An Interview with Gayle Kabaker
Hi Gayle, Your daughter is the Famous Musician Sonya Kitchell and now you have come out with an animation built around one of her songs! How does it feel to work so closely with your daughter?
I didn’t even show it to her til it was almost finished! Her song inspired me – and I wanted to show how my paintings and drawings could move – so I decided to just do it with no input from her. I was really hoping she’d like it and want to use it, and I did take some of her suggestions in the end. But I really just wanted to do this how I wanted – with very little input. Luckily she LOVES it and is very excited about it. I was originally inspired by some very primitive animated movies by Anthony Russo. I asked him to help me and he came and painted with me for a day – so some of the images in the video are his. He helped me conceptualize how it would look – and after I finished all the paintings, and did a storyboard, I handed it over to Evan Yeadon who did all the Flash. We were more limited in Flash then I’d thought – and had to make concessions because of this. But I am still thrilled with the end result. It took about 3 months to complete.
Could you tell us more about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer?
I’d always loved to draw ever since I was a little girl and always loved fashion illustration. I went to art school at 18 and graduated at 22 – doing all fashion illustration. Gradually I started branching out into general illustration – then into design as well – wanting to have more control over what was done with my art, as well as to just be able to have a broader range of what I could do. .
Sometimes I look at illustrators and fine artists and take elements of their style that I really like and make it my own. Music inspires me. I do a lot of pattern and texture in my work so I love to gather labels and patterns from all kinds of things to use as inspiration.
What hardware and software are you using?
I paint in Acrylics, Acryla Gouche and watercolors – then scan my paintings into Photoshop and collage it all together. I love faking people out who think it’s all just one painting. Sometimes I draw my line on the computer ( with a pen and Wacom tablet) and sometimes I scan my line art . I use Indesign for design work. I can work in Illustrator a bit – but don’t love it.
How does your job as an artist and designer influence your life? Do you feel that you see things around you differently?
I never know when I am going to have money! But I feel lucky for all the flexibility in my life.
Where would you like to be with your illustration 5 to 10 years from now?
I’d like to have a team of people that I coordinate – a virtual design – marketing firm. We’d work regularly on projects that have many components for marketing a clients event, campaign or product. Our small agency would be able to manage all aspects of a campaign including, design, illustration, radio, web, TV, and film. We’d specialize in campaigns that are so strong they really make a difference in the world. As an illustrator – in 5 years I’d like to be able to have a demo reel of my animated movie and TV title sequences – and a page on L&S’s website with my New Yorker covers!