This is the second of a three-part interview with Ken Meyer Jr. The interview in its entirety can found throughout the month of June in the Featured Artist link to the right.
Please tell us a bit about your general work process.
I am constantly looking for and doing work…sometimes the former seems to take longer than it should! As for a day to day schedule, I usually get up around 6:30, get my daughter to school, come back, then work out/run/shower, check email and other time wasters, and finally get my butt down to work! Depending on the job, it could entail any number of procedures. If I am doing a portrait of a celebrity, photo searches would be part of the process. Sketches usually are part of the process, sometimes they need to be approved before moving on, sometimes not. I usually do a pencil drawing first on whatever surface I am working on.
There have been a few times when it was advantageous to print out a reference, rub the back with pencil (making a home made carbon paper) and then draw through the copy with a pen, later fine tuning the drawing before going on to painting or inking. Depending on the media, I might then lay down light washes first (in the case of something changeable, like watercolor), or I might lay down anchoring darks first (if it was a media such as ink or acrylic). Sometimes I work somewhat sloppily, laying down big washes of color…other times I work more carefully, attending to small details right away. It really depends on the particulars of any given piece.
Raven © Ken Meyer Jr
What about your work do you enjoy most? Dislike most?
As for media, I like mostly water media, and I go back and forth from watercolor to ink to acrylic, sometimes combining them. I think, like many artists, the part of the painting I like the most is towards the end, when I am adding little details and tightening things up. I do like working on organic forms the most. I am not great with architecture or, for example, hard science fiction subjects. Probably just lazy.
Spacegirl © Ken Meyer Jr
What advice would you give to other artists or budding artists?
I had a great instructor when I was working on my MFA, he was an incredible artist, really well rounded and incredibly disciplined. He said he had just done a ton more bad drawings then we had…after we got a lot of those bad drawings out of our system, we would start to reach our potential as well. I would agree with that…nothing can be substituted for time, practice, learning, and effort. I keep telling people…it’s not magic, it’s not something you are born with. It is a craft you learn. Sure, some people rise above the rest of us, but to reach a workable level of excellence, it just takes time and practice. Draw from life, look at lots of books, watch artists draw or paint at conventions, ask questions!
Shhh! © Ken Meyer Jr
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?
That illustration, as a career, would pretty much dry up (compared to when I started wanting to be an illustrator back in the early 80s), and that you need to really diversify and learn as many types of art and ways to produce it as you can.
Kilroy & Familiar © Ken Meyer Jr
Ken Meyer Jr’s work can be found at: