Are you using an old-skool Wacom tablet or some other kind of dark sorcery to make your luscious linework?
Yup! Just 100% dark sorcery, I make all the regular blood sacrifices.
Though the Old Gods must not like me that much because I only have a chewed-up wacom Intuos 3. From what I’ve heard, I wish I had a fancy Cintiq (though it would probably take a while to get used to), but I’ve been saving up to buy one at some point!
DO I EVER! (and thank you, Anon)
I tend to read sci-fi & fantasty books (escapism, here) but some of my favorites bridge other types of fiction too. If you’ve seen my Game of Thrones or Sabriel art you can probably already guess a couple!
My top picks, in no particular order:
The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (fantasy! Also probably my favorite book series ever)
Summer of Night by Dan Simmons (horror)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (sci-fi)
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (historical fiction)
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (fantasy—also the only Neil Gaiman book I enjoy)
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds (hard sci-fi)
Sabriel by Garth Nix (fantasy/horror)
And, for bonus points, youngster Kali’s favorite books were the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. (though rereading them as an adult doesn’t quite hold the same appeal!)
Hello Kali! I was wondering, how and when did you land your first job doing illustrations for magazines?
Hello there! Hmm, this is actually a two-parter….technically my first magazine job happened when I was in interning in college, but my next real job came my way because of another illustrator I knew. (I’ve gotten other jobs through emails, postcards, and word of mouth)
1. The summer after my junior year of college I interned at Carus Publishing in Chicago. I basically worked an an in-house illustrator for them (which they don’t usually employ) and did some illustrations for their various children’s magazines. It was a fantastic experience, and I’m happy to have continued working with them after school. I definitely recommend interning somewhere if you can find it/afford it! The more contacts (and experience) you have, the better.
2. Besides Carus, the first magazine job I got was for the Air Tran GO! Inflight magazine, after I graduated from MICA. Frank Stockton had to turn down the job, and recommended me to the art director. Frank had been one of my teachers at MICA my senior year, and I’ve always been grateful that he sent that first client my way. Whenever I have to turn down a job, I always try to recommend other illustrators that might fit the bill— friends, students, and artists I admire. I know many other illustrators do the same. We all try to help each other, so it never hurts to be friendly in the illustration community!
What books on illustration history would you recommend?
Hmmm! I actually don’t think I own any books that particularly focus on illustration history, but I do follow a lot of blogs that do a great job of talking about it. Here’s my favorite 3 that I’ve found so far:
Today’s Inspiration is THE place to find in-depth info & thousands of images for a whole slew of midcentury illustrators—from the more well known artists like Bernie Fuchs, to the many forgotten talents. Leif Peng, the blog’s owner, compiles life stories of hundreds of artists from 1st-hand accounts, interviews, articles, etc. and draws lots of interesting parallels to today’s illustration market.
Lines and Colors is another very informative blog that examines a whole range of illustrators from the past to the present (today there’s a great post about Howard Pyle, but a couple weeks ago Emily Carroll was featured), along with many gorgeous images. Links and sources are also provided if you want to do more in-depth research.
Illustration Art doesn’t always go into the history & lives of artists in great depth, but provides interesting commentary and examinations of the work for a variety of past illustrators.
Any chance you're going to start selling posters of your beautiful, beautiful horoscope drawings that've been rolling through Tumblr? I'd love to buy some.
Yes! I’m in the middle of setting up an online print shop with inPRNT, and will definitely put up a post when it’s ready. I’ve actually been thinking of drawing and handlettering all 12 horoscopes (once I have some time, that is!), and maybe selling limited edition runs of each one. Would something like that be appealing?
What issue of Vegas Magazine is your drawings in? I would love to buy the issue with them in it. They're so amazing, especially the Sag and Scorpio ones!
Thank you!! Each horoscope illustration has been in a different issue of Vegas magazine from last year, corresponding to the sign—i.e. Saggitarius was in the 2010 November issue…Unfortunately this means they wouldn’t be available now. Sorry!
This is The Cosmic Shroud. I created him for Rotopol’s Super Villains exhibit opening November 25 in Kassel, Germany. There are tons of really excellent artists taking part including Hellen Jo and Victo Ngai. This was a lot of fun, and I was so happy to be invited to take part. I wish…
Andrea Kalfas: supercool villain creator. I love it!
Hello,Kali what type about brush do you use with your works? ,and how do you add a texture to your works?
Hi there! I use some lightly textured custom brushes, but also custom brushes I’ve gotten from other people—these free Chris Wahl brushes are FANTASTIC: http://chriswahlartbrushes.blogspot.com/
I also add texture with scanned textures that I layer on top of my images in different opacities and layer modes like ‘overlay’, ‘multiply’, ‘color burn’, ‘soft light’, etc. (try a bunch out, the results can be really fun!) Besides scanning some yourself, you can find a lot of wonderful hi-res free textures at http://lostandtaken.com/!
How many layers does your photoshop file typically have? ever work with vectors? Thanks Kali! Love your work!!!!!- George
Thanks George! Oh geez, I do not have ideal photoshop etiquette… My photoshop files tend to be kinda messy, that Warrior Queen illustration has 13, but a more complicated piece that I’m working on right now has over 30 (although a lot of the layers are just grouped texture layers—and naming layers helps!) I haven’t worked much with vectors, but I probably should!
I'm jealous of your sense of colour. Do you pick them by instinct, or do you have specific methods that help you decide?
Thank you! I spend a lot of time fiddling around with color, it’s probably my favorite and most frustrating part of drawing. Sometimes I’ll have specific colors in mind, but other times it takes a while to figure things out— I like using a Curves adjustment layer in photoshop for easy color changes and tweaking. Coloring my image in grayscale to get the light/dark balance right and then adding color can be really helpful when I’m stumped or dealing with a particularly complicated illustration. Also, using a limited color palette is an easy trick to pull an illustration together and I take advantage of that so hard.