Brooke Weeber is an awesome illustrator I came across in the Etsy Entrepreneurs Team forums. She draws these amazing images comprised of items that shoudln't seem to go together, but in her art, ultimately fit perfectly. I also love her work because she works in the same medium I do when I'm not doing linocut printing. More about Brooke in her own words:
Tell us about yourself, anything you think is worth knowing.
I'm a bicycle commuter, baker and illustrator living in Portland, OR. I've lived here for over 2 years now. Although I'm originally from , I spent 4 years living in Brooklyn, NY, soaking up the culture and the chaos while attending culinary school. Even though I was able to really thrive there, refining my cake decorating skills (you can see some of my cakes here: http://citybirdcakes.blogspot.com/), I really missed the greenery and the wide open spaces of the Northwest. That's what drew me back to Oregon. Once I arrived here, I finally had the time and energy to put into my passion for illustrating, which I've been concentrating on ever since.
What is your medium and how did you get into it?My medium is watercolor and ink. I originally got my degree in oil painting from the , but when I moved to New York I was extremely limited by the space I had to work in. Since oils and paint thinners are fairly toxic and difficult to keep clean, I hesitantly switched over to watercolor. They're conveniently small, portable, and easy to tidy up when you're finished. It took me a long time to feel comfortable using watercolor, being so drastically different from oil paints, but eventually, with a lot of practice, I felt right at home, and it really ended up shaping my style. I'd always been a big fan of illustration, and I've drawn with ink pens since I can remember. Now I was finally able to combine the two mediums to make something that I really loved.
Where do you take your inspiration from?
I've always been inspired by other artists. I feel really lucky to have the ease of the internet at my fingertips to direct me to artists from all over the world' one's I would never have met without the help of social/art networking sites like Society6, Etsy, , Facebook and Tumblr. I'm finding new artists and new inspiration on a daily basis, which is extremely motivating. Aside from that, on a more personal basis, I draw a lot of artistic influence from Greek and Native American art and pattern, as well as from old textbook illustration that I find on the New York Public Library Digital Archives Website (http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm).
When creating, do you have more "Aha!" moments or do you slowly figure things out? What's your process? I wouldn't say I have many "Aha!" moments. I rarely go in to a piece with much of a plan. I might have a few basic ideas floating around in my mind, but things often change as they take shape in each painting. Normally, I start drawing something out, then I look around the internet for pictures or patterns, then I go back to the artwork, and so on and so on. There's a lot of erasing involved.
This is a really tough question to answer because it's constantly changing. I chose this one in particular because it's been one of my favorites for quite sometime, and because I've gotten such a spectacular response from it. There's something so charming, whimsical and light-hearted about this painting. I made it specifically for a music themed show that I had at a local venue here in Portland. I think the accordion representing the ocean was actually one of those "Aha!" moments you were speaking of. Once the idea popped into my mind, I knew the artwork was going to be a success.
What is one piece of art you wish you'd created and why?
I don't know if there's one piece I wish I'd created, I think there's still plenty of time to do all the things I hope to do. The one art form that pops into my mind, however, is . I've only completed 2 murals in my lifetime and they were two of the most challenging, terrifying, thrilling and rewarding experiences of my life. Just the shear scale of it is intimidating and a real departure from what I'm used to. It was a lot more liberating that I expected. I would love to get back into it, but I'm not sure where to begin. Here's an image from the first nursery mural I painted: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brookenoelle/2048021573/in/set-72157604789237448/
If you could have one person living/dead own a piece of your art, who would it be and why?
I don't think there's an artist I've admired longer than , the talented illustrator for the band (http://www.carsonellis.com/). She's inspired me for so many years and I would be ecstatic and beyond thrilled if she wanted to own one of my paintings.
One piece of advice you've picked up along the way that you'd like to share.
"Life is too short to be stuck in a job you hate, especially if it stifles your creativity when the day is done." I think that simple phrase is what keeps me motivated to work as hard as I possibly can until I can free myself from the chains of my day job! It's definitely not easy, but I know I can make it happen in a matter of time, that we all can. The trick is not to get too discouraged when things move a little slower than you expected.
Eat more pie, that's an order.
Check out Brooke's Etsy store at http://www.thelittlecanoe.etsy.com, where you can buy some of her awesome prints and original artwork.
Also, don't forget to check out last Wednesday's post and enter to win a set of my notecards! Hurry before it's too late! There won't be a giveaway next month as I'll be on my honeymoon.