Friday, February 19, 2010

Renee Kurilla - Cartoonist Survey #77

Renee Kurilla is a children’s book illustrator and animator. Her love of Saturday morning cartoons, Pixar movies and Disney led her to her career in art. She studied illustration and graphic design at The Art Institute of Boston. After graduating she spent a few years working as a freelance illustrator and then at an animation studio. Now she works at the Boston-based FableVision studio. Some of the companies that Renee has designed and animated projects for are PBS, The Cartoon Network, Columbia University, Scott Foresman Publishing and the Girl Scouts of America. Be sure to check out the examples of her fun illustrations on her website. She also has blog which she updates quite regularly.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I actually love drawing with those blue Papermate pens. You know, the ones that come 2,000 to a pack. :) They slide along on the paper just right.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I usually do sketches in pencil if I'm going to transfer the drawing to the computer. One thing the blue pens don't have the ability to do is erase, so pencil is nice. I have a mechanical pencil with .07 lead. My dad used to have tons of them when I was a kid, I stole them all the time.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I color everything on the computer, for now.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
My preferred medium is surprisingly oil paint. It's been years, though... nowadays I use watercolor when I can.

What type of paper do you use?
I either draw in a moleskin sketchbook, or just on regular old printer paper.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I hate drawing bikes, cars, planes, trucks, vehicles. Just vehicles. I am so bad at it.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I buy mostly from Dick Blick, but recently I purchased new watercolor brushes from Cheap Joes .

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I have to have a clean space around me, then I have to check my facebook, twitter, email, flickr....Then 2 hours later, I'm ready to go. (I'm only sort of kidding...)

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Love. Music. All kinds. I like Pandora because of the variety. I have Pandora stations ranging from Passion Pit to Django Reinhardt.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Always. Mostly the Sunday Funnies. I used to fall asleep reading them in the chair at my Grandmother's house. I love the dry humor of Garfield and the whimsical silliness of Calvin and Hobbes, the wisdom of Ziggy... I could go on and on. Hmm. I haven't gotten the Sunday paper since I moved to Boston, I should.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Oh I guess I got ahead of myself... Garfield was my favorite. Now I'm more of a graphic novel girl. Raina Telgemeier's comics bring back some of that old feeling.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I have a really thick book filled with literary gold. It's called the Illustrated Treasury of Children's Literature. It's falling apart. I wrote my name all over it when I was five and wrote my E's backwards. It's filled with fun pictures, classic stories, comic strips, and vignettes.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I went to the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University where I earned a Degree in Illustration/ Diploma in Graphic Design.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
The Internet has opened up so many doors for me, introduced me to loads of new artists, and provided me with endless inspiration. It's a blessing. It's the social networking sites that are a mini-curse...because they keep me from being productive.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mom used to paint ceramics when I was little, and she was also a florist. My dad is a photographer. Art sure runs in the family...but drawing was only me.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents. They were reluctant at first about art school, but they've seen how happy art has made me. I couldn't ask for any better support.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yup! Moleskin. I'm currently trying to keep two at a time. And fill them. Wish me luck.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
My career actually started with me hosting weekly drawing workshops for kids. That was 8 years ago...and nobody ever signed up. :)

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion. You have to work hard to succeed in this field. Really, really hard.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Mugs. Don't know why. I love coffee and tea. Nothing makes me happier than drinking from a fun mug. Weird, I know.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Any of the following: Goofy, Stimpy, Pinky, Bugs... I have a little bit of all those characters in me. I'm clumsy, goofy, boring, scattered...I've come to terms with that. :)

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Easy, I would be a florist. Though, flowers require an eye for art as well. I spent 3 years in college working at a local flower chain called, Kabloom. I loved that job. If I didn't have other ambitions, that's where I'd be. But I'm open my own store.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I sort of play guitar. It's a separate passion that I never really followed through with.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Never forget that feeling you got as a kid. That innocent view of the world and the desire you felt to grow up and live your dreams. It's so important. I find myself getting more and more in touch with my inner child as I grow.

Who is your favorite artist?
Hard question. I'm going to have to go with Nate Wragg. In general, though, I am a huge sucker for all the Pixar concept artists. They really know what they're doing.

Thanks again Renee.

Patricia Storms, illustrator and cartoonist from Toronto, Canada shares her answers next.


MJ said...

Hey Renee, very cool illustration work.

Gary Collarini Jr. said...

It is absolutely awesome to see you name popping up here and there on the internet when it comes to great artists. I still remember the snow days when when would go to Danielle's (god rest her soul) and you would draw Marvin and all kinds of other things on the wall in the computer room. You have always had great talent and I'm glad to see others are recognizing it on a bigger scale. It couldn't happen to a nicer gal.

Gary Collarini Jr.