We came across Greg Paprocki’s work on Getty Images. This fellow has a very hip style and it instantly caught my eye.
Q. Are you purely self taught or are you still paying off some student loans?
A. Since I was able to pick up a crayon, Iâ€™ve been drawing. As a child, I spent hours each night drawing until bedtime. My family was pretty poor, but I received some art scholarships. I attended the state University in Lincoln, Nebraska, where my primary study was fine art and oil painting. I also had an emphasis in computer graphics.
Because of my scholarships, I was able to finish school with a minimal amount of debt. And during my senior year, my class schedule allowed me to start a full time job in Kansas City as a designer a month before graduation. Within the year, the student loans I did have I managed to pay off.
Q. Do you have any advice for a newbie just breaking into the business?
A. Illustration is a tough business. I spent 2-3 hours a night and most of my free time on weekends working on my illustrations while having a full time graphic design job. This went on for 4 years without much success. But eventually, Scholastic Press in New York bought a childrenâ€™s book I wrote and illustrated. At the same I began working with Getty Images. This gave me exposure world-wide. Within 2 years I was working in New York as a freelance illustrator.
So my advice would be to not give up – and keep trying to improve your craft.
Q. What is your favorite medium?
A. I really love working with oil paints. But 90% of my work is digital illustrtion. The other 10% of my work is illustrating Curious George books for Houghton Mifflin in Boston. Those illustrations are watercolor and charcoal.
Q. Care to give props to the best employer you have ever worked for?
A. Scholastic Press was great. They always had an upbeat attitude and I was handed a lot of work. Houghton Mifflin is also terrific to work for. They are very appreciative and are looking at other projects to use my talent.
Q. Is ther another living artist you admire?
A. Iâ€™m always looking at art throughout history and amazed at the talent but I canâ€™t name anyone currently whom I admire.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve in this biz?
A. My biggest peeve is the lack of appreciation by some clients for the work Iâ€™ve done.
Q. Best marketing tip for other artists?
A. Advertising is reference books such as Workbook, Directory of Illustrators is expensive but reaches a lot of advertisers. Trying to get published in Communication Art, Print Magazine, Graphis and any other respected trade publication is a great way to get the maximum number of art directors and buyers to see your work.
Q. If you weren’t an artist/illustrator what would you want to do?
A. I canâ€™t images what Iâ€™d be doing. This is what Iâ€™ve been working towards my entire life. Iâ€™ve worked as a house painter and in heavy construction during the summers in high school and college and I definitely wouldnâ€™t do that again.
Q. Which profession would you never want to try?
A. I couldnâ€™t be a police officer. I couldnâ€™t bring myself to give out tickets to anyone who seemed polite or respectful.
Q. When is your most creative time of the day?
A. The mornings from 7am till noon is when I feel the most creative and fresh.
Q. Can you give us 5 words that best descrive your style?
A. Regarding my digital art they would be fun, charming, clever, bright and hip.
Q. Do you have a mentor?
A. I donâ€™t. Coming from a small industrial town in Nebraska Iâ€™ve figured out the course of my career and style by myself. But I did receive a lot of support from my family and some of my instructors â€“ they encouraged me to pursue my goals of becoming a professional artist.