Hello, El Moochadores! We got something special for you tonight! Some how (I suspect ’cause we’re awesome…) we landed a Q&A with the immensely talented Piper Thibodeau. Piper is a professional freelance illustrator who has been creating a unique “daily painting” since 2012! That’s a lot of illustration work on top of also creating for such groups as DreamWorks TV, Nickelodeon, Intel, CGMA, & Concept Cookie. We did our best to pick her brain clean of any useful information and I think it was a good haul! mmmmh… brain leavings. Anyways, check out the the Q&A below along with a few sample images of her work. Currently Piper is about to launch a new kickstarter for a new book of some of her best illustrations. We’ll keep you updated for when it launches!
How long have you been a professional illustrator?
I became a professional freelancer over the past two years or so. My first foray into the Industry was a character design contract for an Intel app called “Yap!”
Where do you find the inspiration for your daily paintings?
When trying to come up with a pun for my daily of the day, I try to draw inspiration from just about anywhere: conversations, taking the bus, my grocery list, etc. I just muddle as many words as I can in my head until I can find a combination.
Do you have a favorite character or critter to illustrate?
As much as I like to design animals, I have a lot more fun with illustrating monster/creature designs. There’s no restraints with the latter, which makes it a lot of fun and more challenging to create.
As a professional freelance illustrator, Is there any advice, or knowledge, you have now that you wished you had know at the beginning, and if so what is it?
A big lesson that I’ve learnt over the years was to get my art out onto as many social media platforms as possible –the more visibility, the better! If your Facebook doesn’t have as many followers as your Twitter, you just have to keep at it. It may seem like a hassle to upload to each site everyday, but there’s options like HootSuite that can help speed up the process.
What are some of the ways you promote your art work and how much time do you spend promoting?
Given that I post daily and onto several platforms, I haven’t had to resort to outright promoting my artwork. Most of my work is original content, but I’ll sprinkle a little fan art here –which does help extend an audience.
What software or equipment would you recommend for new, or beginning, artists?
A pencil and sketchbook will service you just fine if you’re starting off –I would really stress not to worry about getting expensive software straight from the get-go. If you’ve already got a good foundation to work with on paper, I’d suggest starting off with a Wacom pen tablet and trying out Photoshop CC.
Doing daily illustrations must be tough, how do you avoid distraction and procrastination?
Heh! I procrastinate on them quite a lot actually. Given that I’ve got to prioritize my freelance work, I usually will come up with my daily ideas around 8:00 PM and finish it in a frenzy before my midnight cut-off. What kills any inhibitions for me is my self-induced threat of having to restart my daily counter should I not make my midnight deadline (save for emergencies).
How has doing daily paintings helped your illustrations, and how long will you continue to do them?
My daily paintings have given me a lot of structure that I use for my general work –I can handle working under pressure and with tight turn-in’s quite well. I’m going to keep them up as long as I can go!
How much of your day is dedicated to study and practice?
Not as much as I should, unfortunately. I just finished off my CG Animation diploma, so my schedule has been all over the place. I’d ideally love to spend at-least an hour a day on that when I’ve reformed my day-to-day.
What other artist/illustrators do you follow or inspire you?
Oh geez, there’s just too many to count! I’d really recommend following Will Terry‘s work, he’s a fantastic illustrator with a lot of experience and tips –which he shares on his YT vlog series. I’m also really influenced by artists such as Nicholas Kole, CreatureBox (Dave Guertin & Greg Baldwin), Tom Bancroft and Nico Marlet.
Do you booth at comics cons (and other events) and if so, what events will you be attending in the near future?
I haven’t really gotten into the convention scene –but with the possibility of my Kickstarter book coming to fruition, I’ll definitely start attending them! I can’t make any promises yet, but I’ll very likely be at the following Montreal Comic Con or Hal-Con in Halifax.