Our guest post this week is an 'email interview' with Diana Ting Delosh, illustrator and author, whose work I have very much admired ever since I discovered it a couple of years ago.
Diana also designs wonderful greeting cards and she has stores at Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle. And you can see more of Diana's work on her website and blogs - links at the foot of this post.
My first question for Diana was:
Why did you choose Illustration as a profession?
'I had always thought that I would go into biology, because I loved animals, until one fateful day in high school biology class when we were supposed to kill and dissect a bullfrog. That was the day I realized I’d better think of something else. As I had been doodling since I was two, being an artist was an obvious choice but what type of artist? As a child my first exposure to art was through picture books and one of my favorite artists is the illustrator, author Beatrix Potter. Choosing to be an illustrator seemed a natural choice. My training however was a bit circuitous. At the time when I went to school, few colleges offered illustration as a major. So I studied commercial art and took extra illustration classes.'
What did you gain from your Art Training?
'As I was schooled in the pre-computer era - we were expected to be able to draw everything. No Googling for clip art allowed. So along with design, typography and life drawing classes, we just drew everything. A big part of my art/design education was the group crit. Basically we all displayed our work in front of the class and the teacher and your peers, sometimes humorously, many times cruelly, deconstructed your efforts. This ritual was done weekly in every class. As students we derived a perverse pleasure from surviving our crits as well as dishing them out. The crit did force you to do your very best for each assignment, gave you a discerning eye, taught you how to express why something worked or didn’t work for you and finally helped give your ego a thicker skin'.
Why do you like to work in Ink & Watercolor?
'I create my whimsical illustrations with ink line and “watercolor”. I actually use colored ink as I prefer the intensity of the pigments. I use a Rapidiograph pen to draw my ink line on watercolor paper and then brush in the color. While I have experimented with a few other mediums, this is the one I feel I can get the most range of expression and is the most comfortable for me.'
Animals feature in most of your illustrations and greeting card designs. Is there a particular reason for this?
'Animals play a big part in my personal illustrations. As I noted earlier, Beatrix Potter is my favorite illustrator and as a child I imitated her rabbits until they became part of my own image vocabulary. Early in my illustration career I freelanced for a few greeting card companies. Greeting card companies prefer florals and animal art because people are just too specific. Animals can represent a type. The audience could see themselves as the sweet rabbit or cat but the very specific women with freckles would be limiting. So I created more florals and animals. Yes, I do draw people but I prefer animals because they can be more empathetic and universal'.
Of all the projects you have worked on to date, can you pick out one that is your favourite?
'My favorite illustration projects have been those that I have learned from. I have found that a good editor or art director can bring the best out of you and lead you to a higher artistic level. My own self-directed projects can also be challenging but I find that I usually just have a lot of fun with them. Which is just fine as not everything has to be a learning experience.'
What are you working on at the moment and what are you hopes and plans for the future?
'Currently I’m shopping around a manuscript for a picture book along with a few finished illustrations to publishers. I would love for this project to become a reality.'
'The 2 illustrations posted here are from that story.'
Diana, I would like to thank you very much indeed for finding the time, from amongst your busy schedule, to answer my queries. I'm sure that reading about your experience as an illustrator will be both helpful and inspiring to others. And I wish you well with your current project and look forward to hearing that it has indeed 'become a reality'!
Diana Ting Delosh