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Q&A with Jake Parker

Cartoonist and illustrator from Utah

I'm Jake Parker and from my home studio in Provo Utah I illustrate books for children, I create comics for everyone, and I also teach people how to do those things.

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

My first real job as an artist was for an animation studio in Phoenix. I was an "inbetweener" on a film called Titan A.E. I've had 3 major turning points very early on in my career that shaped how I approach everything I do.

Turning point ONE!

When I took the animation job I had to drop out of school. That's when I learned that my education wasn't confined to an institution, but was a way of operating. I've been learning how to become a better artist ever since.

Turning point TWO!

When I was laid off from that animation job two and a half years later I learned to never put all of my faith in a single company. The company will do what it has to do to survive even at the expense of it's employees. And so I realized I needed to always make sure I'm doing what I need to do to survive and the put the majority of my faith in myself and my personal projects.

Turning point THREE!

After I lost that job I thought I had no options to work as an artist. My wife told me about a museum in my town that was adding a new dinosaur wing to their building. She suggested I approach them about working as an artist for them for the summer. I was hired on the spot to help with murals, and other odd jobs. I learned that there is always work for an artist, you just have to look, and in some cases, make up your own job.

What is your ideal work environment? Do you prefer to work at your art studio all day long or mix a few activities?

I like a quiet, cozy spot to work and I like working at night. I'm really social, but I have to work alone, without distractions. When it's light out I like to go for a run or bike ride, check in with my wife and kids and see how they're doing. Then get back to work.

Where does your work inspiration come from?

I get really inspired by my friends. I try to surround myself with creative, hard working people and they're always challenging me to up my game.

As for media, I never finish reading a National Geographic magazine without having an idea for a new story or project. I love spaghetti westerns and black and white samurai films. I always get inspired to make something after watching one.

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

I'm surrounded by mountains, and one of my favorite things to do is to go climb one. I don't take a sketchbook or camera, I just like to be there. It recharges me.