05/13/14 By Jessi Mitchelar
The essence of childhood is rooted in fantasy. Author Bob Berry helps children turn that fantasy into reality with his book Learn to Draw Pirates, Vikings, & Ancient Civilizations. This book contains step-by-step instructions for drawing ancient characters, civilizations, and mystical creatures. Through fun facts and illustrations, Bob opens the door to the imagination, providing the reader with a set of keys that unlock a world filled with legend and lore. This passion for drawing the fantastic can be traced back to Bob's own childhood, where he spent much of his time drawing characters from popular cartoons and comic books.
"My older brother was a comic book reader and I remember scanning those [comics] endlessly, subconsciously picking up drawing techniques. I used to ask my mother to cut out some of the coolest poses of Batman or Superman from my brother's comics. He wasn't too pleased, but I soon had a collection of some very cool poses that I played with constantly…it was the beginning of my informal art education."
Even though he began showing a keen interest in drawing at an early age, Bob's parents viewed art as a hobby. The idea of pursuing a career in art was not even considered a viable option at this point in his life. After high school, Bob took a technical commercial art course. His teacher noted his raw talent and encouraged him to go to art school.
For over 15 years, Bob has worked as an artist, illustrator, and character and graphic designer. Since opening his own graphic firm, Bob Berry Illustrations, he currently works mainly on children's publishing and textbooks. However, over the years he has done art and illustration for interactive CDs, children's games, toy packaging, and costume design for the sports entertainment industry.
Because 99% of my work is commercial illustration, my client ultimately decides what they like best. That part of my work is so subjective. I really appreciate working with clients who have a strong vision of their own and who can work with me to arrive at the best image.
For artists just starting out, Bob advises that learning to draw is key. Drawing is a wonderful foundation for visual artists, even sculptors. He recommends not becoming limited to one specific genre, but branching out in order to understand the underlying structure that is the basis of any good drawing.
Drawing is a gateway to understanding. Every piece is a learning experience and you grow as an artist in every single thing you do.
Bob believes in looking at everything, learning from everything, and taking as much as you can from these experiences, turning your art into something that is yours, not just a good copy of someone else's work.
To learn more about Bob Berry visit www.bobberryillustration.com.
Jessi Mitchelar is Production Assistant for the Custom department at Walter Foster Publishing. At the beginning of the year, Jessi and her fiancé decided to trade in the brutal Chicago winters for a sunnier life in Southern California. They packed up their two cats and two dogs and drove the 2,000 miles to Orange County. Following a beautiful wedding on Laguna Beach and a blissful honeymoon in Maui, this newlywed now spends her time watching Alabama football with her husband, working on her novel, and exploring all that California has to offer.
The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.
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