Sunday, December 28, 2014

Interview with illustrator/designer David Szalay

 

David SzalayQ: Can you talk about your brand and how you were able to incorporate that vision into your promotional materials?
A: I provide narrative illustration inspired by whimsical advertising and storybook art from the 1950s and ’60s. My style could be categorized into the decorative tradition of illustration, which was popular during the mid-20th century. My promotional materials are anchored by my identity, which is a logotype built by splitting and stacking my last name into two syllables. I use a bold, playful, serif typeface centered within a square motif surrounded by a lyrical, decorative border.
I placed several spot illustrations onto a variety of two-sided postcards and business cards, as well as 4″ x 6″ folded greeting cards. I used several retro-looking typefaces to spell out Dave Szalay Design & Illustration as well as my website szalaydesign.com. Typography will continue to be an important element of my presentation since I come to illustration after decades of working as a graphic designer. The idea was to create an ongoing series that mimics nostalgic collectables such as bubblegum cards. The second part of my promotional effort was to create and post a video teaser that showcases a sampling of my work and demonstrates an animated short of one of my images. I am interested in motion graphics as well as still images. The video follows the vintage, whimsical theme that frames the work in an engaging and entertaining format, driving the character of my brand even further.



Q: What advice can you give other illustrators/artists when it comes to self-promotion?
A: I am a firm believer first in authenticity and second in persistence. As an individual artist, your brand needs to sincerely state who you are and what you do. Your brand is your packaging and the consumer of your product wants to know what’s inside. The goal is to engage someone’s attention, while presenting the type of work that you want to do. If your presentation is clear and concise, prospective clients may give you a shot. It is most important that you get your work out there, frequently refreshing your images with new ones so that people have a reason to follow you.
David Szalay
Q: How has the Hartford Art School low-residency MFA Program in Illustration helped you in further realizing your career goals as an artist?
A: I was able to essentially reinvent myself during my time in the program. I was convinced to steer toward graphic design and away from illustration during my undergraduate studies in the 1980s for job security. Working as a designer over the years allowed me to occasionally incorporate some illustrative elements into my layouts but it was never the focus. I recently downsized my design practice to focus on a full-time teaching position.
This was an opportunity to make a mid-career adjustment towards becoming a knowledgeable and practicing illustrator. It was not a huge stretch for me but I needed a springboard and some inspiration. Emerging myself into this unique program helped me gear up on the history of illustration through Murray Tinkelman and to explore and discover my illustrative voice through the studio classes. I feel my teachers and classmates inspired me to push myself much further than I expected. I am thoroughly energized and excited about both my teaching as well as my professional practice and most importantly, I’m having a blast!

The Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford has designed an elite low-residency MFA program for seasoned illustrators who seek to move their careers to the next level, while earning a master’s degree for college-level teaching. Dr. Murray Tinkelman, Hall-of-Fame illustrator, historian and the 1999 Society of Illustrators’ Distinguished Educator in the Arts award recipient, is the director of this cutting-edge program. Tinkelman’s years of experience in the field are an asset, attracting internationally-recognized artists eager to teach under his directorship. “It is taught by professional illustrators who are also dedicated and talented educators,” comments Tinkelman. “The students who enter this program are equally committed to the field of illustration. They come from all over the world, courageously checking their egos at the door and ready to plunge right into the learning process.”

Interview with Chad Hunter

Chad Hunter Bio

Q: Can you discuss how your promotional materials communicate your unique style and overall brand?

A: My promotional materials are really all I am or at least all potential clients see of me. I need to make each piece communicate my brand, style and approach. Specific characteristics act as a hallmark of my work that identify it and separate it from others: color palette, drawing style, textures, points of view, etc. These make up my brand. But really that’s not all. I think a brand is the result of one’s values. One’s brand presents itself in many ways: how I write, what I say, how I answer the phone and the craftsmanship of my promotion pieces each communicate my brand.

Q: What advice can you give other illustrator/designers when it comes to developing successful self-promotional materials for both print and web?
A: Be yourself. Be yourself consistently. And be yourself in many places. To me this means know who you are and identify what makes you unique. Work hard and consistently. Send out promotional materials, keep mailing lists current and send specific mailings to specific targeted audiences. Lastly, get yourself out there in a variety of media, including social media. This all translates to allowing yourself to be found and seen in a variety of places.
Chad Hunter letterhead
Q:Your work has a sketchbook feel to it. How important is working in a sketchbook to you? Can you detail your approach.
A: My sketchbook is always with me: at meetings, traveling, classes, relaxing and just everywhere. It’s my fun thing, my journal, my brain dump and my bucket. My finished work comes directly from my sketchbook. In it, I try new things, I practice and I even complete my finished work. I’ve had to do some research in finding the right sketchbook for me. It actually took me years. My criteria was size, paper thickness, tooth, acidity and how it takes multimedia like pen, ink, watercolor and acrylic. I had to try different sketchbooks to see how they worked. As my style has developed, so has my sketchbook choice. I currently use the Aquabee Deluxe 11″x14″.
Chad Hunter Mailer
Q: Can you share some insights into your creation process when it comes to your illustration and hand lettering?
A: Ed Brodsky, the past director of Marywood’s MFA “Masters with the Masters” program, taught us to brainstorm. First you boil down your message to a short, succinct phrase. I write out the phrase in a single line. Then, I make a list of similar words under each word appearing in the phrase. The fun part begins by mixing and matching to create a unique direction. Sometimes solutions have a concept and drive a point home and sometimes they are a straightforward solution that rely on a unique style to carry the idea.
Chad Hunter Website
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your approach to visual communications through the process, media and visual textures you employ?
A: I straddle lines. I’m an illustrator, designer, letterer, printer and artist. As far as my process goes, I prepare my designs in plates, scan them into the computer and composite them in Photoshop. My final product is digital and produced by offset lithography, serigraphy or giclee.

Q: Describe your artistic working environment and how it helps support your distinctive process and approach.
A: I strive to work regardless of my environment. I read a post Star Wars interview with Harrison Ford where the interviewer asked, “Do you believe in the Force?” Ford responded. “Yes. The Force is in you. Force yourself.” I like that. I believe we can accomplish more than we realize and that work is a key ingredient.

Q: What are your artistic and design influences and where do you look for inspiration.
A: Etchings in general are big for me as are pen-and-ink artists such as Albrecht Durer, Howard Pyle, Robert Lawson, Arthur Rackham, Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak and others.

Q: What do you see yourself incorporating in your work as your vision evolves?
A: I’d like to push my drawings to new points of view, incorporate new textures and create new color combinations.

Marywood University’s Get Your Masters with the Masters MFA Program is a low-residency program with a sixty credit Master of Fine Arts degree in graphic design or illustration. “It’s specifically designed for working art directors, designers, illustrators, new media artists and art educators who have to budget their time and resources carefully, while continuing with their full-time occupations,” shares program director Steven Brower. “While production and technical skills are stressed, the thrust of our program is on creativity and concept.” Marywood University also offers a low-residency, twenty-four credit certificate in sequential art. “Study with the best over one year through independent studies and two weeks on campus for two summers. The end result is a graphic novel,” adds Brower.
Former MFA student Chad Hunter comments, “If you want inspiration and the opportunity to study under a list of leading industry professionals, the Marywood MFA is the program for you. I thoroughly enjoyed the study tour sessions, visiting a long list of top design and illustration studios as well as small workshop presentations created just for our class. I was inspired by my fellow classmates, many came from a broad range of disciplines from across the country. The curriculum is well thought out and offers a wide-range of advanced-level courses that are perfect for anyone seeking a challenge. The Promotional Strategies class was one of my favorite classes. It allowed me to solely focus on creating a distinct set of branding and promotional materials as a perfect resource to jump-start the new creative vision I constructed during the program. The Marywood Get Your Masters with the Masters program is an invaluable resource for working professionals.”
- See more at: http://blog.artistsmarketonline.com/uncategorized/promotional-materials#sthash.Jc6jydsx.dpuf

Interview with illustrator/designer Brad Albright


Brad AlbrightQ: Can you talk about your brand and how you were able to incorporate that vision into your promotional materials?
A: My artwork is heavily music inspired, so it was a natural decision to explore promotional formats that alluded to album art, music packaging and band merchandising trends. As I developed my TEXAN GOTHIC illustration series, an iconography emerged that felt well suited to bold one-color silkscreen printing on shirts, turntable mats, scarves and posters. Combining hand-printed merchandise with the more elaborate full-color and 3D print imagery of the main series, I grew excited to represent myself as a one-stop shop for clients, especially those in the music industry. As for incorporating 3D glasses, I was guided simply by a personal curiosity for the format which then helped me to develop the imagery itself. Overall, the 3D experience is a fun and engaging promotional format to share with others.

Q: What advice can you give other illustrators/artists when it comes to self-promotion?
A: Every artist needs to find the approach that works best for their personality and brand. I think it’s best to first imagine how you yourself would like to see your artwork displayed. What’s unique about your voice, and what platforms might best communicate that to your audience? Also, consider making promotional items that you are confident could actually sell and not be just given away for free. That will help guide you to produce a quality product that clients can’t help but raise their eyebrows to.
Brad Albright
Q: How has the Hartford Art School low-residency MFA Program in Illustration helped you in further realizing your career goals as an artist?
A: In addition to teaching me core business concepts that are essential to a successful career in the arts, the Hartford Art School program provided an unrivaled sense of purpose and momentum which enabled me to attack an ambitious amount of side projects and extracurricular involvements outside of the program. The low-residency format gave me the unique opportunity to work fulltime, while traveling for graduate sessions and simultaneously pursuing creative outlets in my home market. In my two years with the program, I became an active gallery artist, community arts proponent and volunteer, private drawing instructor, freelance illustrator and an established up-and-coming name in the Dallas market. That’s all in addition to the leaps and bounds made in my full-time design career and personal work. All of that said, the relationships made among the students and faculty are the core of the program, and I truly can’t say enough about how amazingly inspirational and supportive the community is.
Brad Albright
The Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford has designed an elite low-residency MFA program for seasoned illustrators who seek to move their careers to the next level, while earning a master’s degree for college-level teaching. Dr. Murray Tinkelman, Hall-of-Fame illustrator, historian and the 1999 Society of Illustrators’ Distinguished Educator in the Arts award recipient, is the director of this cutting-edge program. Tinkelman’s years of experience in the field are an asset, attracting internationally-recognized artists eager to teach under his directorship. “It is taught by professional illustrators who are also dedicated and talented educators,” comments Tinkelman. “The students who enter this program are equally committed to the field of illustration. They come from all over the world, courageously checking their egos at the door and ready to plunge right into the learning process.”