Monday, June 29, 2015

STUDIO SPACE: Daryll Collins

Daryll Collins is a freelance cartoonist/humorous illustrator for a variety of clients. He graduated from Youngstown State University with a degree in Commercial Art and also attended the Columbus College of Art and Design. 

His work has appeared on: 
-Greeting cards for Hallmark, American Greetings and Gibson. 
-The Stink Squad book series for Simon and Schuster. 
-Magazine illustration for Boys’ Life, SI for Kids, Time(Asia), Disney Adventures and National Geographic World among many others. 
-Also character design and developmental art for Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network and Film Roman.

And… kid’s game board/puzzle illustration and advertising for Post Cereal, McDonald’s, KFC, Sprite, etc.

Location: Independence, KY
On the Drawing Table:
I’m finishing up a series of illustrations for Scholastic that will be animated and used for a video about Johnny Appleseed.
Coming out soon: I have a new comic strip called “Wolf Gang” that will be featured monthly in the Cub Scout version of Boys’ Life Magazine. It features the antics of Wolf Pack Den 9, a group of kid wolves that are scouts. Also, I just recently finished a children’s book called “Snitch & Sneer Fairy Tale Crashers” now available on just in case you’re interested...
How did you get your start as a professional artist?
My first job as an illustrator was working in the art department at WCMH-TV (NBC) in Columbus, OH. It mostly involved creating station ID’s/promotions and news graphics. 
There weren’t a lot of funny things going on in the news so I didn’t really get to utilize my cartooning chops until my next job at Gibson Greetings in Cincinnati.

Describe your work.
My work would best be described as funny, energetic and colorful.
The type of work I do these days is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. The bread and butter industries that I used to depend on for the majority of my assignments are going the way of the dinosaur!
Magazines, greeting cards and print in general are not the plentiful sources of income they once were. It’s a real scramble these days to secure work. More illustrators are competing for smaller slivers of an ever diminishing pie. Also, budgets aren’t what they used to be so you’re doing more work for less money.  

Tell about your workspace.
Right now I’m working in about 1/6th the space normally devoted to my studio. I recently got married and sold my condo. The only space available in my wife Dawn’s home was an extra bedroom. Things are a little cramped and I’ve held back on much of the funky decor as the plan is to build a new studio in our basement. That will happen sometime next year. I do miss having all my supplies, books, knick knacks and TV in one place. Until then I’ll make do!


What are your favorite materials digital and traditional? 
I’m pretty disappointed in the traditional materials I’m forced to work with these days. There are less artists using them so the quality has greatly diminished. Manufacturers cannot afford to make their products with the same attention to detail and performance. Especially in the quality of the paper cartoonists use (Bristol Board). It’s become such an issue that I’ve started to digitally ink my illustrations with a Wacom tablet. The program I normally use for this is Illustrator, but I’m starting to dabble in Manga Studio and Photoshop. I color all my work in Photoshop as well. But it’s not as satisfying as sitting down with pen and ink to render a cartoon. Also, I cannot tell you how many times these days I snap off the ends of pencils while drawing or rip through tracing paper. Has anyone else noticed how loose the lead inside Ebony pencils has become? It’s an outrage!


What’s your typical workday/work session like?
I try and keep a regular schedule and am usually in my studio by 7am. The amount of hours I work on any given day depends on deadlines. I do like the flexibility of being a freelancer. I can make appointments, etc. during the day and finish my work later on.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated as you work?
The thought of paying my monthly bills is a great motivator! But I genuinely love what I do and sometimes you get a bit burned out creatively, but it never lasts. We are compelled to draw and create! I also think looking at the work of others, and there is a treasure trove of talent here in the Cincinnati area, is inspiring. Oh, and coffee.

What is your dream job?
I would like to be doing my own comic book or animated series. 98% of my work is in the kids market, although my true sense of humor would probably fall into the R rated category. Also if we are talking any kind of dream job I might as well say a successful career playing music, playing baseball, hosting a talk show or being in a sitcom would be pretty cool. But I do feel blessed to be making a living doing something I love.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes I do and it’s kind of a sketchbook/diary. It’s a repository for my thoughts, social commentary, top 10 lists, rants, jokes and gags, quirky idea sketches and character designs. I should probably do more life drawing and sketching of actual places. Illustrators like Christina Wald make me feel like a slacker as she is an avid and prolific on site sketcher.

What do you listen to while you work?

While I’m writing gags, I don’t like any competing voices, so silence rules. I could listen to instrumental music I suppose, but prefer silence. Otherwise I LOVE music! I usually put my 9,000 something song iPod on shuffle play and away we go! Sometimes I’ll listen to podcasts or a Reds game if I’m working at night, depends on my mood.

What are you reading/listening to on Audible?
I tend to listen to podcasts/conversation if I want something different than music. This is such a solitary way of living that I like to have conversation going on even if I can’t actually contribute to the discussion! I do manage to read a lot of magazines/articles and 3 or 4 books per year. I usually like to give my eyes a rest after mind melding with a piece of paper or computer screen all day so maybe I should take in more audio books in my spare time.

Who are your artistic influences? 
 My greatest influences were the early limited animation Hanna-Barbera and Jay Ward Studio cartoons. I can still see their influence in my work to this day. That graphic cartoon look you would see in advertising of the late 50’s and early 60’s for sure.
What do you do that is not art related that inspires you?
I play in an adult baseball league and although I don’t think it necessarily inspires me art wise, it’s a great release from sitting on my can all day, drawing. Plus it allows me to socialize, especially with people outside the arts community. You want to talk about two worlds that never seem to intersect… sports and art! I used to play guitar and I’d really like to start playing again, even if I don’t have the time to get my skills up to the level I did when I was a teen/twenty-something. As my wife Dawn says, “You don’t have to play like Carlos Santana or those guys in ZZTop, just play!”

What was the best advice you got in your career so far?
Hmmmm… I don’t think I’ve gotten any really great career advice. If I could go back in time and talk to an 18 year old Daryll I would say,  “Go to art school instead of a university art program. You’ll develop your art skills quicker and with more depth.” And, “Concentrate more on training your eye to do caricature.” There is always a demand for that, but it’s very hit or miss for me. I was lucky to have supportive parents especially coming from a very blue collar environment in Youngstown, OH. I had talented friends who’s folks told them in no uncertain terms that they were not going to pursue an art degree, pick something that will allow you to make a decent living! 

What is your favorite color?
That Huckleberry Hound blue. It’s kind of Aquaish.

How can we get best follow your art online/on social media?
Social media exhausts me! Every illustrator out there is screaming, “HEY, LOOK AT WHAT
I’M DOING! HERE’S MY LATEST CREATION! HIRE ME!”, with a series of hashtags following. How much of this social networking really results in assignments? Seems like a lot of wheel spinning to me. In fact I don’t know what the protocol is these days for freelancers to successfully secure work. This industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years and the days of advertising in a directory or two and waiting for the phone to ring are over! I post things on Facebook and my family and friends seem to like them but as a marketing tool, the jury is still out.   

I used to do a blog, but it’s been kind of neglected. If you start one you better add new content on a regular basis or people will stop checking in. I’ll finish with a shot of my studio companions, Kirby and Jimbo.

Kirby and Jimbo

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sketching at Taft Ale House

Vanessa Sorensen's sketch
Vanessa Sorensen and I took a quick break from deadlines last Friday to get out and sketch. I had my eye on Taft's Ale House to sketch the exterior but was just as happy to sketch inside, drink beer and eat smoked chicken wings.

The Ale House is a gorgeous renovated church. They also have this great logo.

It is an homage to Ohio President William Howard Taft getting stuck in the bathtub. There is even a delightful children's book about it by Caldecott winner Mac Barnett called President Taft is Stuck in the Bath that seems to have a place here even though it has nothing to do with the Ale House.

Blast!" said Taft. "This could be bad."
I never did add color to my sketch. I have been in a deadline vortex.

Christina Wald's sketch

Here is Vanessa's write-up:

Illustrator News: Marlene Steele

Marlene Steele Has an opening at Wash Park Art this evening at 5pm. She also has some classes coming up:

Oil Painting- A Fresh Start begins  June 24th 6:30PM at Clifton Cultural Art Center
Dynamic Figure Drawing begins Saturday June 27th   9:30 - 12 noon.  
Art Academy Com Ed Program.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Tammie Lyon is an award winning author and illustrator of children’s books ranging from pre-k to
early chapter readers. She came to Cincinnati as a staff illustrator for Gibson Greetings from 1988-1997. She has been freelancing ever since. Tammie has recently turned to writing her own chapter series as well as developing the art. She has created work for companies such as Disney, Scholastic, Simon and Schuster and Amazon publishing and has been fortunate enough to work on some very popular book series such as Eloise and Katie Woo.

Location: Milford, Ohio
On the Drawing Table: I bounce between several projects at a time, so there will always be a book in the sketch stage and one in the painting stage. I’m currently working on a picture book telling the story of a child’s kindergarten check up and his big fear of shots. Also, more Katie Woos and the new Katie Woo spin off series focusing on her friend Pedro. On the writing side, working on a chapter series for first, second graders I’ve developed. One written, three to go!
Coming out soon: Look for the four newest Katie Woo titles, Noisy Music, Cartwheel Katie, Super Scout and Happy Mother’s Day. Also a super cute true rescue story from the ASPCA called I am Nibbles and a two new board books, Thank God For Kittens and Thank God For Puppies

How did you get your start as a professional artist?
I always joke I have a career by pure luck! I majored in Fashion design and Illustration in
college-a far cry from Children’s books! Upon graduation from the Columbus College of Art and
Design, I saw an ad in the Columbus paper looking for artists at Gibson Greetings. I thought for
fun I would send my portfolio and see. Before I knew it I was hired, moved to Cinci and began
painting cute greeting cards every day. I was always hearing comments that my work was very
story bookish so I thought to help defer student loans I would try and freelance in the evenings
and hopefully get some book work. It became so successful that I joined with an agency, left my
job and began a freelance career.

Describe your work.
My work is pretty happy and sweet. Its a wide range of subjects, ages,etc. My style varies a bit
here and there depending on what I feel the piece needs,I love to pack my art with details and
with patterning-a throw back to the fashion education I guess!

Tell about your workspace.
This is a rare snap of a somewhat clean space. I work from a spare room in my home. My drafting table is positioned to get the most natural light possible from my windows. I also have giant overhead lights with natural daylight bulbs for all of those late nights when I’m painting and I’m trying to keep the color the same. I always have two doggies in here with me. I have piles of paintings, sketches as I work on them and my writing station is positioned by my computer.


What are your favorite materials digital and traditional?
I use both and sometimes a combination of the two. I prefer my digital work not to look too digital and still have more of a traditional feel. I use watercolors, acrylics, pastels, pencils, and digital.

What’s your typical workday/work session like?
I start my days very early, usually in my studio by 5. It's a great time to check e-mails, revisit my schedule and see exactly what needs done that day. I work a full day with minimal breaks and often times, into the evening. Deadlines are a great motivator!

What do you do to keep yourself motivated as you work?
Some days it's not a problem, If you are really excited about the piece you are working on and its going well, no problem. There are those times when you just don’t want to work, usually a Sunday and a grueling deadline looming. I try to listen to podcasts or jazz music, something to engage my mind without being to distracting. It's also important for me to create from a pretty calm demeanor. It's hard to make super cute, sweet, happy art if you are stressed!


What is your dream job?
I really think this is it! If I could combine a bit more of my other passions such as history, fashion, nutrition into my books then that would be the best. Hopefully through my writing I can do just that!

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I keep scraps of doodles all over my office but I really don't carry anything with me. I have scraps of writing ideas jotted down, scraps of paper with character studies, etc.I feel my mind is most creative in my studio and I struggle when I'm not there.

What do you listen to while you work?
It just depends. If I’m really trying to think and create from scratch such as sketching or writing, I need instrumental music. I like classical but it can be jarring sometimes so its mostly jazz. If I’m painting, it must engage a different part of my brain. I need a bit of a distraction. I’ll listen to
podcasts, old movies, etc. I’m particularly fond of Ghost stories and history.

What are you reading/listening to on Audible?
Currently reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. Its a very brutally honest and disturbing look at the slums of Mumbai.
Who are your artistic influences?
I am constantly seeing new and amazing things every day from my peers. It excites me when I
see someone tackle an idea in an entirely different way. I was madly in love with the illustrations in The Phantom Tollbooth as a child. I could remember every single subtle nuanced emotion on the characters faces and studying all of the details in the crazy made up lands. It really resonates with me how much these details support the words and help the readers imagination flourish.I hope that I have at times done the same.

 What do you do that is not art related that inspires you?
I love to travel and have been lucky enough to see a great part of the world. I also am an avid reader which I guess really shouldn't be a shock! I have a deep passion for nutrition and am hoping to combine some of what I have learned into my books in some way that can help children learn how important it is.

What was the best advice you got in your career so far?
Draw from your head and your heart. Be true to your style.When I just start sketching, my emotions come out through my characters. My quirky sense of humor and the details that make up the tapestry of my life and surroundings come out.

What is your favorite color?

How can we get best follow your art online/on social media?
I can be found on twitter, tumbler, behance, facebook and my blog.
See links below!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Books By the Banks: Deadline Looming

You have until the end of June to get you entry to Books By the Banks.

Also, this year, to sweeten the pot, Books by the Banks book festival to award $1,500 in cash prizes to authors!

CINCINNATI, OH — June 1, 2015 — Several outstanding authors will be recognized this year with one of eight new awards established by the long-running regional book festival, Books by the Banks.
The festival, presented this year by Ohio Humanities, will award authors in three categories a special Rookwood Pottery trophy designed exclusively for the event, plus a cash prize of $500 each. Categories are: Best Kids Book, Best Young Adult Book and Best Emerging New Talent.

A special Books by the Banks Lifetime Achievement Award will also be offered this year to recognize an author who has made a significant contribution to regional literature.

A committee of festival organizers and literary professionals will select the award winners. The four awards are sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation and will be announced Oct. 16.

The public will also get the chance to weigh in on their favorite writers. Four People’s Choice Book Awards will be handed out. Those categories are: Best Fiction Book, Best Nonfiction Book, Best Kids Book and Best Young Adult Book. Fans will get the chance to cast their votes online later this year. Winners will get an award and special recognition at the festival.

“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of talent at our festival the past eight years,” said Greg Edwards, Books by the Banks board president. “We’re excited to recognize the best of the best this year with these inaugural awards. It’s a great way to honor the abilities of our wonderful writers and say thanks for making our festival one of the best in the country.”

The 2015 festival will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati. Last year, the festival drew more than 125 authors and a crowd of 5,000 attendees. It’s considered one of the largest and most prestigious events of its kind in the region.

Finally, David Michael Beck is doing this year's poster! It will be amazing!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

ArtWorks Murals By Jim Effler and Many Others

Jim Effler's mural design

The canvas waiting for the mural

 Jim Effler designed and is heading up one of the mural teams in a series of ArtWorks murals being painted this summer.

See the series at the link and there was an interview this evening with Effler's team on Channel 12.

There are some really cool designs in this series in the article!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

STUDIO SPACE: Kevin Necessary

Welcome to the inaugural post of our new STUDIO SPACE feature where we will profile a different Cincinnati artist each Monday-ish.

Kevin Necessary is the editorial cartoonist for After attending the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication, he worked as a newspaper graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist from 2002 to 2009. After a several years exploring video and filmmaking, Kevin began working primarily as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist. Aside from his “day job” as an editorial cartoonist, Kevin draws storyboards for various production companies, such as Upstream Media and 7/79, and has created work for companies such as Cedar Fair Entertainment, The Cincinnati Business Courier, and Gawker Media. He lives with his wife, Julie, and his cats/officemates, Huckleberry and Grayson.

Location: East Price Hill, Cincinnati
Website:, and
On the Drawing Table: I draw between three-four editorial cartoons a week, so that’s always on the drawing board. I’m also working on a bunch of storyboards for a series of videos, but as I’m under a non-disclosure agreement, if I told you about it, I’d have to shoot you.
Coming out soon: I just finished a cover for an ebook collection of short stories by author Nicholas Thurkettle. You can keep tabs on the short stories at his blog,

How did you get your start as a professional artist?
I worked as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for newspapers for about seven years, and even had a two-year stretch where I published a weekly editorial cartoon for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California. In late 2013 I started drawing editorial cartoons again for my own enjoyment, and happened to reconnect with a former colleague who worked for She saw that editorial cartoons could be great content on their mobile and social media platforms, and the rest is history.

Describe your work.
My work is pretty darn varied. If you put the last three illustrations and my last cartoon up next to each other, you’d probably think they were created by four different artists. With an illustration, I try to capture an emotion, rather than sticking with a specific style. With my cartoons I’m aesthetically attracted to the loose, sometimes scratchy style used by editorial cartoonists in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tell about your workspace.
It’s messy. I turned the top floor of our house into my studio. It’s dominated by a large IKEA drafting table with a built-in lightbox. I’ve got a second, smaller drawing table where I do most of my messy work, such as when I use paint or ink. There’s an old futon couch that faces the window, where I’ve got a great view of downtown Cincinnati and Covington, Kentucky. On the floor you’ll usually find scraps of sketches that I’ve drawn and discarded. I’ve got a serious addiction to art books and comic books, which I keep in my studio.  There are also dozens of toys, knick knacks, pieces of artwork, and other mementos lining bookshelves. 


What are your favorite materials digital and traditional?
I primarily use my 13-inch Wacom Cintiq. It’s a time-saver, as I can make alterations immediately, which is necessary (no-pun intended) when on a nearly daily deadline. I still supplement my digital work with ink and watercolor, so many of my illustrations are mixed media. And I love sketching with a dark, soft pencil (around an 8B) on newsprint. Oh, and Post-it Notes. I love drawing on Post-it Notes.

What’s your typical workday/work session like?
I always start in the morning by reading the news and figuring out what topics are ripe for a cartoon. I’ll start writing and sketching, and I draw 3-5 loose sketches that I send to my editor. On a good day, I have those sketches in early in the morning. But there are days where, no matter how much I try, a good idea doesn’t appear until late afternoon. Once my editor chooses the sketch or topic he’d like to publish, it’s off to the races. I try to draw as fast as possible – and usually fail at that, as I’m pretty slow. But I don’t get up until the cartoon is finished and sent off to my editor.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated as you work?
I to keep myself from getting stale by drawing things that I find difficult. It challenges me, gets me focused on the work, and makes me a better artist overall.

What is your dream job?
I’d love to work in the art department of a Star Wars movie or TV show. So if anyone reading this has access to Kathy Kennedy, Rian Johnson, Gareth Edwards, or Dave Filloni …

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I always have several sketchbooks lying around. The one I use most is a Moleskine pocket sketchbook. They have a small pocket on attached to the back cover, so I’ve started it as my wallet. That way I always have a sketchbook with me. I use my larger sketchbooks primarily to work out my cartoons, though I try to remember just to sketch for fun. 

What do you listen to while you work?
I’ll listen to instrumental music, like film scores, when doing my cartoons. When I’m sketching for myself I like something upbeat, like jazz or bluegrass or swing. And when I do an illustration, I try to match the music with the mood of the work I’m doing.

What are you reading/listening to on Audible?
I’m currently reading “The Martian” by Andrew Weir.

Who are your artistic influences?
The first artist I remember being aware of was Ralph McQuarrie, the concept artist of the original Star Wars Trilogy. He was a huge influence, and his work got me thinking about doing art as a profession. And I grew up seeing editorial cartoonist’s Jim Borgman’s work every day in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Bogman wasn’t just an influence; he ended up being a champion of my work and he had hoped I’d follow in his footsteps doing editorial cartoons in Cincinnati. It took a few years, but I got there and I’m constantly humbled by his encouragement. 

 What do you do that is not art related that inspires you?
I read a lot, especially science fiction, longform journalism and history. And I love strolling around downtown. Just the texture of the urban environment ignites my imagination.

What was the best advice you got in your career so far?
Jerry Dowling once told me I shouldn’t worry about being as good as other artists. He said I’d never be as good as them – because I wasn’t them. And they wouldn’t be as good as me, because they weren’t me. Basically, I needed to be comfortable in my own artistic skin, and flourish in the way that best suited my abilities and personal tastes.

What is your favorite color?
Blue. No, red. No, blue …

How can we get best follow your art online/on social media?
I usually put most of my work up on Facebook, Twitter (@knecessary), and Instagram (kevinnecessary). I’m also have a nearly abandoned blog at, and of course, and