I guess I always wanted to be an artist. For as long as I can remember, I liked to draw all kinds of things; pirate ships (with hundreds of little pirates on them), comic strip characters from the newspaper, and Godzilla (he was my absolute FAVORITE thing to draw. When I got a little older, I liked to make up my own superhero characters.
My Mom and Dad always encouraged me. They would get me supplies and books all the time and take me for painting lessons. As I began to grow up, they helped me set up my first studio in my basement. I thought is was so great to have a professional artist desk and equipment. My Mom and Dad did all that and more for me.
As much as I loved artwork, I did not go to art school after I graduated from high school. Instead, I did all kinds of crazy jobs. I was a waiter in a restaurant, a truck driver (I delivered auto parts!) and a bartender. Years later I regretted that I never pursued a future in art. So one year, instead of buying a new car, I took all the money I had and enrolled in art school. (And it took all the money I had too!). But it was worth it. Throughout the years I had some pretty crazy art jobs too. But I was able to learn about how to design things and how computers work.
I have been working as an artist and designer for about 18 years now. But you never stop learning. Even now that I am an adult, with children of my own, I still have an art teacher. He’s a great teacher and has over fifty years of experience in art.
Every project and job I do is something new. My art teacher has taught me not to be afraid to try anything to create artwork. It could be a piece of wood, a computer, paint, a piece of scrap metal…whatever. That’s what makes my job so much fun. It’s always different and, most times, it’s a lot of fun.
I own a design company with my best friend. It is my job now. And you need to work very hard. But it’s a lot easier to work hard at a job you love. I am very lucky, for that. That’s why I always encourage young people who want to be artists. Many people will tell you that it’s too hard to be an artist, it’s too competitive, you may not be good enough. What a bunch of baloney!
Every job is competitive and most people work hard at any job they do. And anyone who says you’re not good, enough does not know what they are talking about. Honest. Art is one of the only professions where you can invent your own work. Do things in different ways. And communicate to people in your special way.
It’s not easy… I would never tell anyone that. But it is worth it. Many people work very hard at jobs they can’t stand doing. I know, I’ve done it. Why put aside your dream to do that? Over the years I have had many people who have supported and encouraged me. And I could not do a thing without the love and support of my wife, my little boy and my twin girls. It’s important to have the people you love in your corner. I wanted to be anartist since I was a little boy, today I am. And I owe it all to my Mom and Dad.
Fables from Aesop
Click here to watch animated Fables from Aesop.
I made all the artwork for my Fables from Aesop book out of fabric. I was inspired by some wonderful artwork done a long time ago in Africa. It was tribal flags sewn by villagers. Every flag had a different design and they told the history of each village through pictures. I thought they were great, and a perfect way to tell a story. I had a bunch of drawings that I had done when I read a book of Aesop’s fables.
So I thought instead of doing painting from them, I would try sewing them the way I had seen in the tapestries from Africa. Now, I had never sewn anything before, so when I first started out I had a lot of problems! I poked my finger with needles about a hundred times and sewed the wrong ends of the fabric together…I was all thumbs. But eventually I got the hang of it and learned how to use all of my sewing tools. After a while I was able to do fabric versions of all my drawings. It really became a lot of fun.
The moral to one of the stories that I chose to illustrate is: Slow and steady wins the race, it really is true because this kind of artwork takes a loooong time! I had to learn to be patient and take my time. It took months for me to finish all the stories for my book. But it was worth the effort.
After I had made enough artwork to finish my book, I thought it would be fun to make some of the stories into little animated cartoons that I could put on my website. So I took photographs of my artwork, scanned them into the computer, and designed these little animations. I plan on doing all the stories from my book this way.
Fables from Aesop was a really great project to do. I learned a lot about how to sew and make things (I made little toys of my Aesop characters too). And now children can see my animated stories all over the world on my website… and here on Soaringwords! I really hope you like these Aesop stories, both online and in my book.
Now its your turn to create and illustrate a fable. Just click here to get started.