VSS Illustrator Interviews

In doing these interviews, we hope to give you a glimpse into our artist members' unique personalities, a new perspective on their wonderful work, and the opportunity to know what inspires them!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Steve Feldman

This week's featured artist is Steve Feldman. Steve is another pretty new addition to the VSS and we are really happy to get to know him! Steve is working on some secret projects but he sent along lots of fun art that he can share. Be sure to check out his website! www.stevefeldman.com

How did you get started in illustration?
Like many illustrators I was always drawing and interested in creating art from a very young age. After I graduated from art school it took about four years for a good volume of work to start coming in. At some point things just started to happen.
What is your favorite medium? Can you describe your usual work process for us?
I am in the final stages of transitioning to being a digital illustrator. I begin with a traditional pencil drawing, scan that into the computer and then "paint " with a Wacom Tablet in Photoshop. Sounds easy! but for me the learning process in making this a viable way of working smoothly through every stage of each illustration project has been intense. I do greatly enjoy working this way and the advantages it provides. I also continue to create fine art traditionally with my first loves, acrylics and watercolors.
Do you write as well as illustrate your own stories? Which comes first for you?
I have written and illustrated one graphic novel that I completely self produced. Controlling the entire process was very exciting and a great learning exercise. Unfortunately, without any outside input, guidance or thought toward a prospective market the pool of potential interested readers is very small. My next effort in this area will have a somewhat broader appeal.
Do you illustrate full time or do you also have a day job?  How do you balance the different aspects of your life?
I am a full time freelancer. Maintaining a balance is at times a difficult aspect of freelancing for me. I can go from being completely overwhelmed with work to having nothing in a short period of time. I have quite a few activities I am involved with and many have the flexibility to be rescheduled or called upon last minute if I need a change of pace.
Where in the country do you live? Could you describe your studio?
I live in the Grande Ronde Valley in rural northeast Oregon. The temperament and pace of life here is a perfect match for me. I use the loft area of my home as my studio. It is about 500 square feet, minus the stairwell and chimney. My decor tends more toward utilitarian than homey, but the views more than make up for it! The north windows actually overlook the historic old Oregon Trail.
Tell us about your education and training. Did you learn more through school or your own experiences?
I took most of the art classes at Pasadena City College and then went through Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. It might be too easy for me to discount the value of my formal education, but the learning that occurred after I got into the "real world" far exceeded anything I learned in school.

Please list any of your publications and let us know your website.
My website is www.stevefeldman.com
I have illustrated for widely varied publications and uses in both children's and adult markets.
Tell us about your current project.
Currently I am doing quite a bit of educational illustration. Unfortunately, contractually I won't be able to say anything about it for a number of years!
Who are your favorite children’s illustrators or authors?
My first memory of being awed by an illustration is the spread in "Go Dog Go" by P.D. Eastman where three dogs are on a little boat at night. The interplay between the three dogs and the overall mood was absolutely captivating to me. I do enjoy looking at children's market illustrations and see many that I admire. I don't know if I could name favorites

What inspires you?
That is a good question and maybe a little difficult to answer. I have always felt my creativity as an internal spring that flows from somewhere within me. It has always been a constant flow and needed my expression as an outlet. I think I am more internally driven than inspired by external influences.  

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I really don't think I ever considered anything other than an arts related career.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I spend time with my family, my wife, daughter and mother. We live in one house with my mom in her fully self sufficient space on the lower floor. I greatly enjoy many of the outdoor activities available locally, hiking, backcountry skiing and mountain biking and my newest passion, gardening. I am also active in the community, serving in arts, environmental and sustainable agriculture related organizations. 

What job would you like to have if you weren’t an artist?
I think I would pursue something related to sustainable organic farming in its purest form.
Any advice you’d pass along to illustrators just getting started?
Don't neglect the importance of learning the business aspects of being an illustrator. Become knowledgeable about contracts and copyright. Act in a professional manner toward those you deal with and insist that you are treated as a professional.

Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
I think illustration is a great profession. I know many people my age who are burned out on their jobs and longing for the day they can retire and really "start living". After 25 years in the business I am just as excited as ever with each new assignment I get. I am still learning all the time and love the variety of jobs that come my way!


  1. A wonderful interview and a great look into your art and your life. Your studio is amazing. It is so inspiring to hear about your 'other' desire for organic farming. I agree, that being an illustrator is a lifelong profession and one that provides inspiration for art and for life each day.

  2. Thanks Ginger!