We are starting the New Year off with our January feature artist, Chet Minton. Chet’s images inspired us to theme this issue “all things fantasy”. We know you will enjoy getting to know Chet as much as we have!
What made you decide to become a coloring book artist?
As an illustrator it is only natural to search out every avenue that can further promote your work and introduce it to new audiences. It was really a no-brainer considering my artistic style and chosen medium of ink. It has been one of the most rewarding decisions of my life!
How do you create your art? Do you create your drawings by computer or do you prefer old school pencil and paper?
I work primarily in traditional mediums during my illustration process. It’s not until I use color that I switch over to a digital process. For the coloring book images, I start with a variety of drawing pencils. Once I am satisfied with my composition I move onto Inks. I use to use rapidograph pens that I filled by hand. Unfortunately, I have a heavy hand and wear the nips out quickly. I have converted to throw-away technical pens that have archival inks. These technical pens have come a long way over the years.
What is your inspiration for the different types of art that you create for your coloring books?
As an artist, I am influenced by almost everything around me: nature, people, advertisements, television and movies. I cannot forget about the usefulness of the internet and its unending visual resources. When I actively seek out material, it is almost always related to Fantasy and Science Fiction. These genres are what I am most passionate about.
Do you ever color your own work? And if so, what’s your favorite medium? Do you like pencils, markers or are you dipping into random reserves around the house for anything that can apply color in an interesting fashion?
I almost always color in my own work or at least intend too! LOL! Lately I use Photoshop to color my pieces. (I use to have a negative opinion about people using the computer to color, but have come to realize that it is just another tool and takes just as many years to master.)
I am classically trained in oil paints, acrylics and other mediums….but if I had to chose one traditional medium it would definitely be water colors.
How do you define success and how do you measure it?
I have had a lot of great opportunities and achievements, but still seek the next great thing. As an artist, I am always trying to improve and learn. I see it really as a life long path.
The single thing that has told me that I am succeeding is the feed back and interaction I get from people….people actively seeking out my work for their enjoyment and their therapy. When you have dozens of people sharing their colored versions of something you created, you can’t help but smile and know you have done well.
Besides yourself, who is your favorite coloring book artist?
There are so many great artists to chose from. If I had to narrow it down, I would have to say the combined works of Michael Kulata and Charles Vess. They are giants of the fantasy illustration world, and their raw lined ink works are so moving.
What color or colors do you most love to work with?
Each piece tells its own story and begs for its own palette, but I prefer the cool colors. Blues and purples are definitely my guilty choices.
Outside of creating coloring books, do you have any other hobbies or activities that you love?
I am actively involved in Fantasy Role-playing Games. I also indulge in Fantasy Novels, TV Shows and Movies. I have an addiction to video games and must avoid them at all costs…..but don’t always succeed!
Currently, I have been working on my own young adult/coming-of-age book that I will illustrate. It focuses around a medieval animal kingdom. The style of the book is more of a written book heavily saturated with illustration and not a graphic novel.
What are your plans for the next year? Do you have any new coloring book releases planned?
I plan on working on a few books at the same time. I plan to release sections of each book as small collections of PDFs. Each PDF will have 6 Illustrations. After I have completed 24 illustrations for each subject matter, they will be released as completed books.
What are the titles of the last three books you have read or movies you’ve watched?
I have recently reread The Hobbit. I have also been reading The Red Wall Series. I have also re-watched Moana and Brave. I absolutely love animations!
If you were deserted on an island, what three things would you want to have with you?
Well beyond the necessities of food and shelter….My Sketch Books, my Pens/Pencils and of course my cats!