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 Piece
For my promo piece, I decided to do a very simple letter illustration. S for Seo!
Challenge 18: Gig Poster for Minus the Bear
For this challenge, I finally had the wonderful opportunity to do a long awaited collaboration project with the incredibly talented artist, Aaron Wood. Aaron’s imaginative yet provocative renderings fit perfectly with the spirit of gig posters. Aaron doesn’t have a website yet, but if you would like to get in touch with him, don’t hesitate to email me!
Minus the Bear is an indie rock band from Seattle, and they have an upcoming gig at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. Check out their site here: http://minusthebear.com/
Challenge 17: Nostalgia for Steve Urkel
So for this challenge, I decided to illustrate one of my favorite characters from TV—Mr. Steve Urkel! You all may be familiar with the show Family Matters which aired between 1989-1998. He was the dork neighbor that always bust through the door of the Winslow family just at the wrong time. Go dorks!
Check out best of Steve Urkel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqzSJmv-cus
Interview with Seo Kim
After a little gap in interviews, we are picking up again with the lovely Seo Kim! Having already pocketed many unique experiences in her life, Seo presents us with work that has a quiet and confident wisdom behind it. This treasured traveling influence provides a worldly view, while maintaining a sense of playfulness that keeps her subjects fresh. I believe it is safe to say that Seo’s work is difficult to compare to much else, and followers of her portfolio are always excited to see her perspective and approach on the next illustration. Read on for a fantastic interview filled with valuable tips and inspirations!
Q: Seo, your work is so unique and wonderful. There’s something that I can’t quite put
my finger on, but recently, especially, it feels almost as if your illustrations are old souls. Tell us, what influences the mood of your pieces?
A: Haha, old souls…that is quite a compliment (I think? Ha). I guess I just have an
aesthetic that is pretty traditional and old-timey that is reflected in some of my pieces.
Some of my pieces are bright and playful, but recently I’ve been creating pieces that are
quieter—almost melancholy. I think this could be felt in pieces like Busan Map (above), because I was trying to stir up some nostalgic sentiment from this piece. I think the mood of my pieces largely depends on the subject matter and what I am trying to interpret.
“Tara Beverage Bottles”
Q: Explain your process, from start to finish.
A: I usually start out with incredibly rough thumbnails (that usually only I can
understand), and then move on to rough sketches directly on the Cintiq. I usually use the pen tool to break up areas in big color blocks, then proceed to more detailed rendering. I try hard to keep different elements on different layers so it can be easily adjusted later. I go back and forth from Photoshop to Painter, which largely depends on what aspect of the illustration I am working on—for instance, I usually use Photoshop for preliminary work, layer adjustments, and final touch-ups. I use Painter for any kind of “painting” or coloring that requires textural expression. I like textures that are rough and grimy, so during the final stages, I usually like to put a texture layer on top of my entire piece for textural cohesiveness.
Q: Do you have any particular quirks while working on an illustration?
A: I hate it when printers are not calibrated to the system they are printed from. Nothing
is more frustrating than when the color is completely off from the color you see on
your screen. Also, this is not really a quirk while I’m working on an illustration, but I
absolutely hate it when illustrators devalue the worth of a designer/artist/illustrator. I
know the real world is tough, and especially as a student, some extra money is always
nice. But just remember when you work for someone, oh let’s just say, on a work for
hire contract at $15/hour, you’re not only devaluing yourself as an artist, but you are also making it harder for all your fellow artists and illustrators out there who are trying to make a decent living out of this profession.
Q: What was your childhood like?
A: Wow, where to begin. Well, let’s just say it is incredibly hard to put my childhood
in a nutshell. My first journey to America was when I was six years old with my whole
family (Mom, Dad, older brother) and we settled in Durham, North Carolina for about a
year. Then we went back to Korea for two years, but promptly came back to N.C when
I was in the second grade with just my brother and my mom. Our family went through 4
years of the “lonely father goose” period (which is when the dad is apart from the rest of
the family to support them), but we reunited back in Korea when I was in the 6th grade. I finished 6-8th grade in Korea, and returned to N.C again to begin and finish high school.
There was a year when I lived with just my brother in high school, and then after he
went off to college, I basically lived on my own. I learned to be independent at a very
early age and had to go through things like college hunting, prom, and graduation, which most teenagers go through with the full support of their families. The last two years of high school were incredibly difficult for me, weaving in and out of depression and homesickness, but all in all, I think the life experience I had then made me the person I am today. I am strong, confident and assertive in everything I do, although I would never recommend any parents to send their child off to school in another country without some family member accompanying them. So as you can see, my childhood happened all over the place. I’m really happy it did though because you gain so much more in life when you have the opportunity to adopt two cultures at the same time.
Q: Who or what inspires you most?
A: Isabelle Arsenault is my all-time favorite contemporary illustrator. Her new children’s
book “Virginia Wolf” embodies ALL of the things I love about her art. Her illustrations are filled with beautiful floras, mixed media collages, and color palettes that are simple, yet never boring. Her sense of composition is impeccable; her composition is organized in a way that just makes perfect sense aesthetically, yet they are dynamic enough to draw your attention whether they are done with vibrant/dull colors/different rendering style. Her line work is so beautiful and eloquent. Her characters are so versatile and playful. There is nothing about her art that I could criticize. I could look and study her art all day long. Check out her site at http://www.isabellearsenault.com/.
Q: When was the most influential time in your life, as far as your work goes?
A: It’s really funny because before sophomore year in college, I had never even opened
Photoshop. And now I’m a full-on digital artist. I think the most influential time for my
work was during my junior year in college. My ‘style’ actually began developing during
this time and I think I started attempting my first digital illustration. I enjoyed being able to experiment with different layering techniques that was just like a traditional collage but found tremendous relief in how impermanent my decisions could be. I loved having the freedom to make changes without the burden of starting over from scratch.
“Grow Starter Kit”
Q: There is a lot of reference to organic forms in your work, including floral shapes. Do
you enjoy any specific outdoor activities that inspire your work in this way?
A: Haha do I! I love going hiking and going to gardens to look at flowers and plants. I just really love being outdoors in general. Ever since I was a kid, I loved planting seeds and watching them grow, and I think this directly came from my dad’s love of horticulture. We would go hiking together every single morning when I was a little girl (Korea is a mountainous country—pretty much everyone has a mountain in their backyard) and I would be fascinated with different plants and how everything changed from season to season. I guess this kind of connection to nature and the breathing, living world really resonates in my art.
Q: Aside from illustration, how you enjoy spending your time?
A: I love watching movies. Preferably sandwiched together between my boyfriend and
his dog Sadie. I’m an avid user of Groupon. I look at my phone a lot. I find pleasure in
making handmade cards for people I love. I like making sample art for my students to
see. I enjoy cooking and baking. I LOVE being outdoors. I dream about the day I will
have my own fantastic vegetable garden and chicken coop.
Q: If you could be anything other than a human, what would you be and why?
A: A cat. What a life, man. Lying around the house, finding warm places to sleep. Getting loved on by people you love. And you get to pounce around and hunt things if you want, or just get fed. You’re trustworthy enough to be left outdoors and independent enough to live on your own. Cat’s life pretty much sounds perfect.
Q: What does the future hold for Seo?
A: Well, I am actually starting graduate school in the fall at Maryland Institute College of
Art. So I’m pretty excited about that. But for the FUTURE, I hope to become a successful
freelance illustrator who teaches at a university part time. I would love to move back to
Korea at some point because I really miss living with my family. Since we had been apart
for so many years of my life, it feels like a luxury to actually spend any time with them.
But for now, I’m content working on my freelance projects and teaching little kids art.
Oh wait…does that sound like my future plan?
Seo being silly!
Q: Anything else you would like the readers to know?
A: Remember how you were probably the best artist in your high school? And you were
asked to draw stuff for people all the time? And then you went to art school—BAM!
You had a reality check and thought to yourself, ‘wow I was a big fish in a small pond.’
Well, as soon as you graduate, you realize that it is 100,000,000 times that. The world
is filled with so much talent and it sometimes makes me queasy how good people are.
What I realized after graduating is that a lot of the first jobs actually come from personal connections. (And that’s why it’s SO important to make connections during school!) Also, if you get lazy about self-promotion, then your career will also suffer from it. There comes a point where it’s not really necessary (because either you are so SWAMPED with freelance work or have an agent) but diligence really pays off since essentially you are self-employed. Ah, I’ll stop preaching to the choir. Alright then! Hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better!
See more inspiring work at www.seokim.com!
Challenge 16: Letter Playground “D Bird”
Say hello to D Bird. Oh, he says hi back :)
Challenge 15: Make-up (Challenge 3) Honey!
Hi all :)
A while back I was on a cross country road trip and missed couple of the challenges in the beginning. I have always wanted to do another product design, and I thought how perfect would it be to design honey jars?
I hope everyone enjoys my design! Happy Spring!
Challenge 14: What I Wore Today (Collaboration with The Pen Pals)
First of all, I want to say HELLO to the lovely ladies at The Pen Pals! This was a great/fun challenge and comforting to know there are others out there who are just as excited about illustrating as us. Your collective is super!
I have two versions, one which I probably am going to upload to the actual WIWT website that conforms to what they seem to do, and one that I created with a plethora of flora. EVERYTHING is blooming here in Durham right now, and I literally freak out every time I pass a cherry blossom tree. So I’m basically a mess these days—hollering “AHHHHHHH FLOOOWERS!!!!!” every corner I turn. I have not created anything traditionally in a while and with so much inspiration around me, I couldn’t help but pull out my watercolors and I just had fun with it. Believe it or not, that scan is 600 dpi, but the scanner they have at my school just doesn’t work like the good ol’ Epson 10000xl we had back at SCAD. Sigh….
Well anyhoo, hope everyone enjoys! Happy Spring everyone!!!
Challenge 13: St.Patty’s Parade
Hi all! Long time no post :( I am back now, healthier than a couple of months ago!
Unfortunately, I have only been to two St. Patrick’s Day parades during my four years in Savannah. I have ALWAYS wanted to dress up like a crazy person on St. Patrick’s day, but never got around to actually doing it. And so, I am relieving my desires by drawing a person in some crazy get-up! Ahh, I do miss Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day mayhem…
Challenge 10 Collaboration: Seo Kim and Caitlin Alexander
Pattern by Caitlin
Houses by Caitlin
Seo’s figures :)
Hello everyone! So, Caitlin and I were incredibly excited about our collaboration because of our distinct differences in the way we create our images, but because of the fact that we share a similar aesthetic (that we can’t exactly put a finger on), we knew our piece would somehow harmonize together. We decided to work around the theme “Relationships,” and wanted to portray something that describes the intertwined nature of relationships, and the new relationships we encounter as we have all transitioned into this new phase in our lives. I first handed Caitlin a rough image of the composition, including the figures and a color palette, and she came up with lovely patterns and houses. Then we both played around with the composition, and the arrangement of things. I put some finishing touches here and there and voilà! I hope you enjoy our piece. It was a lovely experience on my part, having the opportunity to collaborate with Caitlin!
Seo pretty much nailed the explanation of our process, so I won’t go much more into that, but I did want to say that this was the best collaboration I have ever had the opportunity to take part in. I feel as though we pushed each other harder to create a unified piece, and met each challenge with fresh ideas. Before this, I had a bit of a fear of group work, but after this experience, I would jump at the chance to illustrate with Seo again.
Seo & Caitlin