Illustration West 57 – Meet our next judge: Patrick Ballesteros
ILW 57 Show Chair Cliff Cramp interviews Patrick Ballesteros
[note all artwork is © Patrick Ballesteros and cannot be used in any way without consent of the artist]
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself or how you got started?
Drawing has been a part of life ever since I could remember. I was just too stubborn to do anything else and stuck with it through college. However, it was not until after college that I learned how to actually be an illustrator and designer. I grew up when the internet was just starting so I really had to hunt down the teachers and classes to help improve my skills. Luckily I found them and now have been a freelance illustrator and designer for the past 14 years. There’s a lot more to it, but I’ll save those stories for another time.
- What’s your daily routine look like?
It changes but lately it goes like this:
5-12AM- prep son for school/arrange my day and start any freelance work
6PM-8PM: Dinner/FAMILY TIME
9PM: Night Night
- Who inspires you? What inspires you?
A lot of different artists inspire my work, from the golden age illustrators like Rockwell, Leyendecker and Gibson to my childhood idols like Jim Henson, Mr Rogers, and Bob Ross.
What inspires me is travel and experiencing different cultures that see art in their own unique way. Getting out of your own space and into the real world is all the reference you need to cook up original ideas.
- What are some favorite projects that you’ve had the opportunity to work on?
There are 2 projects that come to mind right away. First I had the opportunity of creating my own original character that was made into a limited edition Funko vinyl toy in 2015 for San Diego Comic Con. Seeing the product from start to finish was an amazing learning experience.
Next, working on illustrations for Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass. My illustration were used in the actual end credits of the film so it was surreal yet wonderful to see them on the big screen.
- What advice do you have for illustrators beginning and pro?
There already so much out there and I think that’s a problem that can happen is information overload. I would say to create strong relationships with mentors and peers that have your same work ethic and drive. This network of friends will help keep you grounded and will be a well of information that you can rely on when you hit those artistic bumps in the road.
6 Describe your workspace for us?
I have a dedicated workspace that I share with my wife, but when we are in the office we are more coworkers than anything else. I try to surround myself with inspiration like a wall of books that I have collected over the years, a few of my favorite toys and models and a window that looks out into green foliage. That last part sounds weird but when I get stuck on something looking out at nature helps clear the brain. Lastly, my computer station and drawing table since I switch a lot between traditional and digital in my work flow.
- What do you find challenging about being an artist/illustrator?
Everything is global so now more than ever we are exposed to so many good artists. A lot of young artists worry about getting seen and getting their work out there. It’s important to do that but I feel the big challenge for a young artists or artists in the infancy of their career is to realize that they are playing a long game. Meaning it’s going to take a while to get good, to get the jobs you want to get, and the career you are going to fall in love with. When you do achieve all those things, realize that yes you are doing what you love but you are going to be working harder to keep doing it every day of your life.
- What’s something artistically that you haven’t done that you would enjoy doing.
Gouache painting, I really want to get back into those and doing studies from life to help improve my color sensibility.
- What do you like to do in your free time?
Hang out with my son and go on adventures to far off lands with my family.
- Favorite movie and why?
Footloose, because Kevin Bacon is the man and I want “Jump Back” to be a hip term again 🙂