Interview with Illustration West 54 Judge Jon Schindehette

Schindehette, JonSMALL

Illustration West 54 Show Chair Marc Scheff interviews Jon Schindehette:


1. Many people know you from your time as Creative Director at Wizards of the Coast. How has your career/journey changed and shifted since then? What new projects do you have planned for the rest of the year?

  • Man, that is a great question. In some ways my career hasn’t changed at all – I still get to work on some amazing brands, with extremely loyal fans, where I develop a slew of different products across multiple categories, and I still get to work with super talented creatives. In other ways, my career has changed dramatically – I have bigger budgets, I can use a much wider range of artistic styles, I have a lot more creative freedom, and I have the ability to shape the direction of our development directly.
  • I can’t talk about a lot of the products that I going with ThinkGeek Solutions due to NDA’s, but there are a few things I can talk about – we will be launching a women’s line of apparel in a number of our clients official stores. This is ground up development! We are trying to offer our female clients what I’ve heard them clamoring for for years – products that allow them to let out their inner-geek, work wear that they can wear to the office and still not look nerdy, and fashion forward pieces they can wear on the street with pride. We’re just dipping our toe in the water this fall, but have big plans for 2016.
  • On a personal note, I’m working on a number major ArtOrder initiatives. The first being a project that is tentatively being called the ArtOrder Invitational – an art book that celebrates the artists that I love. I’ve invited 75 artists to join me on this adventure, and we will be creating a high end collaborative art book that is looking to take art books to a new level by really bringing the voice of the artist into the book. Additionally, the artists share in the success of the book by sharing in the proceeds, retaining the rights to their works, and having the ability to really control how their works are used. Look for more details to come soon on ArtOrder and Kickstarter.
 2. You do a lot of outreach through your ArtOrder project. You recently announced the ArtOrder Mentorship Program. Could you tell us more about that and what you hope to accomplish with it?
  •  The ArtOrder Mentorship Program is pretty simple in concept. ArtOrder was founded on the ideals of sharing information that I have learned through the years. I’ve always taken the time to take on questions from the community and share the knowledge I have through ArtOrder. The Mentorship Program is trying to take that up a notch. Not only am I still taking on questions, and answering them on ArtOrder, but I’m encouraging folks to ask questions that go outside of my knowledge base. In those instances, I will use my vast network to get answers from industry professionals and share the answers on ArtOrder so that everyone can benefit. So while I can’t personally mentor as many folks as I would like, I can try to use ArtOrder as a virtual mentor for all of the readers by bringing together my community of peers to help answer and inform everyone that is interested in learning.
3. But you’re not just a Creative Director, are you? What are your other creative outlets?
  •  I keep pretty busy outside of work as well. Some might say, too busy. I have a lot of creative outlets, and some pseudo-creative outlets. I love to teach, write and do photography. I’ve been diving back into my pencils and paints and brushing off the dust from my traditional hand skills. I dabble in blacksmithing, leather working, and a bit of maker stuff. I also spend a decent amount of time using creative improvising to keep my son and my old race car in running order.
4. You also founded the Denver Illustration Salon. We certainly hope to see some great submissions from that group. Tell us more about the DIS and what you do.
  • The Denver Illustration Salon (otherwise known as the DIS) is a community of visual creatives. We don’t require that all participants be “illustrators”, but rather just that they be willing to participate and have fun with our community. We run 5 different events on a consistent basis – DIS Drink & Draw, Costume Life Drawing, Plein Air, Zoo Sketching, and out new Incubator program. We also have special events when I am able to get guests artist into town to do demos, lectures or “Meet and Greets”.
5. Tardis, Enterprise, X-Wing Fighter, or Other?
  • Serenity