Friday, December 31, 2010
An Written Interview with Illustrator Kimberly Eve
Kimberly, How did you get started in art and illustration?
Kimberly Eve: I was about three when I did my first piece of squiggle art and felt a sense of elevation. Both my parents were artists so their radiant compliments supported those feelings throughout my childhood. My father is an accomplished artist; I watched him closely and picked a lot up from him. His constructive criticism was hard for me to take but it ultimately made me a better artist. I still study with him a few months out of the year in Florida. I have always felt a great peace and spiritual connection when drawing or painting and I live for that. Sometime in the mid 90's, I wanted to apprentice with herbalist Susun Weed in Woodstock, N.Y, but was unable to afford the fee. I got brave and sent her samples of my work asking if she might be open to a trade. I spent months designing the art for her annual calendar; incorporating her portrait in to a dancing green tree spirit. That was the beginning of a 20 year free-lance relationship with Ash Tree Publishing. The green woman is my first printed piece and the original still hangs in Susun’s office.
Kimberly Eve: My ideal client is communicative and patient with me and with themselves. Sometimes it takes a while for a writer or publisher to pin point the style they are looking for. I am happy to receive feedback and to make changes until we are both happy with the finished piece.
Faroqui: What are the key questions that you ask in your initial meeting with a client?
Kimberly Eve: What is the feeling you want the art to evoke? What is your target market? Where will the book be marketed? What styles and colors do you prefer? What is the size, title and approximate page count of the book? What text is to be on the cover? Do you have other books in print or is this your first?
Faroqui: Whether they realize it or not, clients hire Illustrators to communicate something that they don’t have the time or skill to on their own. They may need you to help sell their product. They may need you to help tell a story. They may need you to help build their brand. How do you go about trying to figure out what your client’s goals are in broader terms than “What do you want me to draw?”
Kimberly Eve: I always submit a selection of preliminary thumbnail sketches so that the writer has an initial choice in layout and design. This includes a choice of typefaces or fonts that I think express the energetic of the title and text. I sometimes ask the client to show me examples of pictures or printed artwork they like. This is a starting point for co-creation.
Faroqui: How do you gain perspective so that you can see what your client needs the way they do?
Kimberly Eve: I better see another person’s view point when I give myself space to take a walk, meditate or swim. A lot of intuitive insight comes to me during activities other than the actual rendering of a piece.
Faroqui: How often do you find yourself offering creative solutions that a client hasn’t previously considered?
Kimberly Eve: This happens fairly regularly, partly because of my experiences with art and media choices.
Faroqui: In your opinion which medium do you consider is the easiest and which is the toughest to work in and why?
Kimberly Eve: For color pieces, I like to start with pencil drawings and water-color washes. This gives me an efficient way to create a composition and color theme. I use colored pencil afterwards for definition. I also like black line drawings and black and white drawings with percentages of gray shading. I prefer to begin with a hand-rendered piece of art and then scan it in to the computer for changes and additions. This helps to retain a quality impossible to grasp with an entirely computer generated image. I have never started from scratch with a digitally rendered image.
A technique from the past in which we had to cut rubylith for each of the four colors; Cyan, yellow, magenta and black was a tough way to work. These pieces of acetate were then layered over the black line drawing and we had to discern what percentages of each color were needed for a correct mix. Doing art by hand before computers was intense because if the writer of publisher wanted a change, the whole piece of art had to be changed. Now we can scan art in to the computer and make changes easily. It's a miracle! I love the work.
Faroqui: Do you have any advice for authors looking to hire an illustrator?
Kimberly Eve: Yes, hire me.
In addition to her expertise as an illustrator, Kimberly is a pet portrait artist, a Renaissance Fair performance artist, and face painter. For samples of Kimberly’s work visit her illustration website.