Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
I did attend art school though I’d also attribute some of my skills to self teaching as well as things learned on the job (you never stop learning, really.) Art school really helped to keep me disciplined and the biggest bonus of all was meeting other artists. Once you have those skills self teaching becomes a bit easier as well, I taught myself a few things before art school but I really had no clue what I was doing.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
I feel as if people were very supportive but they also didn’t completely understand it. My family has creative individuals in it but I am the first to pursue it as a serious career goal. I still have conversations with my Mother where I am trying to explain what I do, it’s kind of like you’re speaking a different language when you try to go into all the details of art as a career, not everyone is going to get it right away.
Did you have a favourite subject to draw when you were a child and do you still have one today? If you do, what makes it so special?
When I was a kid I mainly wanted to draw comics and cartoons, and sadly that actually kept me away from seriously drawing for a long time because many of my art teachers actively discouraged drawing cartoons and wanted me to only draw from life. I think if they had sat me down and explained to me that drawing from life would only make my cartoons better, I would have had a better time in art class, but most of the teachers from where I grew up weren’t really experienced in anything beyond fine art. Animation and comics are still very important to me, I always enjoyed anything that sparks the imagination.
From the initial client idea to the final work: what goes through your mind when you are designing and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
It really depends on the project, how much time I have, and how specific the client is. Typically no matter the work reference hunting is the first part, even if a client provides reference you’ll often still need to look up additional inspiration to get to the drawing I need. I then start roughing ideas and I always go super rough, it’s important to keep the early stages just for ideas without judgement. After that is when it starts to depend on the project, sometimes I am just concepting story ideas and sometimes I am taking artwork to the final asset, every job I’ve ever taken on has been different.
What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
I think it depends on the day, some days I can’t get the sketch I want, some days I can’t get the painting to go right, other days I am sick of cleanup. On the other hand, all parts of the process can be super fun on different days. I think it’s good to have a variety of projects to do, for me that helps keep it interesting and gives me something else to work on if some other drawing isn’t going as planned.
Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
I honestly enjoy both and there are pros and cons to both. I’d say when freelancing full time it is a bit harder, you don’t ever get paid days off and you’re always working, but I’m also a bit of a homebody and it’s really fun to work on various projects with a bunch of different people. Working for a company is also fun though because you get to know people on a more personal level. I think what they have in common though is how much you enjoy it really depends on the project and the people.
What advise would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
If you’re experiencing art block go out and draw from life or pick a few master paintings/drawings to do copies of. It’s a good way to keep yourself drawing without having to think about what you’re going to draw because you’re just drawing what is in front of you. If I ever feel like I can’t think of what to do, I know I need more reference material. As a professional artist you can’t go into work and say “I couldn’t think of anything”, so you need to learn to keep drawing no matter what.
Concept art, animation, illustration, comics, there are lots of choices. When you’re young, sometimes you know only one thing: you love to draw. What should a young artist take into consideration to make the right decision when choosing an artistic path?
I think it’s important to follow the path of what you feel the strongest about, but don’t be afraid that you’ll be stuck there because professional artists often wear many different hats and change direction throughout the course of their career. When you get to art school (if you end up attending) it is important to stay focused on your portfolio for just one major, but nothing should stop you from making multiple portfolios when you get out or taking different jobs.
Many art teachers and schools suggest to their students that a commercial artist should always work in one consistent style if they wish to have a healthy career. In your own experience, do you believe this to be true?
I think strong drawing skills are important no matter if your style is consistent or not. You’re not always going to be hired to draw in your style, so those drawing skills are going to help when you need to mimic another style. I think your portfolio just needs to have strong work no matter what, whether an artist is drawing in one style or a variety of styles, it’s a turn off to people if something doesn’t look well drawn so if you’re not good at a certain style, work on it before showing it to other people.
We have a soft spot for hand drawn animation, what is your opinion about the future of this art form?
I love hand drawn animation and I think there are always going to be people working in it, I’d love to see people use it in new ways for new stories. Now we can really utilize the computer to help 2d animation and do some interesting things with it, styles that would have been really time intensive are more of a possibility now, so I’d love to see more exploration in the medium.
Social networks, crowd funding websites, print on demand online service, you name it. New media on the internet are connecting the artists directly with their fans like never before. In your opinion, how is this affecting the industry and what are the pros and cons?
I think of it largely as a positive because artists are able to reach people they may not have been able to reach in the past. Before the internet was so widespread if you couldn’t make it through the traditional channels, you were likely to give up. But now there is a lot more opportunity to go in a non traditional route and get projects we never would have seen otherwise funded. I think it’s fantastic, and on a personal level I could never knock social media since it’s lead to jobs for me.
Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
You can find my art on Tumblr at ( annmarcellino.tumblr.com ), on Facebook ( facebook.com/annmarcellinoart ), and my online store at ( society6.com/annmarcellino ). I am also on Instagram under ( @annmarcellino ), in fact if you just google my name you can usually find me, I try to use my full name as my username fairly consistently and there are only a few other Ann Marcellinos in the world.
Thank you Ann :)