Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Q + A: Becca Stadtlander

Q: Do you work as an illustrator full time or do you have a “day” job?

I work as an illustrator full time (which includes nights, weekends, and wee hours of the morning) but I also work part time at a train display company out in the country, where I build miniatures of historic houses for train displays. It's really too fun to be considered a "day job".

Q: Do you have any advice for fighting creative block?

Taking mental breaks and doing something completely unrelated helps me. Trying too hard can be my worst enemy and just watching a movie or taking a walk can break my hypnotic obsessiveness. I get my best ideas for projects while I'm driving around in my car!

Q: How and when did you first become interested in art and illustration?

My interest in art making has existed since I was a little girl, so naturally I started looking into art schools when I was a teenager. I was sort of torn between painting and illustration going into school, but after my first year, I found that illustration was the best fit for my work.

Q: What was your first illustration gig? Did it go smoothly?

My first real job was a private commission for a client's wedding invitations. Overall it went smoothly, but I was still in school and it was bad timing. I had to complete the project while I was preparing for my senior show and moving out of my apartment. To make matters worse, my computer crashed the day the finals were due! Despite all the obstacles I completed the project on time and the client was happy.

Q: What has been your favorite Ten Paces swap so far? If you had to add a theme to the line-up, what would it be?

I'd have to agree with Alyssa and say the Harry Potter swaps. I'm a big Harry Potter fan, and all of them turned out so charming. I think the Honeyduke's swap is my favorite. I think it would be interesting to see a "weather" themed swap sometime in the future.

Q: What are a few favorite pastimes?

Making yarn on my spinning wheel, knitting, cooking, reading, and sleeping. If only I had time for pass times!

Q: Which piece would you chose to represent yourself?

I don't think I can pinpoint just one because I'd like to think everything I do represents myself in some way, but I feel most at ease when I'm painting outdoor scenery. That said, it would have to be something with a lot of trees in it. Maybe the goats piece because it was a gift for my best friend and it has a lot of meaning for me.

Q: What are you currently working on – a job, a personal piece?

I'm currently working on a series of 12 greeting cards for Red Cap Cards. They're a wonderful little stationary company and I'm excited to join their team of artists.

Q: Do you think you’re first illustration jobs came more from promoting yourself or from knowing people and having connections?

They definitely came from promoting myself. I think being aware of the art and design circle online, as well as sending out promotional material has helped immensely, especially through sites like Etsy and Design Sponge.

Q: Can you tell us about a time you failed or a time you should have done something differently?

I recently finished a project that turned out just fine, but was difficult to paint because I was too concerned with getting it perfect. I can become easily obsessed and I'll try so hard to get something right that I end up throwing it away and starting over several times. I said this before, I've learned that getting up and walking away for a while can really put my mind at ease.

Q: What is something new you have recently learned?

I've learned that having the right equipment in my studio saves time and money. I recently bought a new computer that is making things so much easier and faster.

More of Becca's brilliant work can be found here!