Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sweet Sunday: The Art of Jean Calderone [ 09-09-2012 ]

Good Morning lil bunnies! It's time for today's Sweet Sunday! The treat for today is an awesome interview with a very dear friend of mine and amazing artist - Jean Calderone! She also worked with me on selecting a few pieces to show you today! (Prepare for an image-heavy post heeee....) 

There is a mixture of her fanart pieces and original pieces - You can find out more information on each piece by going to her DeviantArt page or clicking the image above!

1) Who are you and what do you do? What is your background?
My name is Jean Calderone. I'm a comic artist and I draw comics ;) Currently, I live in Brooklyn, New York with my family and pet turtle. I graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2011 with a BFA in Cartooning.


2) Why do you do what you do?
I think of myself as a storyteller, like a modern-day version of those from ancient times when myths were passed down to explain natural phenomena and our place in the world. Comics are just my medium for storytelling. I have read so many great comic stories that have inspired me, and I wish to tell one that will inspire someone else. It's a way we can connect with one another.

3) What themes do you pursue?
I noticed one reoccurring theme that pops up in the characters of my work deals with the internal struggle of trying to do what is right, and the balance between what one wants to do and what one has to do. It's not so easy to do the right thing, we all make mistakes and have to live with the consequences. 


4) When making art, do you do research? If so, what are the steps you take?
Yes. Drawing comics involves a lot of research, not just for the technical drawing, but for stories as well. I look for a lot of reference pictures either from the internet, or actually make a trip to the New York Library Picture Collection to browse for reference pictures there. Subjects can vary from.. just about anything. Although I mostly look for fashion aesthetic and environment references. And depending on the story, there would be a lot of information researching. If you're doing a period comic you would have to learn up as much as you can and be accurate to a specific time period in fashion, environment, culture, speech, and generally people's way of life from that time. Or if you're writing about a specific type of profession character, like a doctor, better study up on what doctor's do. Library and internet.. they are your best friends. 


5) How do you work?
I start out with the story concept or idea. Just get all my thoughts down, write or scribble notes, research, etc. When everything is fleshed out, or just enough for me to work on, I write out the script. My script includes not only dialogue but also a general description of my initial idea for how I envision the layout of each panel on the page. This makes it easier for the next step in drawing the rough sketch for each page. From the rough sketch, or thumbnail, I go ahead to the pencil, and finally, ink the page. Depending on the comic it may or may not involve coloring. During each stage, changes and corrections are made as needed. I mostly work traditionally by hand, with some final digital editing. Although I'm starting to consider moving more of the work to be done digitally. 


6) What do you like about your work? What do you dislike about your work?
Hm, I guess I like my character expressions and really capturing all their moods and emotions. I don't like how I'm struggling a bit with consistency within my drawings, and I wish I had much cleaner lines, maybe if I wasn't so heavy handed... Haha in general there's just always room for improvement. 


7) Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Probably one of the most inspiring moments of my life that led me to becoming a cartoon artist was meeting my cartooning teacher from the School of Visual Arts' Precollege Program (who later on became my teacher again when I went to that school for college). I have always drawn comics for as long as I can remember, but growing up, everyone else besides my sisters and friends saw comics as something childish or just a hobby. I don't think I've fully considered entering the comics field seriously until my mother enrolled me in a pre-college class for cartooning. My teacher at the time (shout out to Keith Mayerson!) was the first adult I have met personally who spoke about comics with loving passion and maturity, and was the first adult to support me to continue to draw comics. I didn't even know those kind of people existed! (Adults actually taking comics serious? Blasphemy! Haha) I think if I had never met him, I probably wouldn't be where I am now. 

8) What role does the artist have in society?
The artist observes the world around him or her, then produces a commentary through his or her work. As summarized by one of my favorite quotes from the book, My Name is Asher Lev, “As an artist you are responsible to no one and to nothing, except to yourself and to the truth as you see it. [...] An artist is responsible to his art. Anything else is propaganda."

9) Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It could be, especially when those who are not involved with art do not understand what you do or why you do it. But that's why it's also crucial to have positive people who support what you do, especially in my field where we draw inspiration from other people. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends and don't be a hermit. Also, keep a positive attitude. 

10) What do you dislike about the art world?
I don't like the placing of a hierarchy in art that classifies one type of more value than the other. Especially when I get a lot of “Comics isn't art.” There's a lot of snobbery that goes around with Fine Art vs. Commercial Art. Although to be honest, I've seen it go both ways. There are fine artists who think comics have no value whatsoever, and then there are comic artists who think that there's no need to study from classical works of great artists that came before their time. Needless to say, I think both notions are rather ridiculous.

I also really don't like when people pit Western Comics (Marvel/DC) against Eastern Comics (Manga). Both have their pros and cons as with anything else. And I love both actually. Well, I'll like any comic if it's

11) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Keep going. Don't stop, don't quit. Work hard. And don't be afraid to try new thing. 

And for all you lucky readers, here is a sneak peek at one of her recent works~

Thanks so much, Jean for letting me interview you! If anyone wants to check out more of Jean's art, please be sure to check out her Deviant Art site at: ♥ Elf Chuchu Art ♥!

Until Next Time~

Cuddles & Kisses,

~ Kieli ~

All images are created by Jean so DO NOT TAKE THEM! If you have questions or comments, please contact Jean on her site!