Tag Archives: Illustration


How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Amy VoloshinAmy Voloshin 

Art center presents “How Not to be a Starving Artist”

a panel discussion featuring Kathy Davis, Amy Voloshin, Sarah Van Aken, and Lisa and Rob Papp

1:00 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Horsham Township Library

HORSHAM, Pa. — She may be a successful artist now, having built a multi-million- dollar business around her expressive watercolor painting and inspirational messages. But like many who dream of a creatively fulfilling career, Kathy Davis was once deterred by the myth of the “starving artist.”

“The whole starving artist thing is something we’ve all heard. It kind of puts the fear in people,” says Davis, CEO and chief visionary officer of Kathy Davis Studios, one of the top social expression and lifestyle brands in the country.

The former art teacher wants to help dispel that fear in others considering or struggling with a career in the arts. On Oct. 29, she’ll be part of the panel discussion “How Not to be a Starving Artist,” held at the Horsham Township Library.

The special event, sponsored by the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts, which Davis founded in 2015, will explore the pros and cons of starting your own business versus freelancing or working in-house, as well as offer insights and suggestions for licensing your work and building a brand.

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Kathy DavisKathy Davis

Davis has invited a diverse gathering of colleagues to join her: fine artist and illustrator Robert Papp; Amy Voloshin, founder and creative director of textile design studio Printfresh; Sarah Van Aken, president of Kathy Davis Studios and founder of fashion brand SA VA; and author and illustrator Lisa Papp.

“We’ve covered a wide variety of industries and combined different perspectives so that anybody could get something out of this, whether they want to be a musician, a writer, a photographer…

“There are so many new fields in the arts, with technology-based companies and social media and computerized design in addition to some of the more traditional mediums. People should really explore and expose themselves to as wide a variety as possible out there before they try to zero in and make a decision.”

Davis herself was 35 before she even considered striking out on her own as an artist. Although she always loved art, she lacked the confidence to pursue it and spent her early adult years teaching sixth grade and then high school art in her native Horsham after she received her master’s degree in art education.

“It was a common conception at the time that being an artist was not a safe career,” she says.

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Sarah Van AkenSarah Van Aken

Following a divorce, Davis began designing the greeting cards that would launch her career as an artist from a drawing table in the corner of her bedroom, while her children napped. Those cards, with their expressive florals, whimsical designs and heartfelt messaging, have since touched millions.

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Lisa PappLisa Papp

But the path to success didn’t come easily — and hasn’t for most on the panel. Quakertown’s Lisa Papp, whose illustrated children’s books include “One for All: A Pennsylvania Number Book (America by the Numbers)” and, most recently, “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog,” says no matter her level of achievement, her artistic life remains fueled by faith.

“Faith that the next job will come, that I’ll feel creative when I have to create the next sketch. Faith that I’ll find some part of me to share with the world. Faith that this little job will lead to a big job,” she says. “An artist’s life is a circle of faith, trust, action. You can makea very nice living from art if you are dedicated and professional.”

Even in moments of failure, there are lessons to be learned. Van Aken, a Reading native and Philadelphia resident, became one of the city’s hottest young entrepreneurs when she launched her made-in- Philadelphia fashion brand SA VA in 2009. Its clothing was all produced with varying levels of sustainability, whether it was organic, locally made, fair trade or recycled. Then, in 2013, after becoming a celebrated model for contemporary sustainable enterprise, she shuttered her business amid struggles to raise capital for its wholesale division and unpalatable investor demands.

Today, she considers her uncommonly transparent exit among her greatest accomplishments. “It could have been a disastrous — financially, professionally, personally — situation but each step of the way, I honored the people and process and the ending was even better than the beginning,” she says. “When I started my fashion business, I wanted to be great. I used to identify my greatness by achieving the ultimate in success — positive reviews in the best fashion magazines, a high valuation for my business… As I grew with my business, I saw that greatness is reached by always acting with integrity. Failure helps you find your greatness.”

Such insights are what Davis hopes aspiring artists especially will find valuable at this month’s event.

“You have to believe in yourself and your talent. But you also have to be flexible and adapt to what the market needs,” she says. “I was a starving artist until I found the right way to go about it.”

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Robert PappRobert Papp

Scatter Joy Center for the Arts presents “How Not to be a Starving Artist

FEATURING: Kathy Davis of Kathy Davis Studios; Sarah Van Aken of Kathy Davis Studios and SA VA fashions; Amy Voloshin of Printfresh; author and illustrator Lisa Papp; and fine artist and illustrator Robert Papp

WHEN:   Saturday, October 29, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Horsham Township Library, 435 Babylon Road, Horsham, Pa. 19044

ADMISSION: $25; high school and college students, $10 (proceeds will go to donate art supplies to children in need)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 215-672- 3140; www.scatterjoyarts.org

Thank you to Naila Francis for the content of this post.

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Phillustration 7

Phillustration 7, The Philadelphia Sketch Club, Tom LeonardPhillustration 7The Philadelphia Sketch Club, Tom Leonard, Sea Mammal Alphabet Book Cover, acrylic on illustration board

Phillustration 7, Illustration Exhibition at The Philadelphia Sketch Club

Phillustration 7 is an exhilarating exhibition dedicated to illustration in the historic art studio at The Philadelphia Sketch Club. The room is filled with information packed works, pulsing with memes, telling tales and making artistic insinuations to stir the imagination. The top prize went to Tom Leonard for Sea Mammal Alphabet Book, it’s cool to see a Philadelphia artist and educator win since the show has entries juried in from around the country. The panel he created is exquisite in it’s magical realism and information design.

“In the past seven years Tom Leonard has focused his work on children’s books usually with a view toward nature. His recent work combines a folk-art sophistication with a scientifically realistic interpretation. He has illustrated five books for Hyperion and Golden.

Tom Leonard now lives in Philadelphia and teaches illustration at the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia. He regularly goes to schools to discuss his work. His work has appeared in the Graphis Annual and several times in the Society of Illustrators.” – University of the Arts in Philadelphia

Illustrators are interesting people because they communicate visually using the languages of color, character and composition. Making metaphors and messaging with mark making, they possess a skill that is so rarified and refined their influence is felt throughout contemporary culture. For a unique opportunity to experience an exhibition of fine art illustration and an historic Pennsylvania landmark, go see Phillustration 7.

Phillustration 7, Philadelphia Sketch ClubPiya Wannachaiwong, Ymgarl Genestealer, digital and pencil, Phillustration 7, The Philadelphia Sketch Club

In researching this post I visited the websites of the artists, each one is as exciting and entertaining as any magazine. The breadth of media employed to achieve an artwork that stands on it’s own and promotes an idea, product or position is truly astonishing. The Philadelphia Sketch Club has a long history of presenting fine art exhibitions, providing illustration it’s own venue to share the art and adventure of creating effective commercial art is important.

Piya Wannachaiwong (that’s P-ya Wanna-chai-wong) was born in Yonkers, New York. He misspent his childhood drawing dinosaurs on paper, kitchen tables, windows, school books and living room walls. He earned his B A in Studio Arts from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA in 2001. Looking for a more thorough art education, he suddenly found himself at the Admissions office of the Academy of Art University in the City by the Bay (San Francisco). Three years later, someone gave him a piece of paper with the letters MFA 2005 on it, tossed him out the door and told him to be useful and get a job.” – Piya Wannachaiwong

Phillustration 7, Zachary Manbeck, Philadelphia Sketch ClubPhillustration 7, Zachary Manbeck, Something Wicked, digital, The Philadelphia Sketch Club

“I am currently studying Illustration at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts and will be receiving my BFA in Illustration in 2018.  I enjoy creating art that tells a story while being both playful and imaginative. Often in my images I ask myself “What is the narrative within the narrative?”, opening the door for multiple colliding stories packed into one fun image.  It is this thought process that keeps my illustrations unique and amusing, allowing their viewers to jump in and get lost in my imagery.” – Zachary Manbeck

Phillustration 7, Jacqueline Hines, The Philadelphia Sketch Club

Phillustration 7, Jacqueline Hines, Ichabod the Autumn Spirit, graphite and Photoshop CS6, The Philadelphia Sketch Club

“Earning their nickname due to their physique, choice of clothing, and a life goal to achieve green skin, Jacqueline a.k.a The Gothic Stringbean is a highly caffeinated, award-winning illustrator currently working on their BFA in Illustration at Moore College of Art and Design. Upon graduation, they plan to travel, listen to some good tunes and be content with a simple life of making good art.

Outside of illustration, some may notice them silently stalking around Philadelphia, PA in colorful polyester and yellow aviators. Otherwise, they like to drink tea, listen to their ever-growing record collection and learn about the wonderful world of the spooky paranormal.” – Jacqueline Hines

Phillustration 7, Pat Achilles, The Philadelphia Sketch ClubPhillustration 7, Pat Achilles, Ghost Tour from ‘Let’s Visit New Hope’, acrylic paint on illustration board, The Philadelphia Sketch Club

Pat Achilles captures that magic moment you always experience when you visit New Hope, the arts community along the Delaware River north of Philly. The atmospheric limited palette and shifty shapes immediately draws the viewer into a story, a ghost story. Sparking the imagination and telling tales is the goal of illustrators, to take us on a trip through a different realm.

Pat Achilles is an award-winning illustrator with over 20 years of experience in corporate, advertising, book and editorial illustration. Her styles range from highly realistic to humorous cartoons to children’s literature. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, where she was taught by the delightful Beth and Joe Krush and Bob Byrd. Pat is a co-founder of the Bucks County Illustrators Society and gives presentations on ‘What Authors Should Know about Book Illustration,’ geared especially for children’s book writers, and ‘Marketing for Illustrators.’ She is an adjunct professor in the illustration department at Moore.” – Pat Achilles

Phillustration 7, The Philadelphia Sketch ClubThis kid, Phillustration 7 through November 27th, 2015, The Philadelphia Sketch Club

Robert Bohne told me a story about when he was a kid an uncle took him to the Sketch Club and he knew right away he would be a member one day. Now Bob monitors a popular costumed life model workshop on Thursday afternoons, guiding and advising some of Philly’s finest artists that come to the club to draw and paint. I was drawing at Bob’s workshop last week and the energy and excellence of the artwork around me pushed me to really see what I was looking at and make marks that mean something. The Philadelphia Sketch Club’s President Rich Harrington chaired the exhibit and achieved a level of excellence that, for me, is transformative in it’s exploration of fine illustration.

The Philadelphia Sketch Club Gallery hours: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, 235 South Camac Street, Philadelphia PA, 19107

Phillustration 7 through November 27th, 2015.

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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