Featured Artist: Isabel Samaras
My Background: I was born in NYC, and got a BFA from Parsons
School of Design in NYC. The Rotten Apple will always be a part
of me but I am currently making San Francisco my home. I originally
went to art school to study printmaking but as it turned out Parsons
didn't have a print major, so I somewhat arbitrarily chose Illustration
(it seemed fairly well rounded - you got drawing, painting and
printmaking classes). By the time I was in my junior year tho',
Illustration seemed incredibly restrictive and I started taking
classes in the Fine Art dept. Weeks after graduating I landed
an illustration job for a William Morrow book on Japanese seafood
called 'An Ocean of Flavor' (by Elizabeth And oh, an excellent
cook and swell human being). It was a great job, paid fabulously
and as soon as I was finished I took off to Italy for a month.
After steeping myself in Italian culture and art for four weeks
I didn't want to be an illustrator anymore! I came home determined
to work with my own ideas, which I've been doing for some time
now. Every once in a while someone would ask to use one of my
pieces for a rock poster or magazine. That led to more direct
illustration work and the funny thing is that in a bizarre circular
way I've come back into the illustration fold in the last few
years and find myself doing (and enjoying) more and more of it.
My Technique: I try to keep the paintings and illustration separate
by using two different styles (this is also practical -- the paintings
are incredibly time consuming, best reserved for long lead times
and juicy budgets, rarely suitable for most illustration jobs).
Most of the illustration work is done in two stages -- an ink
drawing on scratchboard (scratchboard gives me a lot of leeway
as far as giving the line character and making little noodley
changes), which is then scanned into the computer and colored
in Photoshop. I like the combination of the two mediums together
because the hand drawing "humanizes" the end product a bit.
My involvement with the Guild: I'm a very efficient envelope
stuffing and stamping machine for Guild mailings, and saucy raffle
girl for Guild events.
My Favorite Client story: My favorite client story was more of
an ongoing relationship with a now-defunct web magazine called
gettingit.com. They had a wonderful "We're game for anything"
attitude about illustration, paid really well, and the articles
were *always* informative (if sometimes a little alarming). Previous
to that, I'd never heard of men lighting their genitals on fire
Other info you'd like to share: I really benefit from being in
a little illustration "cauldron" here in SF -- several of my friends
are illustrators (as well as my better half, Marcos
Sorensen, without who's critical eye a lot of my work would
be dimensionally warped). It's great to be able to fax a sketch
over to someone and get a little feedback and thanks to modern
technology none of us ever leave our studios anymore, which is
why I sometimes to refer to myself as a troll or an art gnome.
In an act of shameless self promotion and an attempt to remain
financially solvent I'd also like to mention that everyone should
own a copy of "Devil Babe's Big Book of Fun!", a rainy day activity
book for twisted grown-ups. Folks can order it from my site
(if you want it autographed, go to the source!) or Amazon.com,
or pick it up in various book and record stores.
All artwork © 2002 Isabel Samaras. Not to be used without