We’ve just taken an excluisve interview with Jerrod Maruyama and who is an illustrator and has very intersting style. Jerod was born and raised in San Jose, California. His early years he spent under performing at school, avoiding organized sports and drawing. He started out his career as a hack – attempting to copy his older brother’s drawings of war scenes and Godzilla. So let’s read about Jerrod’s illustrations and his love and passion to drawing.
AP: Your first illustrations. What did they look like?
JM: I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember. As a kid, people constantly gave me reems of blank paper to draw on. Even then, I thought this was very excited. A blank sheet of paper meant endless possibilities. As I’ve said before, some of my earliest memories of drawing were with my older brother. He was two years older than I was and that makes a big difference when you’re young. I tried to copy his drawings. Back then it was a lot of monsters and battle scenes. I was never good at that. I eventually moved on to drawing things I was interested in like The Muppets, Star Wars characters and Garfield.
AP: Do you have any formal education in your sphere or were you self-taught?
JM: I was an art major in college. I graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Graphic Design/Illustration. While I learned a lot in school, I certainly could have learned a lot more. I always say, college age (18 – 21 or so) is the worst time to attend college. I wasn’t all that inspired and wasted a lot of time. Working professionally as an art director and a freelance illustrator has taught me so much and makes me wish I took advantage of college more than I did.
AP: What genre are your illustrations?
JM: That’s an interesting question. I am not sure what genre of illustration I would fall into. My work tends to be geared towards kids. There’s a playfulness about all of my images – usually avoid anything too dark or abstract. It’s all very cute and accessible – rounded edges and smiling faces. I think this might be a better question for people who view my work rather than me. In the end, I feel the work is sincere. I’ve tried doing other types of drawings – stuff that’s more dramatic or dark in nature. It never quite feels authentic to me. It’s just not in me. The cute, fun, happy stuff really motivates me to make images. I just kinda go with that.
AP: How would you describe your art-works?
JM: Cute! That pretty much sums it up. I like drawing cute things or taking not-so-cute things and making them cute. I like the simplicity of that goal. There’s an instant response to cute from just about anyone and everyone. I like that. That might be a sort of shallow response to my style but that’s ok. It takes all kinds of artists. How boring if we all had the same goal.
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your pictures?
JM: I usually start off with a very rough sketch done in Prisma-Color Indigo blue pencil on drawing paper. I scan that in and finish the image in Adobe Illustrator. That’s pretty much it. I’ve been working this way for years. I remember initially struggling with Illustrator when I first started using it. This was back in the early days of the software. But now, I can’t imagine using anything else.
AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in this sphere?
JM: I don’t think of myself as an expert in anything. I would I hope I constantly grow and develop as an artist over the years. I am so self-conscious of my work I don’t think I would ever get to a place where I would say “I have arrived”. I hope to be more successful at what I do. I hope to have a larger audience. I hope at some point in the future I can create an image that lasts beyond my time. I think that’s when I would consider myself an expert. But I’ll be dead by the time (and IF) that ever happens.
AP: What is the formula for success in your activity?
JM: I think the best recipe for success is to stay inspired. Continue to love what you do and then everything falls into place. I think for many artists there is a constant balancing act between doing what you love and doing what you’re paid to do. The more those two goals merge into one the more successful you are. I try to view a lot of people’s work from a lot of disciplines. I am constantly researching mid-century illustration which has been a constant stream of inspiration for me. I work with different blogs and artists as much as I can. Seeing other people’s work and success is a great motivator.
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
JM: The people in my life have been extremely supportive of what I do. Whether that’s helping me build my website or merely commenting on my images. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded with very kind people. Also, the Twitter community has been a great tool and source of support. It’s a constant open door to other artists from around the world and within the industry. I can’t overstate what a valuable tool it’s been for me.
AP: Would you like to wish something to your readers and AstrumPeople?
JM: Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate the support. Please drop by my website and say hello.
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