Artist Interview - Jamie Gustafson

Who are you and what do you do?

My identify is Anthony James Gustafson, but my family members, pals, and colleagues get in touch with me Jamie. I am a science and organic heritage illustrator from Chicago, IL.


Why do you do what you do?

Art and science are two of the things about which I am most passionate. Having the prospect to make a dwelling combining those passions has usually been a dream of mine.


How and when did you get into art?

I have been drawing ever considering that I was old enough to keep a crayon. And I have been concerned in generating art in just one way or an additional ever given that. I have been doing it professionally, each as a graphic designer and an illustrator, for the earlier 15 yrs.


Your drawings are so complex & comprehensive.  Have you always drawn this way?

I’ve normally tried out to make my drawings as comprehensive as possible. Learning to see all of those details, and then studying to seize them in my artwork is something I have put in many years working towards, and a thing I check out to boost upon every working day. When your artwork is created for scientific and instructional applications, concentrating on complex facts is constantly a vital element of the course of action.


What are your favorite subjects to draw?

I really like interior anatomy. Building real looking, illustrated types of zoological anatomy is 1 of my absolute beloved things to do.

In addition to that, prehistoric restoration is possibly my biggest enthusiasm. That is the process of making use of present fossil data and the newest paleontological research to reconstruct extinct species. My paleoart normally focuses on reconstructing prehistoric mammals.


What evokes your art?

Mainly my artwork is impressed by my appreciate of mother nature. I enjoy understanding from character and then applying my artwork to train what it has taught me to many others. From a young age, I was taught to be curious and passionate about the normal entire world. The top intention of my get the job done is to inspire that same curiosity and enthusiasm in other people.


How has your exercise adjusted around time?

For the previous numerous several years I have truly focused on knowing how gentle and coloration operate. I have come to realize that drawing is actually just the act of mimicking the results of light and color in the world all around us, and then translating that onto paper. That’s oversimplifying it a little bit, but in impact, I have used a large amount of time and energy cultivating my means to realistically re-generate the consequences of light on unique surfaces such as fur, feathers, trees, rocks, and other natural elements. As a colored pencil artist, that indicates hrs of honing my capabilities at layering and blending different shades, to achieve refined versions of light and darkish hues, tones, highlights, and shades.


What is your favorite piece of art that you have established? Why?

1 of my favourite pieces is a operate I did last yr illustrating a several seldom-highlighted anatomical attributes found in sharks. The piece centered on a shark’s unique skin texture, as properly as an internal mechanism that offers them the capacity to detect moment electrical impulses in likely prey. I was extremely happy to have the get the job done regarded when I was awarded the Global Award on Scientific Illustration by Academia Illustraciencia and The Nationwide Museum of Organic Science in Madrid.


What’s the best piece of art advice you have been provided?

A couple of yrs back I was specified the chance to take a look at for a sequence of publications by a properly-recognized publisher. Finally, I didn’t land the gig, but the editor assigned to the job gave me a large amount of constructive suggestions. Most notably, he advised me to “draw lifestyle, not taxidermy”. That has truly caught with me. Even though the images I produce are even now, I try out my greatest to breathe as substantially lifetime into them as doable. I find this specifically critical when re-constructing animals of the previous. I want the viewer to think about these creatures as the residing, respiration beings that they were being. Not as the excellent, mythological beasts that they have a tendency to turn into in our minds.


What is one art tip/approach you can share with us that you uncover definitely beneficial?

This seems like a rather noticeable statement, but I’ve identified that it Is just one of the most hard and important points an artist can do: Attract what you see. By that, I mean draw what you actually see. Not what you know, or even what you think you know. If you inquire somebody to attract a tree, most persons would probably generate some thing akin to a vertical brown rectangle, topped with eco-friendly squiggles, or specific inexperienced markings symbolizing leaves. And although that is a universally recognized representation of a tree, it is not what a tree really appears like. They, like any obviously taking place object, are much more complicated. And so when an artist genuinely learns to see and then learns to translate what they see on to paper, it has the potential to just take their artwork to a fully distinctive amount.


Do you have any mystery strategies or strategies you use to salvage a piece when you make a blunder?

I typically like to continue to keep my mistakes. I might scrap a piece and start off in excess of, but I will hold individuals off to the aspect and refer back again to them. I consider the two as artists and as people, our mistakes can occasionally be our finest studying instruments.


What is your favorite Strathmore paper? Why?

The 400 Sequence Toned Sketch papers are my go-to. I significantly love the toned grey. The texture of the 400 sequence lends alone effectively to the layering and mixing that coloured pencils involve. And the grey area generates an invaluable, mid-toned background. Allowing for a lot more management around lighter values, whites, and highlights.


What art components could you not reside with no?

I couldn’t do what I do with out high-excellent, specialist-grade colored pencils. Think it or not, when I to start with began doing the job with colored pencils, I’d usually rummage via my five-year-old’s arts and crafts box in lookup of hues. At the time, I barely understood the change among superior pencils and bad pencils. Considering that then, I have arrive to realize that there is no substitute for good quality. It definitely would make all the difference in the environment.


What kinds of colours are you drawn to for your art and why?

I definitely use a extensive array of colors. It all depends on the matter make a difference. But I often make confident I have a healthy supply of many brown and gray tones on hand. Even when making use of vivid colors, neutrals genuinely aid to condition those colors into the specific hues that I’m attempting to attain.


Who are your major influences (or who were when you began undertaking artwork)?

I have had so lots of influences over the a long time, it’s tricky to title just a number of. I suppose my to start with affect was my more mature brother. I initially realized how to draw by copying the matters that he would attract. As I grew, a lot of of my influences had been comedian e book artists these types of Frank Miller, Jim Lee, and Todd McFarlane. Currently most of my influences are fellow paleoartists this sort of as Mauricio Anton, and Beth Zaiken, and sculptors like Jim Burt and the Kennis Brothers.


What is the most common artwork-connected question you get from your followers?

With no a question, the most widespread query I get questioned is “How do I convert my artistry into a vocation?” Regretably, there is no a single-dimension-suits-all reply. Everyone’s path is distinctive. My very own path was definitely considerably less than orthodox. But I give just about every aspiring expert artist the exact same assistance: Aim on the perform. Draw. Paint. Sculpt. No matter what it is that you do, do it. Do it a great deal. Even when you never want to. Particularly when you never want to. Since as any resourceful qualified will inform you, there will be times when you will will need to generate artwork, even when you don’t want to. So dedicate your self to turning into the incredibly best artist that you can. Then locate a way to get your artwork in front of as a lot of people as feasible. I am a firm believer that it is extremely hard to disguise great do the job. Ultimately, anyone will obtain it. Someone will give you an chance. But right until then, be ready to listen to “No”. Or even worse however, be ready to hear nothing at all at all. Expect rejection, but in no way acknowledge it. If a job as an artist is what you certainly want, under no circumstances let any one tell you that you just cannot have it.


Internet site/social media inbound links:


Instagram: @ajgusillustration

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