Interview with Illustrator Cheryl Cruz 12 February 2013

Since graduating from the Academy of Art University, SF, Cheryl has created illustrations, storyboards, animations and concept art for books, television, film and games, with clients including Free Range Studios, Noodle Works, Spunky Productions, Studio Media, EVB and ABS-CBN. When not working on professional assignments she writes and illustrates her own stories and is attempting to push her Spanish speaking skills beyond the rudimentary level.


When did you know you had a talent for illustration?

I grew up always knowing I'd be an artist but it wasn't until my first year in art school, after some time as a fine art major in a place where we were all encouraged to go the modern, abstract route, that I decided I'd much rather tell stories, whether in children's books, animated cartoons and so on.



Where did you study your craft?

I studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C., the Academy of Art University, San Francisco and at the Vancouver Film School (Vancouver B.C.).



What is your favourite medium?

It tends to be whatever I'm using most at the moment. If working on a series of digital paintings for a book, I want to use digital for everything. So, I like to switch from digital to pen and ink to pencil and so on.



What computer programs do you use?

I mainly use Photoshop for painting and Flash for animating.



How long have you illustrated children's books for USA Publishers, Dragonpencil?

About two years now!



Have you worked on Apps?

Not yet, but I hope to do some soon through Dragonpencil. Or possibly on my own, creating my own art books, as soon as I learn how!



How many books/works have you illustrated and what have been your favourites and why?

If you count the children's book I illustrated as a final project in art school, then I've illustrated a total of three! And illustrating the Demichat book, hands down, has been my favourite so far not only because I love Sherlock Holmes and all the stories he has inspired but because I had as much time and creative freedom as I needed to create the work I wanted to create.



How easy is it to work with an author through the Dragonpencil site and its communication system?

I love working with Dragonpencil! The people there are really helpful the communication site is really easy to use.



What are some of the new challenges facing illustrators in the digital age?

Maybe the problem of choice. There are so many art programs to choose from and learning how to use any one of them can be a long, frustrating process. Then, when first looking for work, you might find that though you may know Maya inside and out, the company you want to work for only uses 3D Studio. But, I think the main thing is to discern which programs you truly enjoy working in the most and then specializing in those programs.


But, overall, the biggest challenge for me is the age old one of always trying to do better than my last painting or project. Computers and the internet have brought about really positive changes to my life and career. It's allowed me not only to paint more quickly without any mess to clean up afterwards, but to also connect to more people and to work from basically anywhere in the world, provided there's internet access.



What is your website or blog address and do you offer your work for sale?


Yes, I sell my sketches, watercolors and oils through my Etsy shop -

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