Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Author/Artist Series: Donna Ingemanson

I first had the pleasure of meeting Donna Ingemanson about 15 (yikes!) years ago when I was the art director at Galison for a number of years. I immediately fell in love with her bright, fun, whimsical illustrations. I have worked with Donna on many projects over the years, and her terrific style has never ceased to delight me. In the old days before things were sent digitally, I always felt like I was receiving a special package when her artwork arrived. I asked Donna about her experiences as a seasoned illustrator, and here is what she has to say:

1. How did you get your first illustration published?
It's difficult to even remember when I first got one of my illustrations published. My career has been probably the usual progression of having small pieces in magazines and newspapers and it eventually progressed to larger and more complex projects.

2. What was your next big break?
During the period when I was getting started in illustration I landed a large illustration campaign for AT & T. From what I was told Maira Kalman was one of the possible candidates but they chose me-a virtual unknown. That was a 'biggy' for me. Every one of my assignments has been treated like a big break. Sometimes the smallest assignment will go out into the world and capture the attention of an art buyer or designer which will in evolve into a large significant project.

3. What is your educational background?
I have an Associate's Degree from Franconia College, a Bachelor's from The Evergreen State College and I attended the Lilla Rogers Finishing School for Illustrators. This was really a pivotal time for me in focussing on an illustration career. Before that time I was an art director and designer and worked on large corporate events. That experience helped to develop business skills and allowed me to envision projects from a designer's point-of-view.

4. Where do you get your inspiration?
Whatever my 'passion du jour' is becomes the subject of my artwork. Whether its gardening, traveling, dog shows, the Chinese zodiac or shoes. Right now I'm organizing a farmers' market so I've been working on a series for that. Recently I received notice that these pieces have been recognized by American Illustration 28. If you're passionate about your subject it shows in your work. Learn how to fall in love with your assignments.

5. What were some of your first rejections, and what made you keep going?
Whenever I am passed over for a competition it's disappointing. It's always nice to be accepted by my peers. Even if I get a rejection and I know if in my heart the work has merit that's enough to keep me going.

6. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Believe in Yourself. Keep exploring and evolving to reveal your own personal vision and style. Learn as much as you can about all aspects of the business of art. Always put out your best effort no matter what the assignment. Never give up-if you're a true artist you never will.

I'm sure if you look around, you'll start to see Donna's unique style on many products...she's very prolific, and her artwork really stands out!
Thanks to Donna for sharing her journey with us!


Rachel Follett said...

Great interview! Her illustrations are just too cute!

Jacqueline said...

This is so cool! It's awesome and inspiring at the same time to get to know new artist! Thank you for sharing. Have a lovely merry happy day!