Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Artist Interview: Karen of Karen Hallion

Today I have the pleasure to interview Karen of Karen Hallion. As you will see below she does amazing illustrations. I asked her the "typical" question of what her favorite color is and she responded with "Eek! That's a tough question, I actually have favorite color combinations, like purple and green, and pale blue and brown. If pressed to give an answer, though, I would go with green." Her favorite weekend activity is Friday night poker, breakfast with her family on Saturday and painting on Sunday. And for breakfast all she wants is coffee and more coffee :). Her dream vacation is to go to Disney World, which is what she's doing in September with her husband and four-year-old son. She also dreams of going to Hawaii someday.

One last bit of quirk information Karen says is "I am a big geek: Star Wars, Harry Potter, LOTR....the list goes on. I hide it well, though. :)

Now onto her beautiful art.

What started you in your art/craft?
It sounds strange but when I was 16, I saw the movie "The Little Mermaid", and I walked out of the theatre and decided I wanted to be an artist. I had always loved Disney movies, and had dabbled in drawing, but for some reason, this one really just jumped out at me. I wanted to try to capture the movement,flow and beauty that I had just seen. I went home and started drawing, and twenty years later, I am still going.

What are your favorite materials/tools?
Honestly, just a pencil and paper. The sketch is my favorite part of the process, the quick, easy flow of the line.

Who's your biggest inspiration?
I am going to have to pick a two, Alphonse Mucha and Glen Keane. Mucha is obviously a big influence in my work, I love the line quality in his art, and the decorative elements in his backgrounds. Glen Keane is a Disney animator, one of the best, and he was the lead character animator for Ariel. It's a dream of mine to someday meet him. He captures life on paper with just a few lines, it's awe-inspiring.

How long have you being producing your work/How did you get started in it?
I have been drawing for about twenty years now, though it's only in the last few years that I have felt I have finally understood how to achieve what I want in my art. I have done various freelance work over the years, including illustrating a children's book, titled "Yen Shei and the American Bonsai" by Jennifer Anna. I opened an Etsy shop online two years ago, but hadn't really done anything with it till this past July. I was let go from my elementary school art teaching position last month, and now I am going to pursue art full-time.

Where do you hope your art will take you in the next year?
I am hoping that my art will bring in enough revenue to make it a viable option for me to continue it as a full-time job. I would love to have steady sales on Etsy, and also show in a few galleries in the real world. I am hoping to pursue children's illustration as well. Etsy has been a wonderful, and supportive community, and I am pretty happy there, so maybe I will be able to find my niche.
Is there anything you want people to get/take away from your work?
I usually draw women, lately mermaids and Geisha. I like to capture beauty and a bit of mystery,
along with an inner strength and joy.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Draw all the time, keep a sketch book and draw from life as much as possible. If you do a drawing or a painting you are not happy with, do another one, and another one. Just keep working, keep producing work. Research the business end of art, I am still doing this, and I am still trying to figure it all out! If you are new on Etsy, get into the forums, ask a lot of questions, and pay attention, because there is a lot of great advice there.

Make sure to check out her shop!

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