Monday, October 29, 2012

WIVNTMY: Teagan White

 Today, please meet Teagan White, a stunningly talented illustrator I discovered on Society 6. She describes herself as "an illustrator of intricately detailed plants and animals, whimsical images for children, and expressive typography". I love that description... BUT! The description doesn't mention her amazingly consistent & sophisticated palette or her ability to (effortlessly) cross genres while maintaining an airtight lock on her overall visual identity without missing a beat— two more qualities so unique to Teagan's work. 

I took note of Teagan on Society 6 because, well, it's show-stopping! But I probably actually repeatedly found her work so easily because it constantly shows up on early search pages. (This girl is very popular on Society6!)

Teagan is very generous with sharing her experience as an artist, as you will read here. But please, if you want to learn more, please don't stop here. Check out the links after the interview—Teagan is  active on social media, and she also blogs regularly. (...and go ahead and check out her GORGEOUS blog, please! )

Without further adieu, please enjoy meeting Teagan White! 

Can you tell us of a favorite creative activity you enjoyed as a child? 

Let’s see… I always liked to draw or do coloring books. When I was really little we were supposed to take naps but eventually my mom just let me stay up and color while my older brother napped. I don’t remember being especially creative about it, though, in my memory the best part of coloring was peeling the paper label on the crayon so you could keep using it, and then since you were peeling it anyway why not peel the whole thing off, and then why not just take a break from coloring for a bit and peel more crayons? After the whole crayon-peeling stage I remember building cities out of wooden blocks with my little brother – our Pokemon toys lived in the city and they were in a band and we made them tiny instruments out of cereal boxes and string.

What was your first job or position as a creative professional?

I’ve never held a position other than “intern”, because I’ve been freelancing since the beginning of college, and that’s really more exciting and fulfilling to me than any in-house position could be. I guess my first freelance job, which was sometime in high school, was album art for some west coast dad-rock band. I can see myself working as an art director or something someday, if the opportunity came up, but for now I really like freelancing full time.

What is your current favorite medium to work in?

I flip-flop a lot between ink, graphite, and watercolor/gouache for the black-and-white hand-drawn work that eventually gets Photoshopped into full-color art. Sometimes I combine them, even, so I don’t know if I really have a favorite! I just usually get a gut feeling about which would be best for a project, and the end result isn’t too different regardless of which I choose.

But currently I think I’m really enjoying working on my children’s illustration work, in watercolor, the best. It’s a very focused, meditative sort of way of working for me – the outcome of the physical, original painting matters more to me with watercolor than with other mediums that just get stitched together in Photoshop in the end anyway, so it feels like the stakes are high and every line is of utmost importance, which I enjoy.

Whistle while you work: Do you enjoy working in silence, listening to music, a podcast, or a movie? Please share!

I usually need silence when I’m brainstorming or doing initial sketches, otherwise I can’t concentrate. But I’m basically on autopilot for the whole rest of the process, especially during the final art, which tends to just be hours and hours on end of drawing or painting. At that point my brain either shuts down and I space out, or my mind wanders, which is dangerous because once I start wondering about something of course I have to google it which might happen as often as every 15 minutes and each time you risk sinking deep into Wikipedia articles about things you didn’t know you cared about and if you make it all the way to “feral children” there’s no coming back for at least 12 hours. So I listen to stuff to keep me focused on my work. Mainly I’ll listen to The Mountain Goats, Bomb the Music Industry!, Joanna Newsom, or one of many folk or ska bands; podcasts like This American Life, Radiolab, or Red Bar Radio; or audiobooks – usually His Dark Materials or Harry Potter over and over and over and over again because the books I’d like to read I either wouldn’t trust a narrator not to ruin, or are too complex to follow while I work, which leaves me mostly with YA novels, most of which are sort of awful. If you have audiobook suggestions, please email me! I’ll be forever in your debt!

Find Teagan at the following places: