Interview with Tim Hodge

“At Disney we had in-studio drawing sessions at lunch to keep up our skills. You have to be able to capture action and emotion quickly”

Tim Hodge is a talented artist, animator, voice actor, director, and writer located in Tennessee, in the United States. Ever since he was a little boy, he knew he would pursue an artistic career. Since 1985, Hodges has been specializing in animation and has worked for popular studios like Walt Disney Feature Animation, Big Idea Productions, Dreamworks Television, and Warner Brothers Television. His ideas have been part of popular feature films like The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, and The VeggieTales.

Tim has to continually adapt to the styles of the studios, but he also focuses on developing his own vision. He also teaches artists and shares his knowledge through online courses like Drawing Cartoon Animals and Drawing Cartoon People. On his website, you will also find wonderful books he has published such as 31 Uses for a Zombie and Pith & Vinegar.

“Untitled” by Tim Hodge. The artist used pose zaza016 as a reference

In this Q&A, artist Tim Hodge shares with PoseSpace details about his experience in feature films at the most prestigious Studios in the US, great advice for artists who have an interest in animation and cartoons, and more:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

Like most of us, I’ve been drawing since I was very young. I just kept it up. But as far as drawing as a career, it was when I was around 12 and discovered my dad’s movie camera (an 8mm film camera, this was pre-home video). He showed me how it could take one frame at a time to make animated films. When I realized I could one day get a job drawing, my future was set.

Which artist has influenced you? 

This could be a long, long list. I’ll try and keep it short: Bill Peet, Jack Davis, Norman Rockwell, Beatrix Potter, Wallace Tripp, Honoré Daumier, and Winslow Homer just to start. But it seems every day, I am finding new up and coming artists that blow me away.

You have worked for Disney Feature Animation, Big Idea Productions, Dreamworks Television, Warner Brothers Television, and more! What has been your most memorable studio experience? 

Again, so many to mention. I think one that stands out is watching The Lion King (my first feature film) at the wrap party with my family and all my co-workers. We finally go to show what all the long hours were for. And of course, we all sat glued through the credits, cheering each other. There was an incredible amount of camaraderie. We all stay in touch to this day. Many of my former animator friends now have painting careers.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Gift for a friend. #HakunaMatata

A post shared by Tim Hodge (@baldmelon) on

What is the importance of gesture drawing for you? 

It’s the basis of everything. Of course all the Masters have relied on it, but it’s also at the essence of animation. At Disney we had in-studio drawing sessions at lunch to keep up our skills. You have to be able to capture action and emotion quickly. Eugene Delacroix said (I paraphrase) “If you are drawing someone falling from a building, you should finish the sketch before he hits the ground.” It’s a gruesome take to be sure, but he vividly nails down the importance of sketching quickly.

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

I love PoseSpace. As a freelance artist, my schedule is rather erratic, and I often don’t sit down to paint for myself until 9 or 10 at night. Or I may grab an hour or two on the weekend. Hiring a model or running out to a group session is very difficult. But PoseSpace is always there. And if I have to put a painting away for a week, my PoseSpace model is always ready when I get back. Lately, I’ve been going through Luana’s poses and doing some oil and watercolor sketching. Her poses have great rhythm.

“Luana” by Tim Hodge using PoseSpace model Luana as a reference

Have you been working on a special project during quarantine? 

Actually, animation is a business that hasn’t had the impact that other businesses have. Everyone in animation I know has been working from home, and production schedules haven’t really been impacted. But I always try and paint and draw for myself no matter what I’m working on. As an artist, I need a personal creative outlet, too, something that won’t get critiqued by an Art Director. We all have to create our own vision, especially after drawing someone else’s all day.

Illustration by Tim Hodge

Do you have a favorite source of materials? 

While it’s easy to order stuff from the big online retailers, or even pop into one of the many craft stores around, I like to seek out an Art Supply store, even if it’s several miles farther away. (Plaza Artist Materials, and Jerry’s Artarama in Nashville, if I can drop names). I find that the workers are more knowledgeable of the products because they use them all too. (I also worked at an art supply store in Tulsa when I was in my early 20s).

What advice do you have for artists who have an interest in cartoons? 

When I was around 14, I got to meet Marvel Comic artist, Johnny Romita, Sr. I showed him my sketchbook full of cartoon animals, he flipped through it and he stopped on a drawing of an elephant. And I’m going to tell you what he told me. “Don’t only practice cartoons. Draw from life. Build a basis in solid drawing. Then cartooning is easier, and your drawings look better.” Years later when I was applying to Disney, they said the same thing. And I’ve always found it to be true.

Tim Hodge’s website: https://timhodgeart.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/baldmelon/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BaldMelonTim

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimHodgeArt/

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0388113/

Interview with Sarah Forde – SenshiStock

“Seeing the art is my favorite part of doing pose references!” 

Sarah Forde is a talented American artist, photographer, and model. She has been interested in art since she was a young girl and later she got a fine art degree. After college, she started created her own photo references for her paintings and that’s how SenshiStock was born: her friends wanted her photos and more artists started to get interested in her photography work. 

Sarah Forde and Sinned-Angel-Stock; photography by Sinned-Angel-Stock 

Senshi Stock has 50K followers on Twitter, over 140K watchers on Deviant Art, and 18K followers on Instagram. Sarah started using Patreon a few years ago and turned her hobby into a paying job.    

In this Q&A, American art model and artist Sarah Forde shares with PoseSpace details about the creation of SenshiStock, funny anecdotes, and how her perception of the human body has changed in the past few years:

Can you tell us about your background and why you decided to become an art model?

I have been drawing since I was a kid and I have a fine art degree. My life drawing classes in college were a huge level up for my art. After college, I spent a lot of my free time doing character illustrations for myself and my friends. I really enjoyed life drawing classes in college but I didn’t have access to spaces like that after school, so I turned to online resources for figure references. At the time, a lot of the stock and resources content on DeviantArt was geared towards photomanipulators. They had elaborate costumes and scenery. I really needed images that showed the form better, but the nude references were all classical in style and I wanted stuff with more action and movement. I decided to start taking photos of myself so I would have a wider selection. I chose to wear a bodysuit because I was mostly drawing Sailor Moon fanart and it was a good base. My art friends really loved the poses and they started using them, too. Eventually it spread beyond my immediate circle and I’ve just been kind of doing it ever since!

How was SenshiStock born? Can you also tell us about the name?

As I mentioned above, I was doing a lot of Sailor Moon fanart at the time. Sailor Moon characters are called ‘sailor senshi’ in Japanese. The word ‘senshi’ means soldier, or in the recent translation they used the translation guardian. So since I was doing Sailor Moon poses, SenshiStock was the name I came up with. 

I have considered changing it many times in the past 13 years but I haven’t come up with anything I really like. At one point I was going to change it to SarahStock but this is literally the name of a Canadian professional wrestler so I didn’t want it to be confusing. While I have come to accept its dorky past, I’m still open to changing it in the future if I can come up with something I love that makes sense for what it is.

Model is Princess Rowena; Photography by Blue Amrich

Have you seen artwork inspired by you? How does it make you feel?

Seeing the art is my favorite part of doing pose references! At this point I know I’m not seeing it all, but checking my messages every day and seeing new creations is really motivational as a model and an artist. I am super happy to see artists of all different skill levels using my poses, but sometimes when I see a REALLY talented artist has used my poses I get particularly giddy. 

When comic cons and anime conventions were a thing, I used to love walking around the artist alley looking for art that used my poses. 

What are your goals and expectations as an art model?

I never really had big aspirations for this project. For many years it was a hobby and helpful for my own artwork. A few years ago I was fortunate to become a mom and my schedule and responsibilities shifted tremendously. Around that time, Patreon started and I was able to shift some of my modeling from hobby to jobby. Being able to make some money with pose modeling has let me prioritize the work in my new schedule and it’s also helped me improve the quality of my references with upgrades to equipment and diversity in my models. 

As far as the future goes, nothing particularly planned.  Right now I’m just eager for the pandemic to get under control so I can get back to working with other models and photographers to make more amazing resources! We had a few collaborative shoots scheduled for 2020 that are now pending based on the way everything plays out. Fortunately, I have built up a very large archive of unposted images in the last 13 years. I’m focused mostly on my artwork now and maintaining a steady stream of new pose references through my DeviantArt and Patreon. It’s a good time for me to start messing around with new ideas in the studio, too. I just bought some colored lights to try out!

Models are Sailor Starlight and Prince Nova; photography by Sarah Forde

Do you see yourself as an art model for the rest of your life?

I really hope to keep modeling. I am very eager to have a middle aged lady model and with just a few more years, I’ll have one! 😂

Do you tell people or family that you are an art model?

I’m a chatty sharer about all my work. I think everyone who knows me knows about my modeling. They also know about my hair bow art and my love for Sailor Moon. It all just spills out of me! 

It looks like you have a lot of fun during your shooting sessions, can you tell us a funny anecdote?

Collaborative shoots are the literal best. No matter who I am working with it’s always a good time. Sometimes there’s an awkward “We’re hanging out together in our underwear” phase, but we get over that pretty quickly and it turns into a creative few hours of ideas, laughs, and inspiration. I have a really bad memory so I don’t do well recalling specific, detailed events but the feelings and impressions of those shoots fill my heart with laughter and joy. 

Models from L to R are: Jademacalla, PirateLotus-Stock, Sarah Forde, and Null-Entity; Photography by Blue Amrich

Has your perception of the human body or your own body changed after modeling for artists?

Woof, this is a big one. I don’t talk about it much, but I’ve had various issues with body image over my 36 years. I’ve never been diagnosed with any kind of eating disorder, but I have gone through some phases in my life where I’ve had unhealthy relationships with myself and food. I’ve learned a lot about body image, fat phobia, and the harsh impact of diet culture on people in the last 5 or so years through really amazing people like KivanBay and yrfatfriend on Twitter. This is the biggest area of self-development for me right now where I know I’m not ‘there’ on understanding how these things all impact and play into my life and our culture as a whole, but I’m trying to learn more.

I think that respect for ALL bodies in ALL areas of life is one place where people – especially those who consider themselves progressive – need to do a lot of self education. Everyone in every body deserves the chance at their best possible life and care and that just isn’t how it is right now.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?  

I learned a new stretch last week that I like a lot considering how much looking down I do when I’m sewing. You grab your own wrist behind your back and pull your arm down while also leaning your head to the opposite direction of the arm you are pulling down. This video kind of shows it: https://youtu.be/BAKshtIcULM.  Feels SO good on my neck and shoulders. I love it.  

Senshi Stock’s Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/senshistock

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SenshiStock

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/senshistock/

DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/senshistock

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Jean-Claude Despoulain

“Figurative art suits me perfectly and allows me to convey the emotions of the moment more easily”

Jean Claude Despoulain is a talented sculptor located in Langres, France. As a self-taught artist, he started painting and drawing but later, when he was 38 years old, he discovered a new passion: sculpting. 

Despoulain has been sculpting beautiful pieces of art for the past years. His main subjects are animals and the female figure, and he also has a special interest in gymnastics. His delicate, curvy sculptures have been getting attention from a great variety of art collectors and galleries.

In this Q&A, French sculptor Jean-Claude Despoulain shares with PoseSpace details about his artistic career, the process of making his work, and valuable advice to artists interested in sculpting:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

I started out with drawing and painting. From the age of 12, I made my first landscapes in oil on canvas stretched by homemade frames. Very early on, I was drawn to museums and art exhibitions and I think—as in all artistic disciplines (music, writing, cinema, etc.)— that the artist in the making must have certain predispositions.

What life experiences have influenced your work?

I’m  a self-taught artist, 3-dimensional representation came late at 38 years old. François Pompon influenced me a lot in my first animal sculptures. Then I got interested in the creations of nudes, gymnasts, busts.

Do you have a favorite source of materials?

I use clay most often and also plaster on a polystyrene structure for larger creations. My soils are often hollowed out to fire in the oven at 1000C°, an interesting process to preserve them.

What do you think of PoseSpace.com? Do you have a favorite model?

I have drawn the female nude a lot in my career and posespace.com aroused my curiosity due to the diversity of the models presented, and the technique of 360° views with a very good definition of the shots.

Can you tell us about the process of making your sculptures?

After defining the subject to be treated, I shape a metal structure to support the clay. For the head of the character, I try as much as possible to give a pleasant, sympathetic expression. The subject, once finished, is molded with silicone under a plaster screed. This step is essential so that the smelter can do the job and leave, after casting the molten metal, chiselling and adding patina to get the much-desired bronze.

What has been your greatest artistic achievement?

When I started out in sculpture and during an exhibition in my city,  Langres—birthplace of the philosopher Denis Diderot, located in Champagne— a gallery in the Louvre des Antiquaires spotted me and allowed me to  be a little known to foreign customers passing through Paris (Americans, Egyptians, Russians, etc).

You also sculpt animals. Why did you choose figurative art?

Figurative art suits me perfectly and allows me to convey the emotions of the moment more easily. I am more and more oriented towards a positive art so that everyone’s gaze can find peace in a world that is gradually drifting.

Which artist inspired you?

My curiosity is limitless and many contemporary and deceased artists have inspired me. The career and the works of Richard MacDonald through the expression and movement of the characters impress me greatly.

What advice would you give to young artists interested in sculpture?

As the President of a sculpture association, I give my lessons free of charge. The first piece of advice I can give to beginning artists is above all to have fun and to consider going further to have curiosity and motivation, even the opportunity.

Jean Claude Despoulain’s website: https://www.despoulain-sculpteur.com/

Interview by Andrea Miliani

French version (original responses)

Pouvez-vous nous parler de vos débuts et comment vous vous êtes intéressé à l’art?

 J’ai commencé par le dessin et la peinture. Dès l’âge de 12 ans je réalisais mes premiers paysages à l’huile sur des toiles tendues par des châssis faits maison. Très tôt, j’étais attiré par les musées et les expositions d’art et je pense, comme dans toutes les disciplines artistiques (musique, écriture, cinéma, …), que l’artiste en devenir doit avoir certaines prédispositions.

Quelles expériences de vie ont influencé votre travail?

Artiste autodidacte, la représentation en 3 dimensions est venue sur le tard à 38 ans. François Pompon m’a beaucoup influencé dans mes premières sculptures animalières. Ensuite créations de nus, gymnastes, bustes.

Avez-vous un matériau préféré pour réaliser vos sculptures?

 J’utilise le plus souvent l’argile et également le plâtre sur une structure de polystyrène pour les créations plus volumineuses. Mes terres sont souvent évidées pour passer au four à 1000° ; démarche intéressante pour les conserver.

Que pensez-vous de PoseSpace.com? Avez-vous un modèle préféré?

J’ai beaucoup dessiné le nu féminin dans ma carrière et posespace.com a suscité ma curiosité par la diversité des modèles présentés, la technique des vues à 360° avec une très bonne définition des clichés.

Pouvez-vous nous parler du processus de fabrication de vos sculptures?

Après avoir défini le sujet à traiter, je façonne une structure métallique pour supporter la terre. Pour la tête du personnage, j’essaie autant que possible de donner une expression agréable, sympathique. Le sujet une fois terminé est moulé avec du silicone sous chape de plâtre. Cette étape est incontournable pour que le fondeur d’art puisse faire son travail et sortir, après coulée du métal en fusion, ciselage et patine, le bronze tant désiré.

Quels conseils donneriez-vous aux artistes novices intéressés par la sculpture?

Président d’une association de sculpture, je dispense mes cours gracieusement. Le 1er conseil que je peux donner aux artistes débutants est avant tout de se faire plaisir et pour envisager d’aller plus loin d’avoir de la curiosité et de la motivation voire de l’opportunité.

Quelle a été votre plus grande réussite artistique?

A mes débuts dans la sculpture et lors d’une exposition dans ma ville de Langres (ville de naissance du philosophe Denis Diderot et ville qui se situe en Champagne), une galerie du Louvre des antiquaires m’a repéré et m’a permis d’être un peu connu de la clientèle étrangère de passage à Paris (américains, égyptiens, russes, …).

Vous sculptez également des animaux. Pourquoi avez-vous choisi l’art figuratif?

L’art figuratif me convient parfaitement et me permet de faire passer plus facilement les émotions du moment. Je suis de plus en plus orienté vers un art positif pour que le regard de chacun y retrouve de l’apaisement dans un monde qui petit à petit part à la dérive.

Quel artiste vous a inspiré?

Ma curiosité est sans limite et beaucoup d’artistes contemporains ou décédés m’ont inspirés. La carrière et les œuvres de Richard MacDonald par l’expression et le mouvement des personnages m’impressionnent énormément.

https://www.despoulain-sculpteur.com/

Interview with Susie Wilson

Whatever the subject matter or medium, however much time I have allotted to the piece, however big or small it is intended to be, the gesture is vital

Susie Wilson was born in North Walsham, a beautiful countryside village near Cambridge. Ever since she can remember, she has always felt a strong connection to art. Susie studied printmaking, typography, and illustration. This talented artist also founded her own successful Graphic Design business, Pommegraphis, and moved to the US in 1991. 

Nowadays, Susie works in her studio in Santa Cruz, California. Susie’s favorite mediums are graphite, chalk pastel, charcoal, Conté, and oil, and her beautiful paintings can be found in private collections around the world. She paints and teaches traditional figure drawing with joy and passion: “The human form is endlessly fascinating and being aware of its energy and fluidity is the ultimate teacher of really seeing!”

In this Q&A, artist Susie Wilson shares with PoseSpace details about her aspirations as an artist, what life experiences influenced her work, and the importance of gesture drawing to her:

What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?

When putting into words what motivates and inspires me as an artist, the first thought is that part of me ‘belongs’ to my art. It is difficult to describe, but there seems to exist a core self that is fed and feeds me through drawing and immersing; it is a very humbling feeling to be part of an energy and source far greater than myself. To study the figure intensely and connect with its energy, to follow the lines and pathways, to explore connections throughout the form and around its edges, is blissful and emotional! Translating all these discoveries of a living, breathing, moving, fleeting moment, and to capture them honestly onto a flat canvas or piece of paper and be able to retain some of it’s essence feels like a responsibility and a privilege every time I do it, and the enthusiasm is never diminished.. This is perhaps the aspiration. My goal as an artist is more than this as it becomes important now to share everything this journey has taught me. To this end, I have spent quite considerable time teaching figure drawing in a very traditional style which emphasizes technique, anatomy and form.

How has your style changed over the years?

Much of my original ’style’ has stayed the same, just become much improved I hope! It is my ability to see and interpret that have changed really. Also I am braver and prepared to fail more easily than when I was younger. As my attachment to outcome has diminished, the end result is open and not contrived.

What is the importance of gesture drawing for you?

I was glad to see this question included! Gesture drawing is essential to me!! Whatever the subject matter or medium, however much time I have allotted to the piece, however big or small it is intended to be, the gesture is vital. As a teacher, I begin every class with a minimum of half an hour of gesture practice and even for a long study the first twenty minutes is dedicated to the gestural overview of the entire work. Working quickly and seeing everything at once forces us to let go of any detailed or analytical frame of mind; we simply do not have time for erasing and second guessing and a looseness prevails and an opening of our eyes! It is energizing and liberating!!

What life experiences have influenced your work?

I guess in a way all life experience becomes a part of the evolution of our art. I personally have moved many times, lived in several countries and met people from all walks of life. As a result I have been exposed to a great deal of art and many artists work and ideas. Perhaps the most influential aspect has been the fact that I worked as a graphic illustrator and some of the story-board and comic book artists I was lucky enough to meet most definitely broadened my understanding of color and anatomy. These years are when I truly discovered the importance of gesture.

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model? 

I was introduced to PoseSpace several years ago by one of my students who fell in love with figure drawing and couldn’t get enough of the practice from our live models. I was skeptical at first but once I checked it out for myself found that the 360 degree views of each pose provided a very satisfactory substitute which I went on to use regularly and still am using today. Favorite models would be Shandra and JenB, but there are others I have loved drawing for certain individual characteristics, like Stephanie who is a great portrait model. 

Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?

There are far too many amazing artists to really have any be a favorite, but Andrew Wyeth and Alma Tadema are two of my most revered past artists and Nick Alm’s modern day watercolors literally take my breath away.

What is the most valuable lesson or advice you always give to your figure drawing students?

To enjoy the process more than the end result and not be too judgmental along the way. Also I emphasize that natural ability needs a LOT of practice to manifest and the journey is going to take a lifetime… so relax, enjoy and keep lots of notebooks handy!

Susie Wilson’s website: http://susiewilson.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pommegraphisfineart/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susieearthdancer

Interview with Tracie MacVean

“The ominous glow of the mountains burning really stuck with me, I felt I could only paint it out to cope with it”

Tracie MacVean is a talented artist based in Wodonga, Australia. Her beautiful paintings combine her two great passions in life: art and the environment. Through her work, MacVean wants to raise awareness that the natural world is threatened, and encourage people to take better responsibility for our planet.

In Tracie’s paintings, you will always find nature and natural elements, and the human form frequently depicted as a substitute where we would usually see native animals. Her powerful work has been recognized and she has earned several awards such as the “Emerging Artist Award” from the Chiltern Art Show, and the “People’s Choice” for the “Encompass” exhibition at Gigs Art Gallery.

Survivors Guilt 30cm x 40cm Oil on canvas, by Tracie MacVean

In this Q&A, artist Tracie MacVean shares with PoseSpace details about her paintings of the bushfires in Australia, the process of making her work and how social media helped her gain commissions and sell artwork:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

When I was a young teenager and my older sisters were creating beautiful art pieces but not pursuing it as a career. I knew if they wouldn’t, I would.

“Roo in the Burbs” 40cm x 30cm Oil on canvas, by Tracie MacVean

You are very active on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Youtube. How have these platforms influenced your work?

I wouldn’t say social media has influenced my work heavily but it has helped me with gaining commissions and selling artwork. I am a little bit disappointed with the reach my YouTube channel has received considering the amount of effort I put into it. I believe I was a little late for the Instagram band-wagon but Facebook is the one that has been the most beneficial in getting my work out there.

You’ve been making beautiful and moving paintings of koalas and other animals in bushfires in Australia. Can you tell us more about this project or collection?

At the end of last year I was very close to one of the bushfires. The ominous glow of the mountains burning really stuck with me, I felt I could only paint it out to cope with it. I was already halfway through a body of work when the bushfires came through but it fits in well with my concepts which addresses environmental issues including climate change.

“Echidna”, 30cm x 40cm, oil on canvas, by Tracie MacVean

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

I hadn’t heard of Posespace until quite recently actually. I’ve bought quite a few of the books and prefer them over the digital format. Now as my work is getting more detailed, I want to find more views of particular poses I want to capture – so doing a quick google search came up with Posespace. My favorite model at the moment is Mandy, but there are many others in the reference books I use and not sure of their names.

“The Watcher”, 30cm x 40cm oil on canvas by Tracie MacVean

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

My process has changed a lot and it really depends on what medium I’m using. At the moment I’m using oils and over time I’ve learnt what works best to create the painting I have in mind. The process has become quite structured – I usually start with an idea pf what I want to capture and then I search for references. Over the years I’ve made contact with some talented photographers who I may collaborate with or I search in books (eg Art Models by PoseSpace) if my idea involves the human form or, if I can, I try to take my own photos for reference. All of my paintings use at least 3 different subjects/reference images because I want as much of it to be my own idea. I then sketch the subjects (which are usually figures, trees, native animals or scenery for the background) onto a prepared canvas and I start blocking in whole areas with basic colours. I always have at least 4 paintings on the go at the same time so I’m never bored with any particular piece while allowing each layer to dry. It’s hard for me to say precisely how long each painting takes to complete but 4 paintings could take up to 6 months depending on the size.

“Survivors Guilt 2”, 30cm x 40cm Oil on canvas, by Tracie MacVean

How has your style changed over the years?

I think every artist goes through the most amount of change when they are just starting. I made a very big change about a year and a half ago and decided to focus on my attention in a very specific direction to create more conceptual, quality works. Really developing my painting techniques to a more ‘refined’ quality.

“Where Will Be The Bilby”, 30cm x 25cm Oil on canvas, Tracie MacVean

Tracie MacVean’s website: https://traciemacvean.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TracieMacVeanArtwork/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/traciemacveanartwork/?hl=en

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX_KYWj1VGNy-TrZmAVnknA

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Cheryl Handy

I want to spend more time honing my anatomy skills and understanding the structure and movement of the human form”

American painter Cheryl Handy identifies herself as an artist since she was 12 years old. She has always enjoyed writing and drawing, but when she started her professional career she had to choose a different path to support her family and spent a few years in the military, in school, changing jobs, and raising her family. However, she has never stopped painting and now she can finally paint full-time. 

Cheryl has participated in several exhibitions across the United States —such as the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Gallery, the Limner Gallery, and the MarketView Arts Gallery— and was named “Director’s Choice” to represent the state of Maryland at the Tevis Community Gallery in 2003. 

Vinnie’s cousin Vance – a nod to Van Gogh, 16”x20” acrylic on canvas

In this Q&A, artist Cheryl Handy shares with PoseSpace what are her aspirations as an artist, what life experiences influenced her paintings, about the process of making her work and more:

In your artist’s statement, you mention that you still have a lot to learn. What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?

Because I love creating portraits and figurative work, I want to spend more time honing my anatomy skills and understanding the structure and movement of the human form. Right now I still need a visual reference to create my ideas but hopefully, and no offense, I won’t always need PoseSpace or the like. I am practicing pulling images from my head and rendering them at will. When I can think of a pose and execute it without a reference then I’ll know I’ve arrived.

Last Dance – oil on canvas. Model: Anaiv

What life experiences have influenced your work?

I react to my environment. I enjoy painting family members, landscapes, abstracts and experimenting with different media. My social distancing/quarantine time this year has been spent creating a new series honoring the old masters, replicating some famous paintings – with a twist. I finished 6 of 10 paintings in the planned series before I took on a couple of commissioned portraits, and then recent events became the focus of my last 3 paintings and my current work in progress.

You recently shared an artwork inspired by one of our models, “Lady Justice Weeps”, can you tell us more about this painting and the process of making it?

This painting came to me as a result of viewing all of the tragic actions upending our country these past few weeks. I thought about how Justice is supposed to be blind and all people treated the same under the law and what a complete farce that is. Forced to acknowledge the disparities in the legal system because video evidence is now more widely available, Justice weeps because she inherently knows just how broken is the system. The scales are so unbalanced and broken we can barely hold on.

I had previously taken advantage of ZaZa’s free pose offered by PoseSpace and knew immediately that she would make a great model for my painting. Initially I thought the title to be “The Rape of Lady Justice” as she holds the draped cloth tight to her chest but as the painting developed I later decided to show her weeping as she tries (and fails) to hold the scales balanced.

Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?

Me! No, seriously, there are sooo many great artists that I admire. Famous: Kehinde Wiley has an exceptional style with intricate patterns, intense colors, and attention to detail that I can’t even wrap my head around. I love his work.

But my all-time favorite living artist is Marcus Suggs, aka Moe Da Truf. He has vision and skill beyond measure. If you think it, he can create it – 2D, 3D, tattoo, doesn’t matter. The man is a beast!

How has your style changed over the years?

Early on my figurative works were all faceless. I wanted the viewer to see themselves in the paintings instead of whoever else’s face I might paint. I tried to make all expression shown in the gesture rather than the face. Now I am more enamored with actual expressions to tell the story.

Thea II – 16”x20” acrylic on canvas. Model: Thea

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

I used to stop people on the street and hand them a business card and ask them to model for me. I didn’t get many takers (they probably thought I was crazy), and then I found PoseSpace. Thea was a favorite for a while. Currently I’m a fan of ZaZa’s but I actually have several models in my arsenal, some I haven’t gotten to paint yet. Edison was the model for my last painting, “S.O.S.”

S.O.S. Systemic Oppression in our Society (Save Our Souls) by Cheryl Handy – 16”x20” acrylic and oil on canvas. Model: Edison

What’s been your greatest artistic success?

I think my greatest success is yet to come, however, one of many proud moments is being named the “Director’s Choice” – the sole artist chosen to represent an entire county in the state of Maryland to show my work at an inaugural exhibition event in a neighboring county.

Oh yeah, and finishing a full month of Inktober a couple years back. 😊

How do you start a work — do you have any rituals?

Sometimes, well rarely, I start with a sketch, most times I just start painting.

Whenever I am working on a paid commission I have a little prayer I like to say: “Father God I pray that you steady my hand and sharpen my eye that I may create artwork worthy of the skill with which you have blessed me.”

When I am creating off the cuff, I simply let my emotions take over and that dictates what materials I may use, what media I choose, how it evolves. I may start with an idea but ultimately I let the painting tell me what to do.

Even though you identified yourself as an artist since you were 12 years old, throughout your life you were in the military, working in different jobs, raising a family. What advice would you give young girls who feel passionate about art?

I would tell any young person who is passionate about anything to just stick with it. Make a way to carve out some time to do what you love. There will be naysayers and non-believers but keep at it. Also, and I know it’s hard but, do not compare yourself to others. Observe, study, try different techniques until you find THE ONE that suits you best, but your only competitor is yourself. Try each day to do a little better than you did the day before – compare last week’s you to this week’s you, last year to this year and so on. You will definitely see the difference as time goes on.

Woman in Red Turban – a self portrait nod to Van Eyck, 20”x20” oil on canvas

Cheryl Handy’s website: www.handyconcepts.com

AP store (art prints/products): www.handyconceptsAP.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HandyConcepts/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/handyconceptsarts/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiG38dXKyhDzXHabBbGO5Sw?view_as=subscriber

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Leslie A. Brown

“The figure will always be relevant and loaded with meaning in art”

Leslie A. Brown is a talented American artist based in California. When she was a young girl, her grandfather used to take her to art galleries, and later, after working in a very different industry, she decided to study art at the age of 23. Brown got her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the  Carnegie Mellon University and her Master of Arts at the University of New Mexico.

“Aphrodite” by Leslie A. Brown (image shared by artist)

After finishing her studies, Leslie continued her artistic career and earned several awards and recognitions. She also participated in several shows and exhibitions and her artworks can be found in museums and corporate and private collections. She currently works as Art Professor and Gallery Director at Riverside City College. 

In this Q&A, artist Leslie A. Brown shares with PoseSpace how she got interested art, why she paints her dreams, how she views the current state of figurative art, a valuable life lesson and more:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

I was very much encouraged by my Grandfather to pursue art. We frequently visited museums and art fairs on the east coast in my childhood. When I reached my early 20’s I was working in a glass factory, and as most things in my life I had to do what I didn’t want to do to figure out what I wanted to do. I applied to Carnegie Mellon University at 23 and later received my master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. That is where my discipline and practice began.

Soul survivor” by Leslie A. Brown (image shared by artist)

Which artist has influenced you the most and why? 

I cannot really say a particular artist influenced me, but I do love the Italian painters of the Renaissance, Caravaggio especially. In my teens I was very inspired by the Pop movement. I followed Warhol, Larry Rivers, Rauschenberg and Thiebaud. My biggest influence however was a wonderful man and Professor from Carnegie Mellon, Herbert Olds. He is the finest draftsman I have never know and the kindest most generous soul. He allowed me to believe I had ability and could become prolific as an artist.

Where do you get your imagery from?

This is a question I am often asked. I do not go into a piece preplanned. I may collect some images or photos, but I never have a narrative or a finished piece or message in mind. That seems confining. I like the painting to tell me where it belongs and what it needs.  Imagery comes from dreams, people I meet, models, or a specific recollection in time that was life changing. When I awaken from a dream and I can not decipher any meaning I say: “I guess I am supposed to paint that.” Painting can be like meditation or prayer for me. I am a firm believer in the Jungian philosophy of the Collective Unconscious. I often think I am merely a vehicle that has the purpose of expressing consciousness far beyond my ego or opinions. 

The Shaman and The Trickster” by Leslie A. Brown (image shared by artist)

How do you view the state of figurative art in current art culture?

The figure will always be relevant and loaded with meaning in art. Attached meaning is inescapable since we are human and obsessed with our own image, perhaps more now than ever. I have taught figurative classes for over 20 years and I know students still have an enormous passion for study of the figure. Because of the vast significance that can be attached to the figure I think selling figurative art is more of a challenge, unless you are creating very sentimental, “pretty girl” imagery. It is rare that the figure will match the sofa without attached meaning.

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model? 

I think PoseSpace is a great tool and I, along with my students, are supporters and have used it frequently, especially since our current situation really does not allow gathering for live model sessions. I use posespace rather than other model sites because the photography and lighting is excellent. I usually paint women, so I primarily use those images from PoseSpace. I also generally have a pose in mind and as I browse the website I look for similar poses that will fit into my composition. 

Just don’t” by Leslie A. Brown inspired by posespace model. Mixed media, acrylic, spray paint on canvas 36 x 42 (image shared by artist)

Tell us one thing you thought you knew, that it later turned out you were wrong  about. 

Since I have entered my cronedom, I hope I am beginning to find my wisdom. In my youth, in the “Peace and Love Generation”, I believed my opinions and activism could change the world. I now know that change only comes from within and an enlightened consciousness, and that changing yourself is the only means to change the world. So, unless you are being paid to give your opinions, no one cares or wants to hear them, nor will they be swayed from their own. 

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hence the state of the present!

“An eye for an eye” by Leslie A. Brown

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Leslie A. Brown’s website:  www.leslieabrown.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/labart123/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesliebrownfineart

PoseSpace’s page:  https://www.posespace.com/artists/?ai=551

Interview with Greg Kimsey

“The nude figure is easily the most challenging thing to draw or paint because it is so familiar to us as humans. If something is wrong proportionally in the drawing, then it is readily apparent. Practicing drawing the nude figure will improve all aspects of your art”

Greg Kimsey has a clear memory of his first artwork or what he thought was an impressive drawing of Batman. He was just 3 years old and has been drawing ever since. As a teenager, he was awarded an Art Scholarship to Piedmont College but decided to join the US Navy instead. Years later, he was determined to get more serious about his passion and started painting, taking courses and got a job doing artwork on furniture. 

“Reminisce Faso” by Greg Kimsey inspired by PoseSpace model Anastasia

Now Kimsey likes to tell stories with his paintings, works primarily in oils and his favorite subject is fantasy, but he also enjoys painting landscapes, portraits, and still-life. This talented American artist paints and draws from his studio and store, the Art-Full Barn: a unique and fun 1920’s barn he and his wife Gail founded in 1998 as a gallery, that later also became an art school, supply and comic store, and studio in Clarkesville, Georgia.

In this Q&A, artist Greg Kimsey shares with PoseSpace why he chose oil as his primary medium, a beautiful anecdote about one of his paintings and what advice he gives to young artists starting their careers:

Why did you choose oil as your primary medium?

Oil has a luminosity I am not able to achieve with acrylics. I love the smell of oil! I love the way you can work them for hours to blend, or can add a drying agent to get them to dry quickly. My second favorite medium is graphite. I love to draw, and I love drawing the figure in particular.

One of your favorite subjects is fantasy. Where do you get your imagery from?

My inspiration for my fantasy work comes from all around me, other artists’ artwork, as well as my imagination. I will come up with a scenario, then seek out figures that fit the story. Live models can be expensive and setting up photo sessions can take a very long time and effort. PoseSpace has done the work for me and so far I have found every pose I need. 

“Empress” by Greg Kimsey

In your artist statement, you mention that your ultimate goal is for others to find their own stories within them through your art. Do you remember a particular moment when this happened?

One particular painting was one called God’s Light, where a ray of sunshine was shining on a rock in a mountain stream. A gentleman came in and told me what the painting meant to him; that is was his wife’s soul calling to him, saying that she was OK, and he cried. I did too. He thanked me for painting it. For me, the painting signified God calling me back to art after 5 years of putting down the brushes “forever”. The stories are not that dissimilar. 

What are your goals or aspirations as an artist? 

I am currently working very hard to improve painting human skin. I think I can draw relatively well and accurately, but the subtlety of skin tones is another beast altogether. So I aspire to be better at painting figures, not just drawing them. 

How has your style changed over the years? 

I have gone through several style changes over the years. I had my “impressionism” period, the limited palette period, etc. I have evolved to my current look through plein air painting studies, studying old masters such as William Bouguereau (both his figures as well as his backgrounds), and soaking up current masters such as Cesar Santos and Andrew Tischler, and try to bring what I can use from their work into mine.

How do you start a work — do you have any rituals?

I don’t really have a ritual for getting ready to paint as far as meditation or anything like that. I have recently become more aware of longevity in my art so I prepare my surfaces and use materials that will stand the test of time. I do several thumbnail sketches, working out composition and values, before touching the canvas. I search for reference, whether landscape or figure, and try to work out any issues in photoshop before beginning to paint. I have found computers to be especially indispensable in creating my paintings. I use plein air studies or live models as well whenever practical or possible.

What challenges do you face working with the nude figure?

The nude figure is easily the most challenging thing to draw or paint because it is so familiar to us as humans. If something is wrong proportionally in the drawing then it is readily apparent. Practicing drawing the nude figure will improve all aspects of your art.

“Dance of light” by Greg Kimsey inspired by PoseSpace model IrinaV

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

  I am so glad to have stumbled upon PoseSpace when looking for a model for a painting. I love the variety of models, skin tones, builds, and multiple angles for each pose. Anastasia is easily my favorite model, although there are several I go back to again and again. Thea, Jenni, Dave, IrinaV, Jesse, Mandy and Vaunt are my “go-to” models for my fantasy art. 

You also teach at the Art-Full Barn. What advice do you usually give to young artists just starting in their careers?

    The best advice I give all of my students is to start seeing as an artist sees. I urge artists to cast “labels” from their vocabulary and start seeing what an object is “doing”. It may be a tree, but don’t think of it as a tree; instead, see how it is illuminated, see its texture; is it soft and supple or is it gnarled and old, or maybe strong and stately. SEE and object, don’t label it. 

    My next advice for someone who wants to be a great painter is to become a great draftsman first. Learn to draw, and draw well, and your paintings will improve as well. That is where PoseSpace is invaluable as it offers the most difficult thing to draw at the outset. Everything after mastering the human figure is a piece of cake!

Greg Kimsey’s website: https://www.gregkimseyart.com

The Art-Full Barn: https://www.artfullbarn.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gregkimsey/

PoseSpace Artist Page: https://www.posespace.com/artists/?ai=463

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with WJ Lindauer

“The universe seemed to instill in me an incredible desire to sculpt and to study sculpture and art”

American sculptor WJ Lindauer started his artistic career when he was 54 years old. Ever since he can remember he has had a profound interest in art, but, instead, he pursued a professional career as a stone and brick mason and log builder. In 2012, a serious arm injury forced him to retire early, but allowed him to reconnect with his lifelong passion: sculptures.

Lindauer quickly became a self-taught figurative sculptor, devouring every art, sculpting, and anatomy book he could get his hands on. Soon, he started producing pieces of art and learning more about different sculpting techniques and mediums. His previous career also provided him valuable knowledge and skills, and he rapidly mastered the plastic arts. 

“Darius” by WJ Lindauer

In this Q&A, WJ Lindauer shares with PoseSpace how he became an artist after a long career as journeyman and builder, details of how he learned to sculpt and what advice he would give to his younger self:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

I suppose I had a slight inkling of my desire to pursue art when very young. I retained a love for and was sketching from a young age. I remember looking at the “Drawing and Art courses by mail” advertisements in magazines that existed at that time, hoping to be able to take one of the courses one day!

The older I got, those hopes were kind of shoved by the wayside. There was no support that I was aware of in the area I lived in to pursue an art-related career, more so a disdain for it in those years, so I sketched a bit through the first couple years of high school and that was the end of it.

I did sculpt a quite rudimentary sculpture of a partially nude “woman with a jug” pouring water in my sophomore or junior year of high school. It fired well. What I still laugh about today is the totally obvious “sideways glances” the nun who taught the class would continue to give to me concerning my subject matter! Haha!

“Bailey” by WJ Lindauer, inspired by Bailey018

You are a self-trained sculptor, can you tell us more about your learning process?

After school, I entered the work field and became a journeyman bricklayer, stonemason, and also a traditional log builder. Later years mostly focusing on historical work as it gave me more satisfaction in preserving historical structures.

After a life of this kind of work, I incurred some serious permanent injury to my shoulder and back which basically shut down my entire career about the end of 2012.

At this time and at about 54 years old of age, my learning process really started to begin.

The universe seemed to instill in me an incredible desire to sculpt, to study sculpture and art. It was almost like someone opened a faucet and the intense inspiration, desire, and understanding that I could and should do this gushed forth.

Living quite rural, I was nowhere near any larger cities or art-related communities to study, so I made the decision to self-train.

From then on, time was spent acquiring and devoured any book I could get my hands on concerning sculpture and some anatomy, as my passion seemed to lie in capturing the human figurative form and its beauty.

Slowly, I self-trained doing a stone sculpture and then moving to clay as a medium, learning more all the while. A lovely friend of mine, who will always have a special place in my heart, traded me a new kiln in barter for a couple of sculptures. I then had the ability to learn about kilns, firing, etc; and fired my own works.

“Yoga” by WJ Lindauer, inspired by Michaela025

Which artist has influenced you?

The two contemporary sculptors that influenced me the most are Bruno Lucchesi, and Philippe Faraut. Awesome sculptors. I’ve also felt a particular bond with Bernini  and Rodin‘s work.

Human figurative sculpture is my main artistic love.

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

I love Posespace! Oh my… there are SO many lovely models in so many various awesome poses on Posespace it would be unfair to settle on just a few! I did a sculpt of Vaunt recently that I loved doing and quite a few others earlier.

At times sculpting from just a single photo I’ve created some lovely sculptures… but having ALL the angles from Posespace and from such high-definition photos is awesome! I feel that’s about as close to sculpting from a live model that you are going to get… without having that live model.

“Vaunt” by WJ Lindauer inspired by Vaunt220

Is art a hobby for you or do you make a living from it?

Basically being retired now… I would not call it a “hobby” which I feel is downplaying it. I just simply would say it’s a “Love” of mine.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Ah, yes! Hindsight is 20/20! I believe I would tell myself as a young person: do not ever stop pursuing your innate love for art. Keep pursuing it if even on a part-time level, no matter what opposition or obstacles come against it. You may very well be able to practice it full time one day!

 WJ Lindauer’ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WJ-Lindauer-Sculpture-621101638010460/

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Craig Werkheiser

“I love studying the complexities of the human form, so expressive, and so beautiful. I look for aesthetic qualities depicting emotion through composition, perspective, lighting and color”

Craig R. Werkheiser is a talented painter based in Pennsylvania, in the United States. He fell in love with art at a very young age and later studied at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. His subject matter is nature and wildlife. On his website, you will find beautiful portraits of tigers, golden retrievers, and french bulldogs, but also stunning paintings of the human figure. 

“Grounded” by Craig R. Werkheiser inspired by benp052 (image shared by artist)

Werkheiser started using graphite pencil, then acrylic and oil painting, and currently he prefers pastels and watercolors. His style has changed over the years and his talent has been recognized in competitions and art galleries. In 2019 he was one of the winners of  the 5th annual ArtPop Billboard Competition and his painting, The Snow Leopard Trio, was displayed on a billboard until January 2020.

In this Q&A, artist Craig Werkheiser shares with PoseSpace why he prefers figurative art, details about his greatest artistic success, what he recommends to artists who have an interest in pet portraits and more:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

I grew up in Allentown Pennsylvania where I took to art at an early age. When I was a kid maybe around 7 or so, my mom gave me an old drawing set and the book “Learn To Draw” by JON GNAGY. I was hooked! I needed to learn more besides watching Bob Ross on PBS so I went off to art school. I graduated from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design where I studied illustration. Currently I consider myself a pastel artist. Figurative work and animal portraits.  

Which artist painter has influence you the most?

Oh gosh, there are so many! Boris Vallejo is one artist that made a huge Impression on me. Also Jason Morgan for his wild animal paintings in pastel. 

Painting by Craig R. Werkheiser (image shared by artist)

Why figurative art?

To perceive someone so beautiful and be compelled to reproduce that beauty into art. 

I find figurative work to be my ideal form of expression. I love studying the complexities of the human form, so expressive, and so beautiful. I look for aesthetic qualities depicting emotion through composition, perspective, lighting and color. 

What do you like about posespace? Do you have a favorite model?

Posespace is such a great resource. Love being able to find reference photos with out the hassle of photographing myself or having to worry about copyright infringement.  I don’t have a model that is my favorite but, I’m a fan of the hard lighting and the 360° for each pose.  Ok, Becca.  

“Grace” by Craig R. Werkheiser inspired by becca425 (image shared by artist)

How has your style changed over the years?

I have learned so much over the years and I’m still learning more each day. I feel that my style is forever in development. I started with graphite pencil like most artists, which led to acrylic and oil painting, that graduated to watercolors and pastel paintings.  The past couple years I feel I have really settled in to a style I really enjoy.  An experimentation of colors starting with a watercolor on board with water and salt to create interesting designs. Once that’s dry I’ll start rendering figure drawings on top in pastel or charcoal. 

What’s been your greatest artistic success?

I won an art contest to have my artwork displayed on a billboard for an entire year. The contest was through ArtPop street art gallery and was from December 2019-January 2020 around Pennsylvania in the Lehigh Valley area. It was a pastel painting of three snow leopard cubs. 

Artist Craig R. Werkheiser next to the billboard with his painting (image shared by artist)

You also have experience painting beautiful pet portraits. What advice would you give to artists who have an interest in pet portraits?

Whenever possible have a great reference photo. Practice! Put in the hours and practice. Be willing to experiment. For most pet portraits you do want it to look like the animal that your drawing or painting, but you can always try different avenues, techniques, or mediums to get there. 

Craig Werkheiser’s website: https://www.myartwerk.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/craigwerk_myartwerk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/craigwerkmyartwerk/


Interview by Andrea Miliani