where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I grew up in Montreal. I've been in the Toronto area for about 12 years. I've been illustrating for real since around 2003... I realistically started/graduated in 2001, but I didn't really start doing the freelance thing until 2003. before that it was mostly gallery shows and personal work. so let's say 6-8 years.

so you went to school at sheridan then you became a professor there...whats that like?
It's amazing. The 3 years I spent at Sheridan as a student were some of the best years of my life. I made some great friends and we all pushed and influenced each other. It was really exciting to discover this great new world. I also had these amazing teachers (Paul Dallas, Joe Morse, Jill Peters) who just got me excited and taught me so much. I feel like I could never repay them for what they gave me.

Although it's very difficult to try to be one of those teachers that I held up so high, I really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to try walk in their shoes. I get a lot of satisfaction when the students get excited and grow as creative people right in front of me. I also feed off of the students enthusiasm.

you run a design studio with your wife - is there ever creative competition?
No, not really. We work together really well. She's better at some things than me and vice versa, so we know who is better suited to certain tasks and we just let that person take over the role when necessary. It's such a fun environment. We're pretty lucky to be in our situation. I can't imagine going our separate ways each morning ever again. Fingers crossed!

what can you tell me about "repless abandon"?
It was a collective of student that graduated from Sheridan in 2001/2002. It was pretty much conceived of and formed before I joined. It was basically a way for illustrators to rep themselves. So get the benefits of a being in a group and the benefits of flying solo all in one. That was the idea anyway.

what motivated you to leave that collective?
It's really hard to get 15 people to agree to anything. So there was a lot of compromise and I just felt like I lost my identity being a part of the group. My work is really subtle and the colors are muted. It's not loud and in your face, so I just felt like my work was getting lost in the shuffle. I know it worked really well for some of the people in the group, it just wasn't really for me.

would you ever consider a rep at this point in your career?
Maybe, if the situation was right. I've thought about it and had discussions with a few reps, but always turned it down. I would maybe consider one for the advertising side of things. There isn't enough money in editorial to be split as far as I'm concerned! But more important to me is I like having control over how and where my work is displayed/advertised, so maybe the whole rep thing isn't for me. I don't know. There are definitely certain aspects of it that are tempting. I'm not a huge fan of paperwork.
how has your work been evolving lately...like recently...and where do you see it going?
I'm getting more and more interested in concept. When I started I was almost solely concerned with aesthetic, but as I'm growing and learning, I'm realizing how important a good idea is. I still love things that just look beautiful, and I don't think I'll change, but a good idea makes a longer and stronger impact. It's also more satisfying to know your doing something that can reach people a bit below the surface.

as a husband and father, does it ever freak you out that the industry is going through so many unstable changes?
Yes and no. When things slow down, I can't help but freak out a little. But I think there will always be a need for good visually creative people, so I'm hoping I can just move with the changes.

whos work are you really into lately?
So many. But I'll go with Push Pin Studio. It's not new, just great. I'm really excited about work that walks the line between illustration and graphic design. I think that graphic designers used to be able to draw, and that doesn't seem to necessarily be the case these days.

what do you do to fill the time that you're not busy with work?
I have a shitty old house, so I'm spending a lot of time trying to make it not as shitty. I'm also spending a lot of time making music... it's my other big love.
are there any dream clients you havent worked with that you'd like to?
Yeah, for sure. I don't think there are any particular ones, just dream clients in general. The ones who are open to seeing your ideas and then offer you advice on how to make them better. And then when you give them the final piece they give it an amazing graphic home to live in. I just finished a few pieces for the New York Times magazine. I think they were pretty amazing to work with. Good constructive feedback, and the layout looked amazing. I love that magazine.

any advice for new illustrators?
Figure out what you love to do, and then work hard as hell. The second part is easy if you get the first part right!

any advice for the older established ones?
Nah, they know more than I do.

all images copyright Marco Cibola. check out more of his work here: http://www.novestudio.com/
he does some design stuff too, which is equally as great. Thanks Marco, very inspiring


  1. another great interview Pete ...... keep them coming please ....... also .... great observation of Artemesia on your latest "Courantly" on your own blog

  2. Great interview, inspiring!

  3. Yay interviews are back!!

    Marcos great! wish I could of had him as a prof back at Sheridan!