Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
I've been drawing since I could pick up a pencil - literally as long as I can remember. Growing up before computers were a household thing, it was a way to escape and manage my demons. My father was an artist and illustrator, and introduced me at a very early age to drawing and working from imagination, but also the idea of honing skills and working to become better at what you do.
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
I am largely self-taught. That is to say, I've had a couple of mentors along the way, but no formal training. Most of what I know I have sat down and figured out how to do on my own, fillling in gaps with the help of some wonderful people along the way.
Who or what has been your greatest mentor?
Well, my father for sure. But also Todd Lockwood helped me a great deal at a time when I was making the jump from traditional illustration to digital. Without his guidence, things would have gone much differently!
What piece of software or hardware could you not live without and why?
I work exclusively in Corel Painter, and use Photoshop for post production and editng, so I those two, for sure.
Do you keep a sketch book?
I do, but most of the work there isn't fit for human consumption. Instagram is the closest thing that I have to active sketchbook. You can follow me here!
How many times do you tend to draw a character until you are happy with it?
Oh, geeze. It depends, but I have redone sketches hundreds of times to get it to look "right." Erasers and "ctrl+z" exist for a reason! It's like magic!
Do you offer more than one style, if so – talk us through the different approaches and the audience you are targeting for each.
I do! From fairly realistic to a softer comic style - examples can be seen in my portfolio. I've also found that I am pretty good at adopting or mimicing styles as well, though that's something I try to do rarely, as I don't like infringing on someone else's voice. But it's fun practice!
The more realistic style I usually use for middlegrade and fantasy or science fiction works, the more comic style is typically for children's books, but it's pretty versital and can be used for a lot of different applications (and is really my favorite style to work in). I also have more of a classical "painterly" style that I like to use for certain things as well. As for the approach? It's really comes down to what the project is called for, which dictates what needs to be said with the piece.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Greg Manchess once told me in a portfolio review to pay attention to what goes into an illustration, and not to put anything in the piece that didn't need to be there.
Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?
I do! Rocky, our dachshund, is my current art director <3