Illustration West 57 – Next Judges’ Interview: Guy Francis
ILW 57 Show Chair Cliff Cramp interviews another one of our judges, Guy Francis
[note all artwork is © Guy Francis 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?
I grew up in Provo, Utah and as a kid I always loved to draw stuff. I knew then that I would do something with art when I got older, I just didn’t know what. I did know that I didn’t want to do fine art, the stuff you hang on walls. I was more interested in the art you find in books. When I found out that this is what an illustrator did I knew what I wanted to be. I studied illustration at Brigham Young University where I illustrated my first children’s book, “Showdown at Slickrock”. I’ve been doing it ever since.
- What’s your daily routine look like?
It depends on how bad the deadline is, but generally, after getting the kids sent off to school, I just focus on whatever the current project is and work on it till it gets done. I don’t pull all-nighters anymore. Too old for that.
- Who inspires you? What inspires you?
There are so many artists that inspire me that it would be hard to list. There are all of the legends of course, NC Wyeth, Rockwell, Dean Cornwell etc… I also love the tons of talented folks we find on the internet today. Sometimes I spend way too much time looking at their amazing art. I seem to be drawn to well drawn rough sketches most. There is something about a great sketch that gets me excited. You can see the thought process and structure that is going on.
- What are some favorite projects that you’ve had the opportunity to work on?
For the last 3-4 years I’ve been working on what started as a one book deal called “Clark the Shark”, but turned into a 9 book series. It has been loads of fun.
I also just recently finished a new book called “Knock Knock” by Tammi Sauer. It is a book about a old bear who’s trying to hibernate but keeps getting interrupted by his friends. It is all written in knock knock jokes.
- What advice do you have for illustrators beginning and pro?
Create something everyday. I think creativity is a muscle that you have to exercise everyday to stay sharp.
6 Describe your workspace for us?
My studio, sub-level two, is just a a big playroom. At least that’s what my wife says. I figured that if I have to be there all day I should at least surround myself with the things that inspire me. So you’ll find lots of stuff; antiques, airplanes, toys, gadgets and gizmos all around my desk (which I built out of an old bowling alley lane) a lit by the glow of a giant neon clock.
- What do you find challenging about being an artist/illustrator?
Staying on task seems to be more of a struggle lately. I have a short attention span sometimes so I jump from project to project.
- What’s something artistically that you haven’t done that you would enjoy doing.
My next big goal it to illustrate a children’s book that I have also written.
- What do you like to do in your free time?
I love building things. Right now that would be rayguns but it could be anything. It is a creative outlet that gets me recharged. I also enjoy hiking and spending time in the outdoors with family.
- Favorite movie and why?
It changes but today I will go with “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”. So well made and the dialogue is fantastic.