa Kojima was the first. Melissa jumped on board the IP train back in February and has been contributing inspirational articles every week since. Melissa is an extremely talented artist and I can't thank her enough for what she contributes to the site. Later copywriter Lydia Gnau joined the team and has written numerous thought provoking, heart felt articles for the site. Lydia's articles read like poetry. She adds a wonderful dimension to IP. And then, rounding it all off with his awesome Drawing Inspiration features is artist and writer, Owen Schumacher. Owen has been contributing illustrations of artists of historic importance to Illustration Pages since August. IP wouldn't be what it is today without the efforts of these wonderful people and I thank them sincerely.

As the site has grown I've had the pleasure of interviewing many fascinating artists which has certainly been a thrill. And how about some of the artists we've featured? Graphic designer Jeff Fisher, children's illustrator Bob Staake, painter Kenny Scharf, graphic designer Leighton Hubbell - the list goes on with so many talented artists it would be impossible to list them all out here. We've also had contributions from artists such as illustrator Laura Smith, artist Cathie Bleck, and illustrator Edel Rodriguez.

And I would never leave out the two very talented artists that created the awesome posters that you see to the right everyday you visit IP. Illustrator Erin Klauk and artist J.R. Mounger created amazing posters that hang framed in my studio and fill me with pride everyday I see them.

Who can forget one of the biggest achievements for IP ? Being recognized back in March as a "Top 10 Website For Designers" by How Magazine was quite an accomplishment. Since that time we've made a few top lists for illustrators, designers and artists. I'd like to thank those folks also for recognizing the hard work that goes into a site like IP.

Thanks to everyone that contributes to and visits IP everyday. We have some really great things in the hopper for 2011 - bios similar to illustrator and designer Ron Rae - written by the artists themselves. Those alone will be amazing. And of course we'll have many more Facebook page and online store features, not to mention a boat load of inspirational artwork to highlight and interviews. So sit back, relax and enjoy another year of Illustration Pages.

Lou Simeone
Illustration Pages
creativity community culture

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