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Q&A with Andrew Kolb

Illustrator out of Ontario, Canada

My name is Andrew Kolb and I'm an illustrator out of Ontario, Canada. I suppose the quickest way to describe what I do is to say I'm an illustrator and teacher!

How did you get started in illustration? What is a turning point in your professional career?

I suppose I've been drawing since I can remember but in terms of professional work, that came a few years after starting design school. I studied graphic design and was always putting my illustration into the work. This continued on as I was interning and employed as a full-fledged designer; in most jobs I was always the designer who could illustrate. Eventually my freelance work built up to the point that I could turn away design work, focus on illustration, and grow as an image-maker. After a few years of employment as a designer and freelancing as an illustrator, I left the full time gig to focus on illustration. Oh also I started teaching part time as well.

As far as turning points go, there were a few. I did a bit of fan art for the first season of The Walking Dead that got traction online and that lead to a few solid gigs. One of those gigs was an invite to a group show (33.3) where each artist interprets a classic record album. My take on Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys also got me more work AND the project helped me discover my love for gallery work.

What is your ideal work environment? 

My ideal work environment is quiet. I mean there's like a podcast or record running in the background but I prefer solitude with minimal distractions. I find I work the best when I have nothing else planned so I usually pick a day when I need to run errands and then that's ALL I do that day. I approach emails in a similar fashion and maybe that means I'm just a terrible multi-tasker.

Where does your work inspiration come from?

I totally believe in inspiration but only as a byproduct of hard work. Whenever I start a project I just research as much as I can. It may not always end up being relevant to the finished image but I find the more I know about something the better I can communicate its concepts with visuals.

Where are your favorite art places in your city or outside?

My hometown is a pretty chill place so there's not a lot of art bustle. Or maybe that means I'm not doing a very good job of finding it. With that said, there's a lot of history in my area so I tend to gravitate towards antique shops and flea markets. It may not be contemporary inspiration but I find it interesting nonetheless.

Who are the illustrators / designers you admire most?

Just looking at who I follow on Twitter will give you an idea of who I admire most.