5 Questions for Jess Polanshek

We have with us Jess Polanshek for this installment of 5 Questions. She's an illustrator from Cambridge, Vermont, USA.

She's currently running a Kickstarter campaign for her artbook The Quilted Forest which features animals dressed in quilted patterns. Her campaign ends on 9 Oct 2014 and you can see more details at https://kck.st/1trvQT8

Her inspiration comes from nature, forests and animals. Perhaps it's not surprising when she named her own art business Polanshek on the Hills. Our interview will talk about her work and The Quilted Forest.

Qn: Tell us about how you got started in art and your training?

I've been drawing since I was old enough to grip a crayon and it all sort of grew from there. I took every course I could throughout the public school system (Vermont and Florida) and started getting really serious about art in high school. I was lucky to attended the Academy of Art University's (San Francisco) summer program when I was 16 and that was a really pivotal experience for my art. Other than that and an Associate's Degree at a community college, my training is simply spending every free minute drawing and painting. I learn best by trial-and-error.

Qn: Can you talk about your current Kickstarter campaign for The Quilted Forest? Did you prepare all those illustrations beforehand for the purpose of creating a book? Or are they commissioned pieces?

The Quilted Forest all started with one drawing (Quilted Forest: The Owl) and I liked it so much that I decided to make a series out of it.

Initially I thought it would be a series of 10 drawings, but I couldn't stop. Once I had the main creatures, I needed to add the bugs and birds and bees and flowers... it just sort of grew.

About halfway through the series I realized that I'd love to make a book out of them. I thought it'd be awesome to contain the whole Quilted Forest in one little book. When I started planning the financial aspect of it, that's when I thought of Kickstarter. I've seen several friends fund things successfully, so I thought I'd give it a go!

Qn: I noticed that many of your illustrations involve a lot of repeated patterns, such as the animals draped in quilted patterns. Why do you like such patterns?

I named this series The Quilted Forest for a quite literal reason. It was inspired by the patterns on a quilt that my grandmother made for me many years ago. It's a patchwork quilt with tons of different patterned fabrics. I loved the concept of a bunch of random designs coming together to make one cohesive object and decided to apply that to my favorite subject — the forest.

Qn: Your illustrations in The Quilted Forest are very detailed. Are there any challenges and what are they when it comes to creating them? How big are these illustrations?

The originals are pretty small — I generally work on 8.5"x11" paper. Drawing and painting are my favorite things to do, so even the challenges are fun. I'd say the most challenging thing is finding time to get everything done.

Qn: I read that you have started your own business Polanshek on the Hills. What challenges do you face running your own art business?

I started my own business in 2013 to have one unifying name for all the things I do with my art: commissions, art fairs, exhibitions, gallery consignment, online sales, etc.

The biggest challenge right now is finding a balance between growing my business, my day-job and life. Within my business the most difficult part is splitting my time between creating art and marketing it. My dream is to have my illustration business support me entirely so that I can focus much more on creating new art and have a little more breathing room.

It's never going to be an easy business but I love every aspect of it

Thanks to Jess Polanshek for this interview.

You can see more artworks from on her website and Facebook page

Also check out The Quilted Forest at https://kck.st/1trvQT8 before 9 Oct 2014.


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