When did you first know you had a talent for drawing?
I always loved to draw, I was quite the “chalker” back in the day. I can remember my brother and sisters wanting to play road in the driveway with our bikes and play cars. We would grab the chalk with the intention of scribbling out a few lines to follow as the road, but when I would take hours meticulously drawing an unnecessarily detailed city scene for us to drive on, they had long ago moved on to another game. I think I may have realized I was good when I was younger, but I didn’t really grasp the idea of real talent until much later in high school. Even then I did not pay much attention to having that talent and just thought of drawing as an outlet for my crazy imagination. I knew myself as a talented athlete who just had a hobby in drawing.
Did you go to art school?
I did go to art school, but it took 2 years as a Psychology major with a minor in education to figure out that I needed to get back to the creativity of drawing. A friend had seen a doodle and suggested I look into the programs at RIT. That summer going into my junior year, I interviewed at Rochester Institute of Technology in attempt to be accepted as a graphic design student. I was interested in what I had been studying, but when I walked into the building and saw some of the student work hanging along the hallway I was ecstatic! I knew right then that I wanted to be a designer.
How much did your education shape the kind of art you make?
I was never a trouble maker in school but if there was ever one class that I would butt heads with a teacher it was art class. I would follow the stipulations and rules in what was being asked of me, but I have always liked to push the envelope a little. I refused to create that initial idea, the easy way out, everyone’s right-off-the-bat solution. Looking back, I was probably very frustrating to my high school teachers, but it was reassuring when the tables turned in college and pushing that envelope was a good thing. I think that my education opened up a world of new mediums and an even more detailed thought process in creating art. What many people do not fully grasp is some of the intricacies in portraying an idea and how an audience might “read” it. I find it to be a fascinating puzzle.
What are your favorite mediums?
I love the computer! You need to be able to use a computer these days, BUT nothing can replace a pencil, pen, and some old fashion paper!
Do you have a specific creative process when you’re working on a project?
I am a thinker. I used to make my college professors nuts with new projects as other students would come in already started and slowly and consistently complete work. I like to sit and think, and doodle, think, and jot notes, and then that solution comes to me and i’m “in the zone!” I love working on a time crunch with lots of pressure. I have always found it is when I do my best work and I would venture a guess that it is from the crazy, fast-paced, and competitive nature of my past in sports.
How long does it take you to complete a project?
That is very dependent on a project but I do love the tension of short deadlines. In my own work, for fun, I might create a character in 4 minutes, maybe an hour, or I may create something over the course of a week! Who knows!
What inspires you?
Aside from my family and friends who inspire me everyday, I would have to say my imagination and the memories of my childhood really influence my work. I love the innocence, whimsy, and complete trust of a child; all fun, no drama, anything can happen kind of mindset. Certainly take on the responsibilities and knowledge you grow with, but to forget about your imagination seems like a pretty boring life to me…
Who are your favorite artists?
The work of Disney and Pixar is insurmountable….I love their work not just for the characters, but for the development and the story lines. Dr. Seuss’ is forever a favorite, I love the fun of David Catrow’s work, and Tim Burton is a genius.
Computer excluded, What artists tools would you take with you on a deserted Island?
Aside from a pencil, pen, and paper, I would have to bring a bucket in order to make some pretty cool sandcastles!
Are there any online artists resources you can recommend?
I love searching through the work in IllustrationMundo.com, some of the feeds on Illustration Island are great, StumbleUpon can be a fun tool for taking a breather and seeing what you can find out there, and twitter is one of my favorites in meeting new artists and being inspired by other peoples work.
You can view more of Jessica’s work at:http://www.imaginizerdesign.com/