Hey ! CrewKoos interviews are now fully entering the 21st century as you can now find us on Twitter (I think the adress is https://twitter.com/PostersIntervie , but I am still not very familiar with that) !! And guess what ?! Pink Kloud was my first (and only so far) followe, this is already a good reason to welcome her on the site :) Add to that colorfull designs and a large mix of influences, and here we are ...
Lately I've been obsessively listening to the new Fiona Apple, Lockets, Rival Schools, St. Vincent, and a bit of Blossom Dearie
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I'm a graphic designer and illustrator based in Vancouver, BC. I'm originally from the prairies and sometimes I miss the big sky. One of my main clients is a children's book publisher and I love the work I do. I also make music and just started a new band called Be KinD.
When did you start drawing?
Like most artists, it started when I was a kid and I guess I never got the memo that I should "grow up" and stop. I draw a lot for work but I'd like to focus on drawing for fun again.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I went to art school (Emily Carr University) and spent many hours in life drawing sessions, using up erasers and crumpling up drawings left and right. I love to express myself in all kinds of creative ways: dance, painting, music, photography, printmaking. I'm still learninc.
After many years of having every job imaginable, I am finally making a living doing creative work. I feel really grateful. I worked hard to avoid the 9 to 5. I may work more hours than that in the average day but it's what I love to do so it never feels like a grind. And it's on my own terms, which is very important to me - to have flexibility, to choose what I do each day, to make my own schedule.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Opportunities like that haven't yet come up but I would be open to them.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
I am influenced by so many things: friends, yoga, other creatives, travel, nature, music, colour. Some of my favourites sources: children's books, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anne Faith Nicholls, Graham Roumieu, Tomi Ungerer. I like really graphic, colourful artwork that has a playful sense of humour.
What are the principal steps in your work?
I think about what I want to do for awhile before I get anywhere near the computer or a sketchbook. Lots of thinking while I'm walking or doing other things. An idea might percolate in my mind for a week or more depending on the timeline. It's always there in the back of my mind. And then I collect reference images and get more specific about how I want something to feel. More thinking, more brainstorming, and then I just go for it. I am impatient to finish so once I sit down to work on it, it gets done pretty quickly.
Sometimes I draw on paper and scan in; other times I just draw on the computer. It depends on the project. It also depends on how much detail is involved.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Sometimes it happens very quickly and other times it's more of a production. But it rarely takes me more than a few days from start to finish - I mean, once I sit down to actively produce it. The thinking/researching time is much longer. Once I have an idea, I find it's pretty easy to get it done.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
For which band have you already worked for?
I've done work for Diamond Dancer (my old band), Joel Battle, Young Liars, Tough Lovers, Too High Crew. Vancouver-based bands and promoters mostly.
For which band would you love to work
Wow. I've never really thought about this. Kurt Vile, PJ Harvey, M83, Neil Young, Ryan Adams…all kinds of bands.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Generally clients approach me.
Making sure the information is legible and effective. There's no sense in designing a good-looking poster if no one can figure out what it's for.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else?
I don't think I'm part of a scene but there are a lot of great artists and illustrators in my city. I just did a poster show at a local gallery and through that I met a handful of inspiring designers that I didn't even know existed previously. I think it would be great to form more of a community here. There are a lot of people here who are creating events and working towards that.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
My graphic design work is here: http://www.pinkkloud.com. You can see a selection of my gig posters here: http://www.gigposters.com/designer/144311_Carmen_Leah.html. I'm in the process of creating a portfolio for my illustration and that will be at http://www.carmenleah.com.
I've been getting a lot of praise from my new clients and it always makes me happy to create work that pleases them and gets them excited about their project and putting that out into the world for others to enjoy.
What can we wish you for the future?
More illustration work, more opportunities to try new things and to show my work. And a children's book is in the works!