Interview: Tad Carpenter

The fabulous Tad Carpenter is one of the participants for our PikaPackage Project in December where he sent in prints from his show Mayhem, Mischief and Monsters, and his work is wonderfully bright and cheery! He’s also one of the sweetest too, and I’m so happy that he’s going places, especially since he was mentioned in a lot of places including Drawn! and Illustration Mundo.

Take it away Tad!

Name: Tad Carpenter
Location: Kansas City, Missouri USA
Website/Shop: www.tadcarpenter.com
Illustration media: mixed media: silkscreen, digital, paint

Tell us a little more about yourself.
Well, I live in Kansas City as a designer and illustrator and feel very lucky to work on great projects everyday.
My work ranges from traditional branding jobs to greeting card design to lots of gig posters and band merch and of course various illustration projects.
I just designed a toy for kidrobot that is being released in May 2009 which is a real thrill.
On a personal note I marrying my beautiful girlfriend ( a fabulous graphic designer in her own right) in June so we are getting ready for that.

How did you get your start in illustration?
I got into illustration at a very young age. My father is an illustrator and I grew up watching my father and knew that was what I wanted to do.
I can remember my first real taste of illustration in the 4th grade. I won a contest where one of my drawings was selected to be on the season tickets of Kansas City’s professional football team the Chiefs. It was published on 80,000+ tickets and I went down on the field and was on the jumbo-tron and won free season tickets. I thought this drawing thing is pretty sweet. A real life pro football player even came to my school to see me too, I felt pretty cool. I was hooked from their on.

Could you tell us more about your thought process when you start a piece?
When I start a process no matter what the job I always sketch first. I feel sketching is so important. I keep a little sketchbook at all times and when I begin a project I start by making little thumbnails where I work out composition and shape. After I choose which ideas have the most legs I move on to a tighter sketch.

Do you keep a journal/sketchbook, and would you mind if we had a sneak peek?
Yes I do, several. Here is a link to my sketchbook
Not the best example of how I sketch but some funny things.

What or who inspires you?
I am inspired by so much. I have lots of friends that are very talented illustrators that inspire me everyday. One specific thing that I really draw inspiration from is vintage children’s golden books. I love artist like J.P. Miller, Mary Blair, Richard Scarry and Aurelius Battaglia. I also love to travel. When ever I get back from a trip I always come home with a big stack of books and toys and art and stickers and all kinds of good things. To sit that pile in your office and admire it and use it as inspiration is a great tool.

What keeps you motivated?
You know, I am not sure. I just really love doing what I am doing. It sounds crazy but if I did not do this as a job I would sit around and draw all day anyway so continuing to make great work is a lucky thing to be able to do. I think that is big key for any profession.

What’s your favorite tool?
My favorite tool would be my lucky Mirado Black Warrior 100% premium cedar pencils. The best cheap simple pencil you can find.
Do you think they will send me a free case of them?

Are you a full-time artist?
Yes I am. I work as an illustrator/ designer/art director on various projects all day and night long.

What advice would you like to give people who would like to sell their works online, or get into a gallery?
The gallery scene I have to say is a lot of fun. I had a show in Seattle at the Blue Bottle gallery in September, one in Kansas City that opened December 5th and one in Florida at the Bear and Bird gallery opening in February. All so far have been a blast to prepare for and even more fun once the show opens. I highly recommend doing it. Most galleries are always looking for and accepting proposals so put one together with some ideas and make it happen. I also sell posters and prints on my website which is great. I think it is a great aspect to have on your own website. It can get hard to fulfill orders if you are not careful though.

Where do you see yourself within the next few years?
I hope I will be doing the same kind of work as now. I am in the process of working threw a couple children’s book ideas so I hope to do more work like that.

What message do you want to send out to people about your work?
I hope people have fun when they look at my work. I sure have lots of fun making it. I think illustration and design really is meant to be fun and i know thats what I want people to see and take away from what I do. Let’s all just have some fun!

Tell us something random!
Here are couple random thoughts:
1. I LOVE peanut butter
2. My favorite color is pantone warm red (right now)
3. I just purchased a wooden 1934 Schoenhut Felix the cat toy on ebay.
4. I love ebay
5. I drink a lot of grape Kool-Aid

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{Thanks Tad!}

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