V I C T O R C O L L I E R K E N N E D Y
Illustrator & Designer
Here is a portion of some of the visual work I have been proud to create in the past 25 years or so working for publishers, design firms, advertising agencies, and commercial and private clients. Through these years, I’ve tried to put into my work dynamic line, good use of color, a bit of humor or a spark of whimsy. I like the challenge of portraying these qualities in even the simplest, lowest-paying jobs. As a commercial artist, through which I have offered my services in design and illustration, versatility in technique and style has always been important to me. I appreciate the fact that I get to work with some of the most creative people out there: I am just thankful to be drawing and painting for a living. Besides the enjoyment of learning from those I aspire to, there’s nothing as rewarding as the difficult job of teaching. If you are browsing my little portfolio here, thanks. I sure hope at the least, something I have created brings you a smile or summons a muse of inspiration. If you need original art or looking for art instruction, just ask. 404-918-9198. firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the most rewarding as well as challenging work I have done has been for Hallmark Cards for their Shoebox division. I’ve been hired to do a lot of spec work for new idea pitches. In a position like this, an artist is hired and asked to copy the style of a high profile artist’s style. By doing this, they save a lot of money. Sometimes, we commercial artists frown upon copying someone else's style but that is a big part of the industry. When a high-profile illustrator or “celebrity illustrator” can’t be hired, the art director might seek out an available artist whose style looks similar and hire that artist to mimic.
A lot of the work I have done for Shoebox might not have ever made it to the store shelves. One thing that did get into stores was a puzzle of elves at a winter wonderland theme park. That was fun because I was given free range to draw it in my style. I illustrated it in my standard dip pen style: one of my traditional art processes: pen and ink (dip pen) and watercolor. Similar to my Guitarman.
Before I started teaching regularly, I found an artist’s rep by the name of Wilkinson Studios, Inc. in Elgin, Illinois. Nice people! I have illustrated a lot of fun, colorful and rewarding work for their clients through the years. You can go to their website and see examples of some of the work I have done for Scott Foresman and other publishers. It was the work I've done through Wilkinson that really helped me refine my skills as a children's book illustrator and opened up publishing to me.
My strong belief that everyone has a story is what led me to start teaching classes like Sequential Art. There’s something very special about writing and if you’re an artist you still need to write often. Learning about new words is a great adventure that pays off richly when you are describing anything. I was not a good student once I entered middle school and I suffered in my high school studies. Reading was not a skill of mine. I had a lot of trouble concentrating on my reading and retaining and it made me very insecure. This was in the 70’s before everybody’s idiosyncrasies were so analyzed and categorized in areas of dysfunctions. I began to love learning when I was about 28 or so. I found myself reading a lot. Soul-searching led an interest and then a passion for the Bible literature. I found reason to read through my own interests and got better at reading and writing.
I mention this because I have found, as a teacher, that many art students seem to have some insecurity with reading or speaking or writing. I want to encourage those by saying in due time your interests will see you through. And, by far, you are not alone. Everyone has their own challenges- whether they are good at hiding it or not. Lighten up and make misspellings away. Let spell-check or a friend help point out corrections. Draw aliens all you want to but be free to be human by being brave enough to ask for help with your writing. You’re getting better at it, no doubt. If others seem to be exccelling around you while
you’re not, try re-focusing on your own life’s rhythm
and know that God made you unique and He will never
compare you with others. He wants to remind you that you
are so special to Him that He has a plan for you and your life.
A lot of my illustration work has been for other people’s stories: helping them capture what they have in mind to represent their story. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it’s difficult. One great piece of advice I learned from a fellow illustrator was to commit yourself to the project no matter the parameters. The job might be a big one with a challenging art director who’s just plain
obstinate or not good at communicating, or a small job that
pays little and goes on forever. Or, no matter the circumstances, the job might be very profitable and rewarding. Either way, you should do is your best in all situations. Sure, there will be certain instances where there’s little chance you can afford to go the extra mile, but those are rare unless you are in the wrong line of work. In the end, your portfolio should show your best work. When a client looks through it they won’t necessarily know how this illustration profited you or how that one made you lose money when it was accomplished. It will even out to a certain degree. You just need to keep your work principles in check
and let the integrity in your work, small jobs and big
jobs, shine through.
Working & Teaching
As An Illustrator
It’s hard sometimes for creative people to ask for help or for answers or for honest mentorship and critique from our teachers. In college I stuck out a little bit because I was skilled at drawing and painting. I was insecure, nevertheless, probably because of my low academic scores. The biggest failure was not asking for help. Pretty ridiculous, right? I felt like I should know this! My pride kept me from asking questions. Please, don’t be like me. As a student or professional, ask questions. Ask for help. We are always learning. We should teach more often, too. Be competitive in your field but don’t hoard what you know.
Pices may go up in the future. Ask for update.
Designing As An Illustrator
Some illustrators just illustrate. Some are actually designers who like to illustrate. I am an illustrator who thinks as a designer: considering composition as well as all the art & design principles and the elements inside those principles. Even a cartoonist
can have or not have a good sense of design. Designers don’t need to be able to illustrate but it is good for illustrators to
be trained in graphic design so when they work, a respect for design principles elevate their art to stand on its own better.
Illustration by Micah Florian
A Serious Business
SERIOUS ISSUE #308-21G:
Susan is more than willing for the job and
volunteers to create signage for the
community but just not able. Awkward!
“Ahem! Susan, I said to paint a sign that
reads ‘BUS STOP’ not ‘bug stop’ and ‘Keep
OFF the Grass’, not ‘...ON the Grass.’
SERIOUS ISSUE #4A: World-wide
persecution of Christians.
Some outcomes are definitely more serious than others regardless of good intentions.
Education Encourages Versatility
I have also enjoyed working for people illustrating their home (graphite below) or painting commissioned oil pastels (fox above). A college major in art can be beneficial in many ways: studying architecture and perspective, landscapes and color theory and atmospheric properties, an assortment of art media and the techniques that go with them that accomplish certain effects. Also, any good school will give you a good foundation in drawing geometric and biomorphic objects. With the knowledge I gained in college at Auburn University majoring in Graphic Design with a compatible study in illustration, I have been able to further venture
into many genres and media. With that said, now you can achieve tremendous leverage in your training and studies in art via the internet. YouTube and special online classes and certain education offered by artists are giving students an affordable alternative to the rising expenses of college. Colleges, like the news media, have become corrupted by politics and social agendas. Social Media, until it crashes from bias control, is our great hope in education and networking. And in our work and studies, the internet provides an infinity of reference material to help us draw things correctly.
Pen & Ink with Watercolor
Black PrismacolorPencil/Digital Color
Design & Illustration
Pinwheel Creative Studios
Pinwheel Creative Studios
Pinwheel Creative Studios
“And then as I prayed in my mind silently, I sensed that something great was about to happen in my life. When I finished and looked out the window there you were getting out of your car!”
From Loraine, Loraine, Loraine, a story in progress by VC Kennedy.
“So a memorial is like… the Sabbath!”