Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Illustrator interview: Sam Wolfe Connelly

How did you get to where you were doing work for all these cool clients, such as cohered & cambria and playboy? 
Each came about differently. Coheed was more of a chance thing, where Claudio and his wife found a fan image I drew of Claudio after i posted it online(I've been a huge fan of Coheed since 10th grade) and they happened to like it, and one thing led to another, and we wound up becoming friends, which was a dream come true. Playboy was more of me targeting certain publications I really wanted to work with, and making sure my work got in front of them, so I made a really embellished pamphlets with color prints and stuff... playboy ended up being only one that got back to me out of the 30 or so I sent, but I couldnt have asked for a better response.

What kind of work habits do you have? How do you keep from procrastinating? Whats a normal work week like? 
I usually like to keep away from tv when I need to get work done, so it works best if my work station is in a separate room and I can focus on what I need to do. I'd say a normal day (which you just need to multiply that by 7 and you get my boring, boring week) is wake up, eat, and try and get all my non-art work out of the way, like emails or self-promotion. Around 4 or 5 is when I really start to work on my art. I usually work until 3 am; late nights are always my prime drawing and brainstorming hours. Wash, rinse, repeat. I do try and keep the mindset that if I'm working on anything other than my art, I feel guilty. It's pretty terrible when you think about it that way, but at the same time, I really love drawing, so thats what I choose to do with most of my time.

What do you think has helped you be successful?
I'd say persistance. I havent gotten a leg-up with my career anymore than any other art-school kid has. The only reason that I've gotten certain great opportunities, compared to maybe someone else of my age is because I've probably been turned down 100 times as much as they have. Just because someone might attain something that you yourself might think is out of your league just means that you need to keep going for it, and keep getting rejected. Man, if I had a nickel for every time an art director has called my portfolio crap, I'd be making more money than I do off my art.

What do you want out of your illustration career?
To make millions of dollars. HA. Just kidding, I'll never be rich, i chose my path... I wanna move into fine art after I get my feet off the ground with illustration. And as far as fine art goes, I'd say that its been the same ever since I started doing art and that's just to get my feelings out there.

how do you plan to achieve this?
I just plan to keep making work and keep reminding myself what's most important to me. If art is important to you, you'll keep coming back to it, it's just a matter of maintaining your focus which can really easily be lost by other things...like friends or sunlight. (kidding about the last bit. kind of).

Do you do any self promotion?
I'd say 40% of my time is spent doing self promo. I've sent out maybe 1500 postcards over 2 years to art directors and whatnot, and honestly, havent gotten a SINGLE response from that. I usually dig up art directors' emails or make cool little hand-made mailers that i send out, usually only about 20 at a time, and that tends to work best.

In your view, what makes an illustration good? not just your own but illustration in general.
It's hard to say. I think you can learn as far as technique and skills they teach in classes can only get you so far. A good illustration is something that isnt forced, especially in regards to style. If you do what you love when you draw and not think about 'how many hits is this going to get online', then youll make great things, and people will see that within your art.

Where do you look for illustration outside of other illustrator work? what do you look at to gain inspiration?
When I'm looking for inspiration, I usually never look at other illustrators. It's a really good thing to look at what other professionals are doing, but it gets to a point when you need to start thinking of 'how am I going to solve this problem of a drawing' and not 'how does ______ solve problems in their drawings'. For inspiration I usually look at photos, and tumblr has been especially good for generating a library of ideas. I like to make little 'mood boards' of how i want a piece to look and it usually helps create a nice standard of style and ideas.

Oh, and I have a pet rat, I love pokemon, and my favorite show is probably a split between The Real World and Intervention.

I had two, abra and onyx, but abra died last valentines day. Honest to god, abra loved me more than any other creature on EARTH...onyx is kindof a bitch but, they're still the best pets ive ever had. I'll prolly wind up getting more later on. 

That was probably the only interesting thing I said, so don't get your hopes up reading the rest...

Hope this fits the bill!

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