“I really enjoy being a freelance artist, spending my time working on the things I love”
Carol Heyer is an American full-time illustrator and writer who usually combines fantasy, sci-fi and realism in her work. She has created 30 children’s picture books—among them Humphrey’s First Christmas and Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude— and has earned several state awards. She has also worked for prestigious companies such as Disney and Scholastic, and even wrote Thunder Run, a film released by Cannon Films.
Her rescued dogs, Peanut and Cashew Nut, are her studio companions and coworkers. This talented freelance artist is constantly working on new projects. A few months ago, Heyer’s painting for a fantasy series, “The Root Doctor”, won a Finalist Award in the CFA, The Circle Foundation For the Arts contest.
In this Q&A artist Carol Heyer shares with PoseSpace how she got into illustration, who are her favorite artists, how PoseSpace helps her develop her art and what life experiences influenced her work:
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into illustration?
My mother was a great artist and she taught me how to draw when I was a young child. She instilled a love of art that never left me. My father was artistic too. He made gold rings cast from wax forms. Eventually he started making contemporary sterling silver jewelry. I learned jewelry making from him and made jewelry for a few years.
I took art in high school and then when I went to college, they asked me what my major was, I said art and I’ve never stopped painting and drawing. I work mainly with acrylic paint on portrait canvas and prefer working larger, at least 30” X 40”.
Which artist or painter has influenced you?
There are so many, but I think my all-time favorite is still Maxfield Parrish. I love his colors, the contrast between cool and warm. I also like N.C. Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth.
Alla Prima, or direct painting is a style I really appreciate, and among the artists I admire are Richard Schmid and Tibor Nagy.
Have PoseSpace photos and books helped you in your artistic career?
Definitely! For years now, I’ve bought all of the books offered and many, many of the individual poses and sessions for various freelance assignments I’ve worked on.
Well I’m a full time illustrator with little time to hire models. So I take full advantage of PoseSpace and all of the amazing photos. I’ve painted angels, and wizards, book covers, educational art et al. I always say I’ve painted everything from bookmarks to book covers! I prefer to work realistically and having great reference is essential for me to get the results I’m after. I often take several PoseSpace images and meld them together to fit my composition.
What is the importance of gesture drawing for you?
Figure drawing is really important in all my work. Gesture drawing brings a spark of movement and energy to all of my illustrations, from humor to realism.
Do you have any shows or activities on the horizon that you’d like to tell our readers about?
I was invited to show my art at in the TRAC 2019 Invitational Show, (The Representational Art Conference). I currently have three paintings on display. The name of the show is Imagine and the art leans toward fantasy, which is my specialty. Among the artists showing are Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell and Roger Dean, etc. all artists at the top of their field.
I’m also working on a new children’s Halloween picture book and I’m having so much fun creating the characters and writing the text.
I like to have at least three easels going at the same time. I.E., one with fantasy art, another with children’s illustration and of course one with my current assignment. If I find I get bogged down on one painting, I switch to another and work on it for a while. Then I can go back to my original work with a fresh eye.
What life experiences have influenced your work?
I worked for several companies in their art departments, including a movie production company. There I worked on story boards and production art, as well as writing. One of my scripts Thunder Run was produced and released in theatres. Another was produced and released to video. I worked there for some years before going out on my own to become a freelancer, illustrating and writing children’s picture books et al.
I really enjoy being a freelance artist, spending my time working on the things I love.
Carol Heyer’s website: http://www.carolheyer.com
Interview by Andrea Miliani