Let’s welcome Jennifer Stolzer, the illustrator that brought my very absolute fav children’s character, Joe the Blue Crab, to life.
This is Jennifer!
This is Joe!
Jennifer, tell us about yourself, where you’re from/grew up/live now, what you do for fun, if you work at “day job” what do you do that may impact your art. You might include your favorite pet/color/movie/book/actress/actor—you know, all that stuff that makes Jennifer interesting!
My name is Jennifer Stolzer, I’m 27 years old, I live and work in St. Louis Missouri with my friends and family. My favorite color is purple, my favorite foods are chocolate and pretzels, I am addicted to hot tea, my favorite movie is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, my favorite actor is Liam Neeson, my favorite actress is Jennifer Lawrence, my favorite bands are Ludo and Steam Powered Giraffe.
Well, you lost me on the last two—but tea! Chocolate! What’s not to like?
I love dogs, my parents have three–a pound puppy and two retired greyhounds–that I help take care of every day. I attended Webster University and graduated with an Interactive Media degree with emphasis in 2D and 3D animation. I love to draw and write and explore my hometown.
What medium(s) do you prefer?
I do 90% of my work on the computer. I have a Wacom drawing tablet that reads my pen strokes and reproduces them in drawing programs like openCanvas and Photoshop. When I’m not using the computer, I like the classic paper and pencils. It’s fun to explore new media, too. I enjoy sculpture and painting, and often sew my own dolls, knit, or do crafts in my free time.
When and why did you begin your art?
I began drawing very young, it was my favorite hobby. I would draw My Little Ponies and Transformers on the back of my father’s leftover work papers. When I got older I volunteered to draw signs and posters for class. My gym teacher even let me draw on the baseball plates! When it was time to go to college I knew I wanted to do something artistic, and I loved to tell stories, so I chose to be an animator. I had a hard time finding work on the coasts, so I went into business for myself and became an illustrator instead.
What other art/artists inspires you? Your work?
I was inspired in middle school by the Rennaisance artists like Michelangelo and Raphael, but what really helps my art grow is a love of fiction. Movies, books, and cartoons present tons of new ideas. It’s fun to let my mind wander and to draw the results. I also write my own stories with all sorts of characters. Drawing helps me develop my ideas into scenes, and the scenes then inspire more ideas and drawings.
What is your favorite work by you? And why is it your fav?
It’s hard to choose a favorite work! I’m extremely proud of everything I do, and I fall in love with everything I put my heart toward. I do my best to draw every day, it is impossible to pick a favorite when there’s always something new to love.
Where does your character inspiration come from?
Often the character design comes from my clients’ ideas. As an illustrator, it’s my job to bring the author’s vision to life, and many times authors have another book or style of art in mind when they come to me. If they don’t, I try to keep my characters friendly with big eyes and sweet smiles.
What’s your favorite/least favorite thing to draw?
I really love life drawing, especially with human models. Drawing people is my favorite thing to do. My least favorite thing to draw is a straight line!
What do you want your young fans to know about you and your work?
I would like young fans to know that art is about love. When you love what you create, others can feel that love alive in your work. This applies to more than drawing or painting, anything you set your heart to, whether it’s writing a poem or shooting a basketball, can communicate love to all who witness it.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
Where can we purchase your work or see more of it?
Email me on my website or contact me on Facebook with any questions concerning print sales or commissions. I offer many services from individual commissioned illustrations to children’s books and cover design, and I’m ready to answer any questions you may have.
(Examples are from the Joe the Blue Crab series by Tim Hill.)
When I sit down to start a piece, I always begin with a sketch. With Joe the Crab, Tim Hill and I sat down together to hammer out the rough framing and mood of every page so I’d know what he wanted when I went back later to draw the final.
Afterward I go in with lines and flat colors. I work completely within Photoshop, so the lines and colors are drawn on separate layers from the background.
When the flat colors are done I go back in with shadows and highlights, applying layers of detail and texture until it matches my design sheet. Then it’s a matter of resizing and pasting onto the final page!
Jennifer, we’ve really enjoyed talking to you about your little friends. I can’t wait to see what Joe wears for Easter, he was so darned cute in his little Christmas outfit! Thank you for taking time to interview with us and sharing your talent.