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Pixel Zoom in with NY Illustrator Hayley Patterson, Tales from the Goldilocks zone

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

Like most artists, art is something that has always been a part of my life. As a small child, I scribbled in coloring books and smeared finger paint with the best of them. Growing up, I compulsively doodled in the margins of my schoolwork and became known around school as the Doodle Queen. As much as I loved drawing, I wanted to explore different areas of art that I had no experience with, which lead me to take photography, computer art, and multiple ceramics classes in high school. By the time I got to college, I was convinced that whatever I ended up choosing as a major, it would have to be art related. 😍When I discovered a school that offered an animation and illustration double major- combining my two favorite forms of art, digital and analog- I never looked back!

My main ambition is to create art that is interesting, funny, and memorable. My style is graphic and colorful with occasional forays into simple black and white. I'm heavily informed by modern and vintage pop-culture and media I draw inspiration from everything, from iconic aspects of popular culture to personal experiences. My favorite quote from the animated film Ratatouille:

'Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.'

Who are my inspirations? When you are taught how to draw, paint, and generally create like the Old Masters- compositionally balanced, perfectly proportioned, and photorealistic to a fault. After years of being taught these lessons, it was in breaking them that I finally managed to develop something of my own style. When everyone in the class has been taught the same rules of art, it is difficult to break the mold and stand out. In my junior year of college, I realized that the drawings I submitted as assignments in class and the doodles I inked in my sketchbook for myself didn’t have to be two separate things. Especially once I started taking animation classes, the concept of developing a style more influenced by my own inspirations and natural ability began to take hold. Although I’ll always love and respect the legacy of those Old Masters (they are revolutionary and inspiring in their own right), I’ll take at least as much from them as from the likes of Klasky-Csupo, Keith Haring, and Gary Baseman. Roald Dahl and his books have always been a favorite of mine, especially The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Matilda, as well as his many short stories! When I got a bit older I loved reading the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stein. More recently, my love for horror fiction has evolved into a love for basically everything Stephen King has ever written, in particular his multiple short story compilations!

What is my process like? Although I usually start off an illustration with a pencil in a sketchbook, I often move to Photoshop to do the real work digitally. I use a Wacom tablet and stylus to finalize composition, add color and texture, and just generally make the illustration look as polished and professional as possible! I also have a Pinterest board of ideas and inspiration for art and design. If I’m feeling stuck, I’ll simply take a break and head to my Pinterest board for some new ideas! While I work, I like to listen to music or watch TV, depending on how much brain power I need for whatever I’m doing! I find that music especially helps to keep the creativity flowing, while TV helps me to shut off my brain and just draw however comes naturally.

My average workday? I start working at about 10AM, with coffee and breakfast on hand! I watch TV (Big Little Lies, recently) or listen to music and podcasts while I work. Since I work from home, I’ll sometimes take a break to do laundry, get coffee, or run an errand. I have a day job 5 times a week, so my off days are my illustration days as well as my do-everything-else-that-needs-to-get-done days! Usually, though, I’ll work until about dinnertime, between 5:30 and 7:30 PM. My work-time usually consists of either sketching in my sketchbook, working digitally in Photoshop, scanning in new sketches to my computer, collecting research, inspiration, and textures to utilize later on, and constantly organizing and making room for new files on my hard-drive!

The most challenging aspect of illustration for me is simply the act of putting myself out into the world as an Illustrator, and the judgement and criticism that comes with that title. There are those who will try to say an illustrator is an unemployed, starving artist who should have chosen a different career path. To those artists who are familiar with that particular criticism, and are unsure of themselves and how to move forward, I would say this: Choose what critics you listen to very carefully! While some of the voices are hateful, others are warm, compassionate, and well-meaning. Even better, some of those voices are experienced professionals who can seriously help you in the long run. In other words, ignore the mindless hate and embrace the constructive criticism!

My Dreams? Eventually, it would be amazing to be an established editorial cartoonist for publications like The New York Times or The New Yorker, etc. That being said, I also have a real love for animation and would love to incorporate that into a project somehow!

Look out for my work in the publication Meat for Tea; The Valley Review will be publishing a piece of mine called Cityman in the near future, and I am also currently working on an adult coloring book! Plus I’m the featured illustrator in the first short story collection published by Flying Ketchup Press, “TALES FROM THE GOLDILOCKS ZONE.”

Hayley Patterson received her BA in Animation and Illustration from SUNY Fredonia 2018 and worked as a staff illustrator for the university newspaper. Her work has been featured in galleries in Suffolk County and Long Island, NY as well as the MoCCA Arts Festival in New York City, hosted by the Society of Illustrators. To keep up with her, you can follow me on Instagram @hapdoods.

Flying Ketchup Press

A Kansas City Publisher for the epic acceleration of great literature. Founded in 2018 to discover and develop new voices in poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction with a special emphasis in new short stories. We are a publisher made by and for creatives in the Heartland. Our dream is to salvage lost treasure troves of written and illustrated work-- to create worlds of wonder and delight; to share stories. Maybe yours.

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