Hi Emory, how are you?
Hi Filippo! I’m doing great, but I’m also quite tired. That’s probably due to a combination of allergy meds and working too much. That’s definitely not a complaint though! I love what I do so I don’t know if “too much” really exists :)
Ahah, fine. Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Emory and I’m an illustrator living in Minneapolis, MN. I love drawing letters and little monsters. I’ve recently discovered the joys of brewing your own beer!
Sounds good! I’ve read that you lived in many cities. This fact has influenced the way you draw?
Oh definitely. Both of my parents were in the navy, so I moved around a bit as a kid. No two places I’ve lived were quite the same. It’s jarring going from a cold, wintry suburb of Chicago to the tropical, humid climate of Guam. It was impressed on me at an early age that the world is big and wondrous. It made me imagine what else could be out there.
Ironically, moving every couple years didn’t allow me to make really good, long-lasting friends. I felt cut off in a way. The monsters I draw now are partially influenced by that combination of imagination and isolation I learned growing up.
When did you start drawing?
This is always a weird question for me. Every kid draws, right? I think a better question is when did I decide to not stop drawing.
I wanted to pursue art in college, but I was convinced to go into computer science. After a year and half, I made a vital discovery—I HATED computer science. It was too technical for me, completely the opposite of art. Art was about exploring emotions, the proverbial “bigger picture”. Computer science was about exploring minute details, taking the mystery out of how and why things work.
That’s when I found graphic design. It seemed like a practical application of art—a nice blend between making something functional and being able to speak in broader strokes. Increasingly, my favorite part about design was sketching and really trying to get my voice into every project. That led me to undertake more and more self-initiated projects and I haven’t looked back!
Can you tell us anything about your working method?
For a typical illustration, I always start with a pencil and paper. It’s very fluid. I can quickly jot down loose ideas, whether it’s words or thumbnails. At this point, I’m not attached to anything—I get rid of the ideas that don’t work, and refine the ones that do.
After finding what I think is the right solution, I create a refined sketch. The content and composition of my pieces don’t deviate very much from my refined sketches. Once I have a sketch I’m happy with, I scan it in and use illustrator and photoshop to add the polish!
What are you visual references?
Creating concept driven work is what really interests me. I seek out other designers/illustrators/film makes/artists that create work with interesting ideas behind them. Visuals are then born from the idea.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
Now that I’ve settled down a little bit (I’ve lived in Minneapolis for four years), I really cherish my marriage and my friendships. So my favorite place in the world is anywhere I can be with my wife and my friends.
I agree wih you. What plans do you have for the future?
Keep drawing. When I’m done with that, I’ll probably draw some more! In all seriousness, I’ve never really been one to plans things out. Ultimately I may regret it, but it seems to be working out for me so far :)
Fine, the interview is over. Is there anything else would you say to our readers?
Don’t feel guilty about taking a break. If you’re feeling a little burnt out, go ahead and relax. You’ll find that you’ll come back to your work recharged and ready to create!