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An interview with...

We asked these great illustrators some questions about their work and creative process.
The work of Sam Kalda
About Sam Kalda

I’m an illustrator from Brooklyn. I enjoy cats, collecting furniture, and drawing.

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Sam Kalda

How did you first get into illustration?

I studied painting and sculpture in undergrad, and worked on a documentary after college . After leaving that project I realized that 1) I was clearly not meant to be a filmmaker, and 2) how desperately I missed drawing.  For a number of years I had been sitting on an idea for a picture book, and finding myself a little lost at this point, decided I would give it a shot. I was thrilled to tell stories through images, and have been trucking along ever since.

How would you best describe your style of illustration?

It’s really a cocktail of things I love: mid-century graphic design, German portraits from the 30’s, Maira Kalman, curious objects and collections, architectural drawing and art history.

Please take us through your design process, where do you start?

Panic is certainly part of the initial phase. I think having inspirational material around is essential. I look for artists and designers whose work captures the mood of the article/story. Through some strange osmosis, these influences permeate my thinking about the topic. From there, I distill the ideas down into about three sketches for the art director.

What tools do you use for your work?

It depends on the project, but I pretty much always start traditionally---lately with gouache, ink and collage---then work in Photoshop.

When illustrating, do you sometimes get blocked for ideas? If so, how do you overcome that?

Of course. I think that’s a natural part of a creative process. When struggling to come up with a concept, I take a nap and/or a hot shower. I’m a huge proponent of nap-taking. While I enjoy a good walk just as much as the next person, I don’t really find it helps me channel an ‘aha’ moment. A post-nap fog is the threshold of revelation!

What would be your ultimate goal as an illustrator?

I’d like to write and illustrate picture books for adults. Doesn’t that sound lovely? More generally speaking, I’d like to continue to grow and experiment in my work. To continue to try something new in each piece.

What style music do you mostly listen to when you work?

Totally varies. I listen to a lot of NPR. Music-wise, pretty much anything under the sun. Lately, I’ve been into The Third Man score. And when I need a boost, there’s always Morrissey or Fleetwood Mac.

Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?

Just work as much as you can and experiment as often as possible. Try to develop your style, but be patient in the process---allow for some variation. And do not try to read the mind of an art director. Also, stay away from bath salts.

What web sites would you recommend viewing?

The work of Sam Kalda:

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All work is copyrighted by Sam Kalda. You may NOT copy or redistribute any of images within this page without the written permission from Sam Kalda.
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
The work of Sam Kalda
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