recent graduate Greg Dubeau has made this:
and its awesome...
click the link!!!!

ILLUSTRATION:The Drawcumentary



where are you from (for those who may not know) and how long have you been illustrating?
from the "boogie down bronx" but, reared on the gulf coast of florida. currently working in Brooklyn, NY. This year will actually be my 9th year at it...time flies.

how long did it take for illustration to become your full time job? did your career have a "big break - if so what was it?
I'd say about 4 years. I dont think there was a big break, but getting into annuals definitely helped.

can you remember doing any really bad jobs when you were getting started just to get your foot in the door?
yup, I remember doing stuff for like 50 bucks, crazy when I think about it.
Did you study illustration at University, if so, did it prepare you properly?
I went to the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL. it pointed the way, the pieces were there to prepare someone, but I feel you get out of it what you put in to it. I spent alot of time in the library studying other forms of art. Hard work always helps.

your work is always conceptually amazing, how do you go about solving problems / coming up with ideas?
thanks! I think coffee, lots of sketches and just trying all angles for a solution. i also think everyone comes with their own life experience, which i think heavily dictates the types of ideas & imagery a person produces.

stylistically, how did you wind up where you are now?
it's been an evolution full of trial & error that's becoming more graphic over time.

what are some major influences in your work?
off the top....all old posters, (nazi, cuban, russian, wpa) movie posters, theater posters, band posters, Degas, Robert Weaver, Brian Cronin... to name a few.

working traditionally vs. working digitally - is that all as 100% traditional as it looks?
100% old school, although digital is slowly working its way into the work.
do you listen to music when you work?if so, what bands - give some shout outs.
have to: TV on the Radio, Animal Collective, Public Enemy, P.O.S.

I've noticed that aside from some online portfolio sites, you dont have an actual website online. has this posed any problems for you?
yeah, i let my old site die, i have to resurrect it. Actually, no problems so far, although I wouldn't recommend killing off your site.

I think you MAY be a teacher as well?? can you tell me about that?
not really. although i am teaching a Personal Viewpoints class at the University of the Arts in Philly right now. So far so good.

how important is getting out of the house and doing non illustration related activity ?
critical, personally I couldnt think illustration 24/7. i have a multi-media practice which keeps me very occupied, and lets me pursue other outlets of art making which i love. I also like to roam the city on foot or bike, hang out in museums and travel.

can you think of a favorite job you've done, or AD you've worked with off the top of your head?
i did the cover of the Progressive some years ago, Nick Jehlen let me do everything from the image to the masthead, to the font selection, ultimate freedom....who does that?

where do you wanna see your work 10 years from now? basically, where do you see it going?
haven't really thought that far, maybe less editorial, more books & posters, who knows?

what are you loving about illustration right now?
i love that you can work anywhere in the world, as long as there is an internet connection. I'm also digging the smart illustration/design hybrid work happening.

anything in general you'd like to see get more hype?

Vietnamese coffee...learn about it!
advice for new / young illustrators
keep an open mind to all art forms, not just the 2-d stuff, enter the annuals, push ups, don't give up.

advice for established / old illustrators
i dont think im in a position to give the old cats' advice, but I think "keep it real" will do.

all images copyright Dan Bejar.
Thanks Dan!! Beautiful stuff!!!



short but sweet...
what are you loving about illustration right now?

The biggest difference I see these days is technology.
I can do things today in an hour, that would have taken a week, required a whole department of professionals and a huge budget just 10 years ago. I am still glad I learned my tricks the old fashioned way, and I am sure all those tools can be overwhelming, but I love them VERY much.
how long did it take for illustration to become your full time job?

I was very lucky to be able to live off my illustration work right after finishing school.
I had taken a lot of effort to get ready though: I had done a lot of internships, a lot of design work for Magazines and Ad Agencies while I studied.

you're pretty much a conceptual genius, how do you go about brainstorming?

Ha! I don't really believe in talents or gifts. For me the one road to decent work consists of thinking hard while drawing on letter size white paper until my head and fingers hurt. I also think it s crucial to have a set of trusted friends that you can bounce ideas of, before you send them to the client.
advice for new / young illustrators

See the other side: become knowledgeable about publishing, design, marketing etc.
I think to be a good illustrator, you have to have a functioning "inner art director".
For me illustration (whether conceptual or more style focused) is about communicating something to the audience. So you have to have a very keen sense of how your audience thinks and feels.
advice for established / old illustrators

Uh-Oh, I don't know if I am in the place to give established illustrators advice. The one thing I am trying for myself, is that I ideally want to solve problems a long time before they become urgent. Like inventing new directions and stylistic approaches WAY before clients stop calling for the old ones.
all images copyright christoph niemann
i STRONGLY suggest you check out his ongoing blog with the New York Times:
and his wonderful website: http://www.christophniemann.com



where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
Kansas. My parents are from the East (New York/Massachusetts), so that makes me a bit East meets Midwest.

amazing website URL! pretty much lets people know what they're getting into right off the bat huh?

If someone made the effort to type in all 73 characters of my url then I like to think they really want to be there. I'm constantly updating and have a hard time editing myself both in person and in my work. Currently, http://httpcolonforwardslashforwardslashwwwdotjenniferdanieldotcom.com is at an obese 84 projects. I confess, sometimes I check my site just to see what I'm up to.

According to your artist information (a nice mix of Lorem Ipsum and facts) you state a "love for tacos". Can you talk about that?
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

How did your stint with themorningnews.org come about?
Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack are great human beings. The Morning News is a really unique place where it's personality directly reflects the disposition of all the writers. I had been reading it for years and emailed them a fan letter, a lock of my hair, and said I would love to contribute. They responded back with love and hooked me up with Todd Levin and we created a series of video diagrams. Since then, TMN and I have collaborated on some other really great projects like their first Annual (TMN is an all digital publication so going to print was a big deal), and a t-shirt or two.

your work is really clever and i mean REALLY clever...how do you brainstorm? Seriously, where are these ideas coming from?
Unfortunately, there is no secret to the way I work. I sit in front of a computer with an oversized wacom tablet, a collection of half filled sketchbooks, a hard copy of the the assignment, half empty coffee cups, and just think. . . until a new episode of LOST is on.

do you consider yourself a designer as well? I mean, your work is pretty designy...
Most designers think I'm an illustrator. Most illustrators think I'm a designer. My mom thinks I'm adorable. I'm somewhere where the three intersect.
at the bottom of your insanely well laid out website lies the joke "A Rabbi, A Priest, and the Pope walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this? Some sort of joke?" - how does one decide to finish with THIS particular joke?
I love a good laugh. My grandmother can tell a real good dirty joke. Whenever my family gets together we laugh a lot- 70% because we're funny and 30% because we're drunk. I guess, like most designers, I'm really freaked out about people not liking my work, which in my case often means people not getting my sense of humor. I end my website with a joke- as a last resort. If you didn't laugh yet hopefully you'll chuckle at that.

the majority of your work looks digitally created, do you work traditionally as well?
I think if I were to refresh this website in a few years "digital" will be "traditional". If Albrect Dürer were alive today he'd be an illustrator.

are all the stenciled pieces actually stenciled pieces?
Yes! Both my boobs and stencils are not fake.

you do alot of work for the New York Times, is that right? Thats pretty cool.
Yes, I have a really unique relationship with the Times. I do a lot of different things there that range from art direction, designing, chart making, coffee drinking, lion taming and illustration. I'm usually working in my studio but if someone is sick or on vacation the Times gives me a call and I work behind the curtain.
you went to Maryland Institute College of Art, how was that experience?
I love Baltimore and I go back as much as I can. MICA is between three culturally diverse cities- D.C., Philly, and New York. This accessibility was a significant shift to everything for me when I was 19. Growing up in Kansas- well, I had never had this kind of freedom before.

The illustration department has a really dedicated dept chair (Whitney Sherman) and even though I studied design I tried registering for as many illustration classes as I could. I never really thought I was "good enough" to do illustration so I became a designer. I know that's horrible to say- but I figured I couldn't be one I'd work with them.

Ellen Lupton is the head of the design department so I was really lucky to be surrounded by two really strong, smart, and successful female professionals.

did you feel prepared for the real world upon graduation?

if Im hiring you as an AD what should i expect?
Expect nothing. I'll exceed all of your expectations and not disappoint.

how important is living in New York for you both is general and as a creative? I've always wanted to live in New York. I didn't know if I was going to be a lawyer, an artist, a fireman, an astronaut, homeless, a mom, a parole officer, a psychologist, a unicorn chaser, a princess or what. New York was less a destination and more a part of who I wanted to be. I love it here. As far as the "importance" of living in New York for being creative- well, I just think it's important to surround yourself by interesting things and what you're curious about and it will seep into your work. This isn't necessarily unique to Brooklyn- but if you walk down the streets here and don't find something interesting well- you're not looking.

wheres your work currently going / where am i going to see it in 5 years?
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stylistically, how did you wind up where you are now?
I come up with the idea first- and usually that dictates the style.

what are some major influences in your work?

Lisa Frank, Mussolini, coffee.

you're only 26 and really successful...what the hell? what 5 things can young illustrators reading this at home do right now to be exactly as popular and well known as you (aka advice for new / young illustrators?)
I'm not convinced I'm in a position to give advice. I came to do illustration in a very haphazard way so I am am not sure how to answer this. I just try to (as much as possible) to keep doing the things I don't feel like is work and that makes me happy. The idea making process is grueling but oh-so-worth it in the end.

all images copyright Jennifer Daniel




where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I am from Cambridge, Ontario Canada. It's a smaller city just west of Toronto. I've been creating images all my life. I've been professionally illustrating for a little under two years now.

you've had quite a bit of "out of the gates" success, can you attribute that to anything?
In my opinion it has a lot to do with hard work, persistence, patience, passion, and a little of the "I really don't care" attitude. What I mean by that last part is that when you send out promos for example, you need to not care about the response. Maybe not caring is the wrong choice of wording here but it's just that you need to just keep doing and less worrying whether or not an art director is saving your card or throwing it in the trash. The fact is that you have NO control of that and not to mention you have no idea of how busy they are. They could love you to pieces and want to work with you badly but just not have an assignment suited for you. Then one day whamo. They call. But to get to the question I really just don't think too much about what I'm doing. That is I observe very carefully as to what the most successful illustrators are doing, I take notes, I apply what works for me, and then run with that.

how crucial has Levy Creative Management been in that success?
Um...well I'd like to think of myself as a good networker and capable of getting lots of work. However. My rep has been amazing to me. She has had my work in the hands of some people that I don't think would have seen it otherwise. I think she's been crucial to the speed at which I've seen some success. I also have learned an awful lot about the business really quickly and she's been very supportive the entire way. It's like having a coach in your corner all the time. I'm really grateful for all Levy Creative has done.

how important in promotion for you, what do you do to promote yourself?
Promotion is overrated. ONLY KIDDING. It's so important. Well obviously I have my rep to promote me. Other ways I guess would be by keeping a blog and Facebook. I've really enjoyed the networking aspect of Facebook. It's amazing to be able to connect with so many talented illustrators, designers, art directors, and art buyers and all around good people just by a click of the mouse on that old Add as a Friend button. The more you do that and the more people you connect with the greater your chances of more people seeing your work. I think a little blind faith helps. Just put it out there anyway you can and hope your work catches the eye of the right person. Oh and emailing. I found more success from emailing art directors then I did with sending them direct postcards. However I know they like to have the physical thing so keep doing that.

what are your thoughts on the popularity of the pen and ink style right now?
I think it's great. It puts an emphasis on drawing. I think it also forces people to think more about concepts. At least that's been my challenge. I find myself trying to push my concepts farther. I think it's a trend right now. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm in it. I mean if you look way back in the day there was a lot of work like this. Just pick up an old mechanics magazine from the sixties. They were full of pen and ink style of work. I'm sure the style of the day will move on. We'll all adapt to the change and as a result we'll all change with it. It's like fashion. But really I don't really think about it much. I know my style will change slightly as time goes on. I hope it does. If not then I'm probably not really growing much as an artist.

how was your experience at sheridan college? - did you find yourself prepared properly for the real world?
Sheridan is a take it or leave it program. I recommend the illustration program to anyone I come across. However I know others who think it's a waste of time. It's what you make of it. I was in it more for the connections I made then the actual content. That being said I think it definitely prepared us for the real world. We learned so much about the business aspect. It was great because it was like being sent out into the real world with a tiny little pocket sized safety net. I'm really glad I went to that school.

your work is always so playful, the concepts always seem so "twisted innocent" to me. how do you go about solving problems / coming up with ideas?
Well the first thing I do is think of how can I make it funny. How can I make myself laugh? Even if it's a serious topic there's gotta be something in there that will put a smile on someone's face. That might change slightly if I get a really serious topic. I haven't yet had an assignment that was SO serious I had to be calm. I just try to think of the ridiculous because really the world is a little ridiculous at the moment so why not add my little bit to it.

stylistically, how did you wind up where you are now?
Well I guess I'm an influenced by old images so I like to add that messy look to things. Also I'm too impatient to make my lines perfect. I also really love color. If possible I try to make my pieces really colorful.

where do you see yourself going?
For now I just want to build my client list. I see myself winning lots of awards, being published in all the big magazines, being featured in all the industry annuals and showing in galleries all around the world. The major thing I'd like to see come out of all that is that I inspire other people that are in the position I was in back in school. Just little sponges eager to learn. I plan one day to open a "Passion Centre." I need more help for that and I'm sure I'll find it when the time comes. It will be a place that people will come to get inspired to find the passion or "fire in their bellie" and pursue it with vigor.

thoughts on working traditionally vs. working digitally?
I think both are important. It's funny because I was all digital thinking oh it's faster. HA. Aren't I the ignorant one. In fact working digitally can be even slower. It's just more convenient at times when an art director calls and asks if you can change the sky from blue to red. Click, Click, Click and it's done instead of doing the whole thing over. It's been a bit of a saver for me.

you come off as a super positive, caring guy - would you like to give a little on your life philosophies?
Sure. We're all gonna die. So if that's the case, then why not have fun. I try not to take life too serious so that I can seriously live. For me it's just way easier to be positive then negative. I feel so drained and tired after a day of feeling negative. I also just love making others laugh or putting a smile on other peoples faces because in return I get filled with joy from doing that.

how has illustration helped you grow personally / spiritually?
I've learned a lot about the business which has helped me act and be a little more professional. Also I've learned - slowly - how to really put who I am into my work. I guess I'm more conscience of who I am as an illustrator because I'm constantly finding out who I am as a person.

whats your turn around time like?
Oh lightening speed. I'm super fast. I get stuff done in an hour or so. But that's when I actually get down to it. That's after the days of procrastination and I have a few hours until the deadline. Who am I kidding? It takes several hours to get something really good. I've been able to do it faster for tight deadlines. The pressure helps speed things up.

how are climbing (not sure of the technical term for this) and illustration linked? How important is it for you to get out of the house and do these things.
I suppose the connection can be that you're the only one who can really push you to get better. In climbing it's a matter of how strong you want to get or how good you get. If you don't put your mind into it you're not going to make it to the top. You don't have a team to take over if you're tired. You gotta push on. The same goes in illustration. When it comes to your career you're the only one that determines how high you get. I find it super important to get out of the house and be social. I think it helps generate fresh ideas. I come back refreshed and ready to get down to some work.

your graduation year seemed to hold some amazing talent - are you still close with anyone from your year?
I keep in touch with a few people from my year. There are definitely a lot of us who are doing really well. I'm really proud of all the people I graduated with.

think you'll ever teach?
I'd love to teach one day. I think I need to do what I'm doing for a while longer so that I have a leg to stand on but I would love the chance to give back to students the same way that the teachers I had inspired me.

anything in general you'd like to see get more hype (good movie, book, food, dog etc)
Slumdog Millionaire, my friend Chris and his music, italian food, and um Empire of the Sun.

advice for new / young illustrators
Be confident in yourself, your work, and your future. Leave your egos at the door. I'll also borrow what the wonderful John Hendrix told me once. Meet your deadlines everytime, all the time, and don't be a dick and you'll always get work.

advice for established / old illustrators
My advice for the established people is to keep killing it like you're doing. Keep doing your stuff. You're inspiring people more then you know. There really isn't much advice to give them because I'm still getting so much advice and inspiration for the old illustrators. They are my heroes and heroines.

all images copyright Michael Byers
check out his work! www.michaelbyers.ca



so you went to University of Utah is that right? If im not mistaken Alex Nabaum went there - maybe you guys knew each other?

how was your university experience? did you feel ready for the real world upon graduating?
The experience was okay ... but I learned at ton more from traveling and online. I think it really depends on how a person learns. Some people learn better in a structured environment like university, while others learn better in non-traditional ways.

you currently live in Argentina, how did that come about?
I came to Argentina to learn Spanish ... I fell in love with the place and stayed. Now I have a son that was born here so I am here for the long haul :) ... luckily I love the place and wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

have you done some extensive South America traveling?
I have traveled around South and Central America ... here are some pictures ... just click on the links at the top to see the various locations

how much has your environment had an effect on your work?
I think everything effects a persons work ... here is how my environment has affected mine... http://www.n8w.com/newweb/hola-amiga.php

how did Alexander Blue come about?
I created the alter ego Alexander Blue so I could do another style of illustration, but not confuse Nate Williams clients. I think every illustrator realizes you must have a strong consistent style, but struggles with committing to just one style. This is how I dealt with the struggle ... just created other personalities for other styles, problem solved.

why illustrate as an alter ego, why not just Nate Williams portfolio 1, portfolio 2?
I think that still confuses clients ...
The first step to a successful illustration career is to find your voice - a unique consistent style. A lot of artists have trouble committing to one style at first because it kind of goes against an artist’s nature of exploring and not limiting their expression - but as an illustrator, art directors hire you because they want to give a project a specific tone/feeling and they need to be able to count on your work being a certain way for their project, campaign, etc. Imagine if you bought a Metallica CD and it was full of acoustic Bolivian folk music ... wouldn't you would be kind of confused???
Art directors usually don’t want to play style roulette. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t do other styles, it just means when you present them to art directors you have to have consistency between the body of work. A number of illustrators, writers, and musicians work under various names for this particular reason. Here is a really good book to read regarding this subject:

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
by Al Ries and Laura Ries

do you prefer one style over the other?
I prefer Nate Williams over Alexander Blue .. but both are fun to work in .. I just feel the Nate Williams style is more unique than the Alexander Blue stuff.

what gave you the idea for illustrationmundo?
When I used to do more programming there were numerous web sites I frequented where I could discuss programming, get advice and find inspiration. When I decided to change my career path and become an illustrator I just assumed the same type of sites existed for illustrators, but when I looked for them I wasn’t able to find any web sites with the features I was looking for. So, I decided to create a site myself with the following objectives in mind:
  • Just Illustration - A place where ILLUSTRATION gets all the Love
  • Showcase all the great Illustrators in the world today and make it easier for Designers, Art directors and others to find them
  • Provide current information about the commercial illustration industry
  • Provide a central location where people can get inspired, share information and seek advice
  • Free!! - Participation is absolutely free- The only barrier to entry is that content submitted is relevant to illustration and of great quality

there are so many users doing so much updating, is it almost a full time job keeping the website (illustrationmundo) going?
I tried to design/program the site so it would be scalable. I programmed a custom content management system that could accommodate publishing articles, news, ranking illustrators, site registration, and have a searchable Question and Answer database. I also wanted to facilitate user submitted news, so I programmed a tool where registered users can upload images and submit their news regularly.
In order to manage all these submissions I created and programmed a custom approval and email auto responder system ... but at the end of the day there is still a human factor of approving content. Obviously editor's favorites and featured news are subjective, but I really tried to create a system that takes my opinion out of the equation. I created algorithms to float content to the top based on user behavior and give users a variety of ways to organize/search for content that makes sense to them. For example I think the favorites feature is pretty useful - if you like say Noah Woods there is a good chance you will like the illustrators he likes. Then you can sort those illustrator based on a variety of parameters.. newest, most clicks, most favorites, comments, etc.

you worked as an AD for a while, how much has that experience helped you appreciate the "other side" of the industry?
I think the biggest thing it taught me is how to market myself as an illustrator and how important it is to be easy to work with.

can you talk a bit about Art with Heart, specifically about your work with them?
In a nut shell Art with Heart reaches high-risk children, who have little or no control over their life circumstances and have the least access to mental health support. I was asked by Art with Heart to contribute to one of their projects. It was an honor. I think its extremely important to give back to society ... especially when you can encourage young people.

how could other illustrators get involved with that organization?
The creative director contacted me.

would you mind also talking about your work with "The Truth Anti-Tobacco campaign" as well?
Smoking is a personal decision. I have plenty of friends that smoke and I respect their decision to smoke, but when it comes to encouraging to people to smoke, especially young impressionable people - I don't want to be a part of that. I have been asked by numerous Tobacco companies to do work for big money, but I have always declined because I know they think my work resonates with young people and would be a great marketing tool to get young consumers.

is it ever crazy being Nate Williams? like, what i mean is that you're such a huge figurehead in the illustration community, is it weird to have a level of success that borders on fame...in the illustration community?
Haha ... thanks, but I guess I just don't think of myself as famous. I realize people know my work ... but I like to think of myself as very down to earth.
My top priorities are to feel good, make other people feel good, be an awesome dad, and enjoy life.

how long did it take for illustration to become your full time job? did your career have a "big break" - if so what was it?
It probably took about 2 years .. I think my first big break was doing a job for Converse http://www.n8w.com/image/art/elehemp
Instead of a company just needing an illustration, they were specifically seeking me out because I was known for creating that type of illustration.

your work is so playful, but you still provide work thats conceptually serious - how do you go about creating that balance as well as solving problems / coming up with ideas?
By living in a new environment it forces you to be aware of your surroundings and not live life on "auto-pilot" ... to do things out of desire instead of routine. Children have such a great state of mind. They think simple things are exciting, they are emotionally honest and they are extremely curious. When you move to a culture that is much different than your own culture you can achieve this state of mind as an adult. Mundane things become interesting because they are done differently than what you are accustomed to and everyday becomes filled with memorable experiences.

I think of “creativity” as a mixture of curiosity and appreciation for what’s around you. It’s a way to view the world. A creative person looks at something and wants to know how it works. Why it is the way it is? What is its history? Are there other things like it? We search for patterns to predict the future, etc. We don’t always have the answer when we want to know ... so we start to think of possible explanations ... in the process we not only answer our initial question but we think of possibilities that can be applied to other things.

The best ideas are drawn from your experiences. It's important to keep your subconscious well fed with information, history, nature, music, friends, family, conversations, emotions, physical activity, good food. One day all the info will enter the conscious mind in the form of a unique idea.

stylistically, how did you wind up where you are now?

I think we all start off imitating those we admire, but if you do something long enough you will be presented with problems you don't have the answers to. For example, you could imitate an artist's style, but at some point you will want to create something the artist has never created - say an airplane. The way you create that airplane will be unique ... this is when one creates something new. Overtime you have enough of these problems and solutions that you grow into your own style.

what are some major influences in your work?
From a visual standpoint I would say my influences come from typography, silkscreen art, low tech printing, children's drawings, folk art, Latin American and Asian cultures. After working for a number of years in high tech 3D rendered video game industry, I visually craved the opposite. I wanted to create things that were simplified to their essence, more organic, handmade, textured and incorporated the human touch .. such as accidents, mistakes and discoveries.
I really like doing hand drawn lettering because it combines something that is mechanical and adds a human touch. I like that mixture of mechanical and organic.

thoughts on working traditionally vs. working digitally?

Both have their advantages: digital is efficient and you can create things you could never create by hand. Whereas when I work traditionally, I discover a lot more by accident. Accidents are gold mines for ideas and innovation.

how important is getting out of the house and doing non illustration related activity - sports, movies etc.

Not only is personal work very important to me but also personal time. Having free time to discover and reflect in other areas of my life apart from art is extremely important (learning, thinking, inventing, exercising, being in nature, programming, eating, laughing, social interactions, relationships, relaxing, sleeping, etc). All these experiences influence my art and fuel my subconscious with information, ideas, and feelings that might eventually end up in my work. Personal work allows me to take risks, discover new things, talk about subjects that I might not be able to do when I am trying to complete a commissioned job on a tight deadline.

where do you see it going in the future?

I think in the future you will see me doing more products and projects. I have lots of ideas that are not art related ... more like inventions and it's just a matter of time before I figure out how to get these type of ideas to market.

anything in general you'd like to see get more hype
Twitter is amazing! I would definitely learn about it. Here you can find a ton of illustrators on twitter

advice for new / young illustrators
Well apart from having a unique consistent style and great concepts I think personality is key. When I was an art director for Microsoft Xbox I hired numerous agencies to create online marketing tactics for our games (web sites, windows media skins, viral campaigns, etc). Having great work is mandatory - but being easy, fun and flexible to work with can give you the edge. At the end of the day people are people and it's always nicer to work with someone that will make your job easier .. not harder.

Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing and services like Twitter, linkedin, and social networks are really starting to facilitate word of mouth ... so much so ... that sites like twitter are becoming a real threat to traditional search engines such as google, because instead of indexing web sites its indexing real conversations … it’s indexing word of mouth.

All this being said, every person you work with can have a positive or negative impression of working with you. This impression is passed on like a snowball and can help or hinder you. Value your relationships.

advice for established / old illustrators
I think it's important to embrace new ways of working and technologies like twitter, facebook, flickr and to be generous and encouraging with young artists.

All images copyright Nate Williams

Thanks Nate, you rule!!!



where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I work out of Toronto and I have been illustrating professionally for a year.

what are some of the challenges you are finding as a new illustrator?
As with any freelance job or self-employed career, making a name for your self is a huge challenge.

what are you doing to overcome these challenges?
Networking is a great way of getting your work out into the open. Getting involved with artist communities and events allows you to meet new people face to face. This is a more intimate way of promoting yourself as oppose to a cold call.

how crucial is promotion to you at this stage? how do you stand out?
Promotion is must for me right now, no doubt about it. It’s been constant research for me, trial and error, trying to narrow where my market is. It’s a huge time and money investment but you have to do it. I believe the best way to stand out is to get people familiar with your name and what your name means. I think that when people see your promos they should get a sense of your personality, style, work ethic, and quality. I try to stand out by having well designed promos and branding but not be too cold or mechanical. That’s where the looseness, freshness, and rawness of my work come into play. For me it has to be a balance of both. This is how I try to stand out.

how was your experience at sheridan college? - did you find yourself prepared properly for the real world
Sheridan was great. Awesome faculty. They are not only my mentors but friends as well. The training was serious I found. All of the assignments were mock-ups of real scenarios in the field. To be honest though, nothing can fully prepare you for the real world. It’s a lot different when you’re dealing with art directors as oppose to teachers. However everything I learned at school has come into play with the assignments I’ve gotten so far and so far so good. So kids, go to Sheridan!

your work always has a deep, almost personal element to the concepts, how do you go about solving problems / coming up with ideas?
I try to find my point of view of the theme or concept and express it visually. After lots of roughs I narrow down the designs that say my point of view and are legible by to other viewers.

stylistically, how did you wind up where you are now?
My style is definitely an extension of my childhood. Comic books
and after school/Saturday morning cartoons are a huge influence to my
work. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been interested in classical
animation. I love looking at animation cells. I remember going to
Orlando in ’92 and visiting the animation studio at Disney World. I
was so amazed by the work and the process that it stayed with me all
these years. I really like the contrast of the flat characters on the
painted backgrounds. I also used to catalogue and copy all my
favorite comic book characters. These things just stuck with me. I’m

what and WHO are some major influences in your work?
Wow to many to mention but I won’t leave this blank. Primarily I would have to say the faculty and students of my graduating year at Sheridan. This is a group of great people that pushed me to always do my best.

working traditionally vs. working digitally
I’m leaning more towards the working traditionally side but the digital age has made editing and revisions so much easier that its critical to learn both especially on tight deadlines.

music is a big part of your life, how has it influenced your illustration?
I love the funk! It’ll be with me forever. The funk has rawness to its sound, just like classical animation and comic books of the golden and silver era. Not too mechanical but controlled rawness, just the way I like my illustrations.

if you could choose either illustrating fulltime, or dancing fulltime - which one would it be?
Illustrating fulltime. Dancing is here to stay with me but I just can’t get myself to do it fulltime. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my view in the future.

how are you finding torontos art / illustration scene? any plans to move to NY for a while?
The Toronto art/illustration scene is great. Being around it had helped keep art drive up. It’s been really important for me to involved and interacting with the scene. You just feel motivated to work. I plan to visit NY over and over again but no plans as of yet to move.

whats your turn around time like?
Always on time

where do you wanna see your work 10 years from now? basically, where do you see it going?
I’d like to see my work still in print but as well in animation and film. And I’d like to eventually teach and art direct.

any trends in illustration right now you'll be glad to see leave?
All the trends that are not funky can leave the premises.

anything in general you'd like to see get more hype?

advice for new / young illustrators
Just keep going!

advice for established / old illustrators
Keep doing what your doing and thank you for paving the way.

all images copyright mark cabuena
check out his work online at www.markcabuena.com
more to come this weekend! - stay tuned!!!



Alex Nabaum is the first person ever to be featured on Nonslick. He's an amazing illustrator as well as a real icon to me and I'm sure many of you. I hope you enjoy learning about his life as much as i did, and please if there are any follow -up questions you have be sure to post them in the comments section. And now, enjoy!

where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I grew up in Littleton, Colorado a suburb of Denver. I've been illustrating for money since I was a kid, typical class artist. One difficult "client" in 5th grade, picked me up by one ankle and held me upside down after I missed a "deadline". (He was a huge kid, went on to play college football - the subject matter was, Blue Thunder the super police helicopter). I've never missed a deadline since... well I've been a few hours late on occasion.

how long did it take for illustration to become your full time job? did your career have a "big break" - if so what was it?
I've been a fulltime freelance illustrator since 2003-2004.
During high school I worked as caricature artist at Casa Bonita (of South Park fame), in Denver, and during college traveled all over the West
(as far as Alaska) during the summers drawing caricatures at state fairs, proms, rodeos and festivals. Got heckled a lot, oh the stories...
My junior year of college I got a job as a newspaper illustrator and then over the course of about 5 years developed a portfolio good enough to not be embarrassed by.
My boss Bob Noyce was great, he let me experiment and do whatever I wanted, as long as it communicated.Funny thing, last year I started getting some jobs from his son Sean who is now an art director at Newsweek.
I sent out a promotion in 2001, and got my first job from Darwin magazine. The first AD's I worked with was Kaajal Asher and Paul Lee. Then the freelance work slowly built up until I was able to quit my night job at the newspaper a few years later.

how was your experience at utah state? - did you find yourself prepared properly for the real world?
USU was a good school, I went there because I had an academic scholarship and it had a decent illustration program at the time. I could have got more of an art education there, but I was more interested in dating girls.

your work always has a great conceptual angle, how do you go about solving problems / coming up with ideas?
How do I come with ideas? It's mainly persistence, trying multiple directions, drawing alot of bad ideas but disregarding them the second I have the slightest inkling that the are bad and moving on. When the ideas aren't flowing, use a thesaurus, look at or sketch general pictures of the subject matter and if still not flowing then I'll take a 5min break to sweep the studio, pump the music and dance like Napoleon Dynamite (one nice thing about working alone), do some pushups or jump rope to get the blood going, then back the drawing board. The good ideas are out there, you just have to keep digging. If you know of any short cuts let me know.

stylistically, how did you wind up where you are now?
Stylistically was just a slow evolution, it's still going on. Sometimes I'll change my style a bit to fit the idea, more cartoony with more line or more texture and shape. Sometimes my style really helps a piece, but just as often it get's in the way of communicating the idea.

what are some major influences in your work?
Major influences were my father who was a commercial artist for a bit, Eric Carle, Ezra Jack Keats, Charley Harper, Jacob Lawrence, Chris Van Allsburg, Frederick Leighton, Patrick Devonas, Ana Juan, Luba Lukova, Kara Walker, Grant Wood, David Hockney, Brian Cronin, Christoph Niemann and every good conceptual illustrator, there are a lot, including you Pete!

working traditionally vs. working digitally
I work traditionally in gouache but I tweak the painting in photoshop bumping up contrasts and fixing things that didn't come out right, which is most of the time. Sometimes I fantasize about working completely digitally but I can't leave the charm of the paint despite it being slow and hard to control, but who knows...

do you listen to music when you work?
When I'm concepting I don't listen to anything, when painting I like to listen to books or podcasts on economics, politics, foreign policy, history, university lectures etc. But when I'm tired or on a super tight deadline I'll listen to fast music to keep me moving, all over the board there just whatever sounds good at the moment.

is it weird supporting a family as a freelance artist, like, are there ever freak out moments?
It is weird supporting a family as a freelance artist, I try not to think about it too much otherwise I might have a mental breakdown. When I have an occasional slow week, I'll freak out, but so far I've been blessed to have plenty of work. Turning down work is hard for me, but you have to in order to keep the quality high.

are you a cool dad?
Am I a cool dad? You'd have to ask my kids.... the oldest would probably say no! but in my defense, me and my boys are always shooting off illegal fireworks, and a few weeks ago my oldest daughter (10) and I ran into a mountain lion while cross country skiing....that was cool.

how important is getting out of the house and doing non illustration related activity - sports, movies etc.
As for getting out of the studio, no problem there, I've got a wife who thinks she's a professional athlete and 4 active kids, I'm involved with my church's youth group (LDS) and I'm totally addicted to backcountry skiing, Utah has abnormally light and fluffy snow that's why I can't leave , unless global warming ruins it that is... (flirted with moving to New Jersey but couldn't commit) But I don't travel near as much my associates, which I should, although I have lived in Italy and China for a time during college. I used to commute on a train when I worked for the newspaper and would sketch the passengers endlessly, I miss that now that I have a studio right next to the house.

can you think of a favorite job you've done, or AD you've worked with off the top of your head?
Some of my favorite jobs were a Book review for the LA times of Europe Central, AD was Wesley Bausmith and NY Times Book Review of "Nine" AD Nicholas Blechman and most recently a job for Atlanta Magazine about civil rights for the handicapped AD was Eric Capposela. I had an ongoing weekly piece for Newsweek's global investor column for going on 2years now that's been surprising enjoyable, AD has been Leah Purcell. Another ongoing job for over a year for the generations column with the New York Times with Peter Morance and Richard Weigand.

where do you wanna see your work 10 years from now? basically, where do you see it going? In ten years, I hope to branch out into some books, galleries and more personal work. Right now I just react to the jobs coming in, which I really enjoy, the problem is it's hard for me to turn down paying work to do personal work, but it's an investment I'm forcing myself to do.

any trends in illustration right now you'll be glad to see leave?
As for trends in illustration, I can't think of a negative one right now, I like the huge variety of work right out there right now, there doesn't seem to be a certain star everyone is trying to ape.

anything in general you'd like to see get more hype
More hype for Indian food, someone please come and start one in my little mountain town!

advice for new / young illustrators
If the work is good, it can't be kept a secret.

advice for established / old illustrators
Be insanely easy to work with.

all images credit and copyright Alex Nabaum

Please be sure to check back soon for new interviews by Mark Cabuena, Nate Williams and many many more