“I’m not homeless yet.”
It’s‚ a fairly low-key way to express the kind of professional success illustrator Grant Gould is experiencing.
Recently hired by Lucasfilm Ltd., Gould is part of a team that’s‚ working on The Clone Wars online web comics. Released in tandem with the television show, the comics will supplement the plots and characters found in the weekly episodes.
Star Wars fans are no stranger to Gould’s work. His art can be found all over the official site as well as illustrations and “How to Draw” tutorials, as well as on the Topps Revenge of the Sith Artist Sketch card series.
Gould thanks fellow artist >Tom Hodges, who is also working on the online Clone Wars comic, for his start in professional illustration in 2004. Hodges, who was working on an online strip for Hyperspace, a section of StarWars.com, told Gould about the opportunity to draw for the Topps series. As a fan of the Star Wars saga, Gould jumped at the chance to work on such a well known story.
“I enjoy drawing characters that people are familiar with, but giving them my own spin,” he said in a recent interview with Blast.
With his first professional illustrating job under his belt, Gould continued to work on other projects such as trading card sets for many popular comics and television series along with personal commissions.
“So I knew I had to make a decision — start cutting back on the illustration jobs, or quit my day job and try my hand at fulltime freelance illustration,” Gould said. “I guess I figured I’m still young enough where if I completely screw up, no harm, no foul — at least I can say I tried it out.”
“I took my chances and quit my day job, and dove headfirst into the scary world of fulltime freelance.”
Scary for many reasons,‚ not the smallest of which was the fact that Gould had little formal training and education in illustration.
“In college (Brown College in Minnesota) I had a few classes on ‘life drawing’ and such, but I would say for the most part I’m self-taught … Illustration is like any skill in that the more you do it, the more you learn and the better you get.”
Gould has had many informal‚ chances to learn, as well. “In high school, I was the guy who would draw silly cartoons and doodle Ninja Turtles in my notebooks.”
Gould was a graphic designer for about seven years and drawing in his free time before turning his attentions to illustrating full time. “I think anatomy books and tutorial books helped a lot, too, in my younger years,” he said.
Finally, Gould recognizing that the skill of observation as helped his artwork a lot. “Watching how people move, studying body shapes and faces (both in real life and in cartoons and movies), and really noticing how things fit together — I think all of it contributes to how I draw.”
And how he draws has gotten him where he is today.
“Now that I’m working on the Clone Wars online comic, it feels like I’ve graduated and am getting to play with the big boys,” Gould said.‚ He’s currently also working on a comic of his own. “I wrote and drew my own creator-owned graphic novel, and it’s coming out this November.” Wolves of Odin, as the name implies, focuses on Norse mythology with a bit of the supernatural thrown in.
“It’s genuinely exciting to wake up and work on something that you love…I think Young Grant would be very happy to see where I’m at today in my career.”
After all, he’s still not homeless.