In the spirit of giving back, and our desire to support local businesses and artists, we are doing an artist spotlight series. We will be showcasing a new artist each day for the next 31 days. Today’s artist is PJ McQuade, an illustrator from NY.
PJ McQuade lives in Brooklyn, New York with his lovely wife Daria and their dog Football. He enjoys sleep masks, Steely Dan, Middle-earth and magic beans.
He’s a member of Illo Confidential, an exclusive art collective of top notch illustrators. His work has been featured online on such popular websites as BuzzFeed, i09, Laughing Squid, Backstory, Geek Tyrant, Illustration Age, Live For Films, Super Punch, Slash Films, Reality Rampaged, Comics Alliance & many more. Select Client List: Adams Media, LA Weekly, Toronto Life, Revolver, Penthouse, Oxford University Press, McSweeney’s Grantland, Orange Coast Magazine, MTV Press, How Magazine, Beefeater Gin, The SyFy Channel, Rykodisc Records & many more. His work has been honored by Creative Review, Creative Quarterly & American Illustration.
Question: How did you get into design?
PJ’s Answer: A couple years ago, my wife and I self published a book called Magical Tales of Enchanted Mysteriousness, Vol. 1 & 2. We wrote 26 short stories, a mishmash of humor, horror, fantasy and the absurd. It’s nuts. I create about 80 illustrations for it, then took on the challenge of designing each page and overall look of the book. I really had no idea what I was doing, made a huge amount of mistakes. But I caught the design bug BIG time and learned a ton. Been slowly building up that side of my porftolio ever since, finally doing halfway decent stuff. Note: MToEM V. 1 & 2 is in hibernation, I’m currently working on a redux version. Will re release it next year, hopefully.
Question: Where are you from, where did you go to school?
PJ’s Answer: A sleepy suburban town called Northport, located on the north shore of Long Island, NY. Ever hear of the “Say you love Satan” murder case? That’s the place!
I went to school at Syracuse University, got a BFA in illustration. I was kinda unfocused then, but I like to say I’ve been attending my own personal graduate school ever since. I should be getting my MFA in a couple years I hope. I’m a tough grader, but tuition is low.
Question: What are your tools of the trade?
PJ’s Answer: I have a drawing table to sketch out ideas. Then I use my Cintiq and Manga Studio for more polished line work, then Photoshop to color, add effects and design.
Question: What websites do you go to for design inspiration?
PJ’s Answer: Through various social media outlets, I follow a bunch of people whose work I admire so anytime I log on, I’m checking out what everyone is up to. There’s always something that blows me away.
Question: What is your favorite movie, band, and artist?
PJ’s Answer: LoTR, Star Wars, Ray Harryhausen, Rankin/Bass, Hanna-Barbera, Hayao Miyazaki… Things I’ve been listening to lately – The Silmillarion podcast with Professor Tolkien, WFAN, the Oblivion soundtrack, David Lynch’s new album.
Question: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in design?
PJ’s Answer: Just start making something, Bite off more than you can chew. Be fearless!
View more of PJ’s designs and amazing artwork at his website.