We have some pretty big news in the New Year!
Square Carousel has been going through changes over the last few months, and maybe some of you have noticed. We were terribly sad to see five of our members move on to new pursuits, and spent some time re-cooperating, and reaching out to potential new additions. Finally, in 2013, we can announce that we are once again solid with 10 wonderful Square Carouselians! Here are our new folks:
Courtney Wirth, an illustrator in New York with a love of comic books that adds spunk to her lively work, and youth to her heart!
Julia Yellow, originally from Taiwan and now in NYC, has an illustration portfolio with an incredible since of design and concept.
Sarah Carr hails from Florida, and illustrates with a retro feel that edges into modern times due to her clever color palettes.
Charlotte Jackson, working from Texas, fuses naturalistic portraiture with screen print-inspired graphic design, creating an illustration style all her own.
Chris Nickels, in Georgia, freezes memorable moments of time in his illustrations, and is always sure to add a peppering of humor.
We are so excited to be adding such talented artists to the group! Each one of these illustrators have a unique style and perspective, which we can see is already widening Square Carousel’s outlook on each challenge. Cheers to new beginnings, and a lovely group of people we can’t wait to illustrate with for years to come!
And where did our old friends go? Seo Kim and Maily Degnan were accepted into the Maryland Institute College of Art’s grad program, and chose to focus, understandably, on their education. Adela Kang did the same with her program at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Catherine Fontenot decided to expand and experiment with personal work, and possibly tattoo design. And finally, Moira Hershey believed it was time to pay more attention to her career at Wild Apple Graphics. We miss them all, and want to say thanks for the ride! It was wonderful to have you all on board.
Challenge 21: Self-Promo Card - Three Graces
For my self-promotional piece I chose to illustrate my own interpretation of the the three graces from Greek mythology: charm, beauty, and creativity. As a creative person, I believe individuals all have struggles with these three goddesses in our own way. This was just a fun piece, and I’ve been increasingly inspired by tattoo art.
Challenge 19 - Calendar Zine for May
For the month of May, I chose to illustrate a legend that I came across about the lily of the valley (the flower of May) and nightingale:
“One legend tells that the first lily of the valley loved the nightingale, but because she was so shy, she hid in the grass to listen to his song. The nightingale became lonely, and said he would no longer sing unless the lily of the valley bloomed every May for all to see.”
I thought it was a beautiful story that reflects the beauty of this summer month.
- Catherine Fontenot
Challenge 18: Gig Poster “Dia de los Toadies”
I did a poster for one of my favorite bands from the 90’s, the Toadies. One may have heard some of their popularly played songs, such as Possum Kingdom, on the radio (which they have many, many more awesome songs). This gig poster I chose to design is for the Toadies 5th annual concert in New Braunsfels, Texas called Dia de los Toadies (which I will be attending and can not wait!). They even have a new album coming out this summer!!! Check them out if you love some 90’s rock.
Challenge 16: Letter Playground “T is for Tiger”
I started a series of letters not too long ago with a vintage tattoo parlor theme. I’ve already completed 3 letters prior to this challenge, each representing some kind of traditional tattoo: A is for Anchor, H is for Heart, and S is for Skull. For this fourth addition, I chose to do T is for Tiger. So, I hope to add the rest of the alphabet in due time (maybe even tack on 1 or 2 more for this post)! Great pick for Challenge 16, Caitlin!
Challenge 15: Tigerlily Tea label design
This is a personal project to experiment with some hand lettering and label design. A made up brand called Tigerlily Tea; it was a fun project!
— Catherine Fontenot
Challenge 14: What I (Wish I) Wore Today
I have to say it’s been a great pleasure seeing this collaboration with the Pen Pals! I hope we do this together sometime again. So for this challenge, I did more of an outfit that I wish I wore today, haha! I’m still shopping to find that nautical striped blazer …
— Catherine Fontenot
Interview with Catherine Fontenot
Time to meet our resident scientific illustrator, Catherine Fontenot! Using her perfected technique as a tool, Catherine beautifully tells stories through the anatomy of creatures small and large. Her attention to detail is astounding and unique, as if the subjects of her renderings were telling her their secrets themselves. Catherine’s drawings are accurate, but still carry a personality of their own. Perhaps because of the way these creatures are clearly so lovingly created, Catherine’s openness and heart carry into her work, and brings out a little of the animal lover in all of us.
Q: Okay Catherine, first thing’s first: you capture the anatomy of animals so beautifully, and yet, these renderings still have a personality to them that you can call your own. How did you get to this perfect balance? Was it a conscious effort, or did your work just evolve this way?
A: Well, I’m pretty sure that I was just born an animal lover and never grew out of it. I have always had a fascination and desire to learn about them: anatomy, behavior, and character. It was definitely not a conscious effort; if anything, my illustrative interpretation of animals stems purely from my observations and feelings toward the subject. In choosing to focus on natural elements, I hope to remind viewers of one’s innate connection to the earth, its creatures, and to each other. However, when working on a specifically scientific illustration (like the cougar) I try to stay more objective than expressive. Yet the emotion from my hand still can’t be totally disguised.
“Save the Tigers”
Q: Who or what gives you the greatest inspiration?
A: Deriving much inspiration from the Golden Age illustrators, like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, and John Bauer, my unique style has developed into something of its own. Not only do these artists astound me in their ornamentation with delicate detail and fine drawing abilities, but also in their sensitivities to translate emotion. There is a timeless elegance about the mystical illustrations from the 19th century that spurs my imagination. During the onset of the Industrial Revolution, these artists were innovators in their own time, reconnecting an audience to the enchanting qualities of nature. I also like to keep a kind of mood board in front of my desk while I work, filled with visually inspiring things.
Catherine’s inspiration wall just above her desk
Q: Explain your process, from start to finish.
A: My creative process begins by making word lists of my initial thoughts or responses for a certain project. By intuitively mapping out my ideas, I obtain a concept truer to my own instincts. After selecting a handful of key words or descriptions I move on to sketching thumbnails. Then, I refine sketches with variations based on the chosen thumbnail often accompanied with lots of research. I prefer to use my original sketch as the basic drawing for my final, to preserve its originality and freshness. Going over my lightly drawn image, I use ballpoint pen in a way that imitates the textures and forms of the figures and surfaces. Inspired by nature and the Golden Age illustrators from the late 19th century, I tend to use limited color palettes. For color techniques, I either use traditional watercolor or work digitally.
Catherine’s sketches: Various figure studies, “Goult Windmill,” and “Bonnieux Afar”
Q: Do you have any particular habits when working on a piece?
A: First, I have to clean up the area I’m about to work in: keep everything all nice and neat. I like to be comfortable, have nice lighting, maybe a cup of coffee, and have my supplies laid out, so I don’t have to break my concentration when I start to work. Then, I love to listen to music that fits my mood while I’m working. Usually pretty loud, too … (sometimes I think I was also meant to be a musician)
Q: What do you want to achieve with your illustration career?
A: Materialistically, it is much less clear for me than when I was in school. Although I believe competitions, shows, and participation in illustration events or communities is very important, I am feeling less concerned with winning awards and more concerned with sharing my passion and work. I feel there are so many gifts that nature has planted to enrich our existence, and they tend to be under-appreciated unless a little time is taken to admire such precious things. I hope that my art can help free viewers’ censored psyches, allowing them to revisit the inherent human qualities that they otherwise would ignore.
Q: Did you have a period of time in your life that you see as instrumental in your development of style or viewpoint?
A: I lived in Saudi Arabia for 4 and a half years (from about the age of 4 to 8-years-old), and I really believe my childhood being spent overseas has made a huge influence on my perceptions and beliefs, my aesthetics, and my creativity. During that time, I attended an international school and had the opportunity to travel the world with my family. When I was 21, I also had an 8-week trip with SCAD’s study abroad program in Lacoste located in the Provence region of France. It was truly a priceless experience as a student, and even more so as an artist. Exploration and its experiences, I believe, are essential to anyone’s personal growth.
Q: How long does it take you to complete a work?
A: It depends on the size of the piece and the complexity. It’s difficult to give a particular time frame, but I would say between 1 and 2 days without interruption.
“Fromage de Lune”
Q: What superhero power would you have and why?
A: To be faster then any animal, have unlimited endurance, and to be immune to injury!!! Well, that goes both for running and for creating artwork, haha!
“Red Tail Hawk”
Q: Tell us five words you would use to describe yourself, without choosing any similar to “artistic,” or “creative.”
A: Hmmm, tough question. I would say intuitive, patient, hard-working, compassionate, and open-minded.
Catherine’s work can be found at www.cfillustrations.com. Be sure to check it out!
Challenge 13: Saint Patty’s Day Parade
Saint Patrick’s day parade in Savannah, GA just wouldn’t seem quite right without horse-drawn carriages and lots of beer!
— Catherine Fontenot