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Posts Tagged ‘Illustrator Spotlight’

DHSpotlightI was first introduced to David Heatley’s work when I saw the book trailer for Otis Dooda by Ellen Potter. When I found out that David had also created the catchy tune I knew I had to introduce this talented musician/illustrator to our readers.
BIO:
David Heatley is an artist and musician living in Queens, NY with his wife and two children. His drawings have appeared in numerous books and publications and on websites throughout the world, including: NIckelodeon MagazineThe New YorkerThe New York TimesBest American Comics andMcSweeney’s. Otis Dooda is his first book for children. When he’s done drawing for the night, he can be found playing and recording music around New York City. He is the co-founder of Dream Puppy, a record label that will release the soundtrack to Otis Dooda: Strange But True at the end of June.

Illustrator Spotlight:

WOTS: Are you working on any new projects that you can tell us about?

DH: I’m always working on 20 different things at any given time—TV show ideas, new songs, music videos, etc. Most are not at the stage where I can mention anything. But I can certainly tell you about drawing Otis Dooda 2: Downright Dangerous. I’m having a blast! I’m also planning a video for Potted Plant Guy which I hope will be done by some time in July.

PottedPlanGuy

WOTS: What artists do you look up to, and how have they inspired your work?

DH: In the kids’ book world, my heroes are Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry, Margaret Wise Brown, Eric Carle, Roger Hargreaves, Clement Hurd. Charles Schulz’s Peanuts is also a big inspiration. He’s someone who did so much with so little space. These scratchy little doodles, which were as natural for him to draw as his own handwriting, added up to a whole world of personalities and emotions and became a truly great work of art. Towering above them all for me is Jim Henson. He left a massive impact on the world and as far as I can tell is universally loved. I think what they all have in common is that they gave so much more than whatever was asked for on each project they did. You can tell if an artist is just “phoning it in” and doing a job or if they’re a little bit crazy—irrationally pouring everything they’ve got into a book or a TV show out of some personal need. I like the crazy ones.

Jim-Henson-560x311

WOTS: Describe your studio or usual work space for us.

DH: I can walk to my studio from my home in Queens. The pre-war buildings and tree-lined streets gradually giving way to dingy auto repair shops and a stretch of industrial buildings. Inside one is an immaculate and ornate hindu temple. Another is a poultry slaughter house. The business that we’re directly above does “Hood and Duct Cleaning.” I love the weirdness of it all. An enterprising neighborhood artist friend of mine organized the space so a dozen of us could have reasonably-priced studios that weren’t in danger of being converted into luxury lofts any minute. We’re in a converted office space, so there’s AC and heat (something the last two studios of mine were sorely lacking). It’s quiet. I’m the only one there some days. My studio mate Helen is there about the half the time that I am. She does prop styling for magazine and silkscreen prints of her drawings. We chat a little and catch up and then listen to NPR and work quietly. I have a nook that I built myself with a curved wall partially covered by soundproofing foam. There’s a drafting table across from a long wooden computer desk which I built for myself. In this cozy little space, I can draw, scan, print, create animations, videos, websites and record music. I can hardly believe what I’m able to make happen there sometimes. In the shared space, we have some rolling industrial tables for spreading out and doing larger projects (Helen once filled the whole space with spray-painted pumpkins for a magazine shoot). In the far corner is my band saw and other woodworking tools. As someone who literally worked in the closet of our apartment when my children were first born, this space feels like a dream come true!

Otis_robot

WOTS: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

DH: Hmm… That’s tricky since I’ve spent my whole life trying to listen to my heart and have it guide me to the kind of work I most wanted to do. I’m not sure I’d be satisfied with anything that doesn’t involve drawing, singing and playing most of the day. That said, I’d love to teach some more. My ideal scenario would be to teach kids for a few hours every month. I love kids, but can only handle small groups of them or large groups very infrequently.

otis_skeleton

WOTS: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

DH: I like to rap and breakdance.

smoochie

WOTS: Which do you prefer more, your musical work or art?

DH: Another tough one. Art is soothing and solitary, but borders on loneliness. I can’t do it for very long without going nuts. The ideal is to be drawing while surrounded by people who know to leave you alone. 🙂 Music is social and collaborative and definitely more fun. But I’m an introvert and take in people’s personalities pretty deeply, so I can only take so much of that, too. I like having both to run to when I’m had my fill of one or the other.

MomandDad

WOTS: We here at Writing on the Sidewalk tend to procrastinate, where do you fit in Procrastinator or Proactive?

DH: I’m super proactive and have no problem being self-directed and getting stuff done—sometimes a little behind schedule, but usually not by much. That said, I do believe that creativity flowers when you feel free enough to waste some of your time doing frivolous things. So there’s plenty of Facebooking, watching Netflix, playing with Legos and drawing with sidewalk chalk at the park. I’ve notice that right now there’s all these studies being heralded in the business world saying that “play” is the key to true innovation. I could’ve told them that… I’ve known it for years!

WOTS: Thanks for stopping by to visit.

If you’d like to learn more about David and his art or Otis Dooda please check out the links below.

Happy drawing,

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk

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I had a chance to meet Terry Naughton at the Children’s Book Festival in La Mesa back in May. He was there to help promote the book My Personal Panther by Jerry Cesak, who I featured in an Author Spotlight two weeks ago. I was so impressed by Terry’s art I thought it would be fun to feature him on the blog. So, today I will do my very first Illustrator Spotlight. I hope you enjoy it.

Brief Bio:

Terry is a former animator with Walt Disney Studios. Now he’s a freelance illustrator. He was with Disney for 17 years, and worked on almost every feature film produced from 1985 until 2002. Some of his credits include: “The Beast” in Beauty and the Beast, “The Genie” in Aladdin and “Zazu” in the Lion King to name a few. Terry worked on projects with the N.F.L. book illustrations, sculpted sports action figures, story boards and some motion picture work (Warner Brothers). He was also an official football artist for U.S.C. and U.C.L.A. When not doing art, he enjoys sports of all kinds. He coaches  high school wrestling and is the strength coach for the football team. He was a competitive Olympic weightlifter back in the old days.

Illustrator Spotlight:

WOTS: Are you working on any new projects that you can tell us about?

TN: I am working on several new projects. First, Jerry Cesak and I have decided to start working on book 2 of the “My Personal Panther” series. Secondly, I have started to do some paintings that will be in a two man art show in a gallery in L.A. with Rich Arons. Also my Jungle Jocks series is being revitalized. These are a few new things I’m involved with.

WOTS: What artists do you look up to, and how have they inspired your work?

TN: My inspirations growing up and still today are: Darrell Millsap, Norman Rockwell, Frank Frazetta and for drawing Heinrich Kley. These masters taught me how to stay loose in my drawings. Norman and Frank were master story tellers in their art. Darrel Milsap taught me how to lose unnecessary edges in my paintings. All of these artists taught the world how to have passion for their art.

Norman Rockwell

WOTS: Describe your studio or usual work space for us.

TN: My studio is a 12 ft. by 24 ft. space. In it I have an area for painting and drawing and I have a space for 2 computers for my digital work. Like most studios, it’s a little cluttered. I have many paintings on my walls and many works from my mentors. My work hangs on my walls as a reminder that I am a talented artist. This may sound narcissistic but, really it’s a way to build up my confidence when I feel untalented or uninspired during a difficult period of a painting. I will look at my previous successes and say “See you can do this!” My mentors work is there for inspiration to strive to do work worthy of them.

WOTS: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

TN: Professional football player. It was my dream all the way into college. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in God’s plan for me. So I paint the football as if I played. I also watch and coach as much football as possible.

WOTS: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

TN: Most people don’t know that “I” was the first man on the moon, not Neil Armstrong!!! Ok, Ok, not true. Most people don’t know that I was a competitive Olympic weightlifter and I attempted to get in to the Olympic Games in 1984 and 1988.

WOTS: What did you use for inspiration for the illustrations in My Personal Panther?

TN: The best inspiration was Jerry Cesak (the author of the book) himself. Jerry knew just what he wanted in both characters, a very rare occurrence. Also, I had a cat before myself and used that experience. For the main character Lucy, I thought about 2 Disney girls from the Rescuers and Oliver and Co. for inspiration.

WOTS: We here at Writing on the Sidewalk tend to procrastinate, where do you fit in Procrastinator or Proactive?

TN: Getting started on any project is always difficult for me, there is always so much thought that has to go into it. Once I start, I tend to plow hard all the way to the end. I Hate, Hate, Hate, to miss a deadline!!! It doesn’t happen very often to me, I’m proud to say.

Thank you Terry for taking the time to visit with us.

If you’d like to learn more about Terry, you may visit his site or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk

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