Interview with Jensine from Cooties and Coffee
Welcome to the first Tell About It Thursday where I feature the work of different artists. Today we get to talk with Jensine, a traditional, yet whimsical illustrator.
Please introduce yourself and your shop!
Well hello, Blogosphere! My name is Jensine Williams, and I’m from Illinois – the land of cornfields and Lincoln and stuff. I’m a professionally unconventional Illustrator and Writer (in that order) who owns a small, commission-based illustration business called Cooties and Coffee. In this little business, I get to connect with lots of cool children’s book authors, art enthusiasts, and folks with big ideas. So, what does a commission-based art business mean exactly? Well, it means I get to draw stuff. My process typically starts something like this: someone approaches me and says, “Hey. I’ve got this idea, and I need someone to draw it out for me. I like charcoal…” And Oh! How I love it!
I love doing commission work because clients almost always ask me to draw something I’ve never considered before. I get paid to learn and study new facets of art, anatomy, and a large array of subjects!
Can you describe your process for us?
So… where do I start? Initially, I try to fully understand my client’s vision – as much as you can try to understand what’s going on in someone else’s head that is! It’s important to know both your limitations as an artist – what you are and are not comfortable with – and the expectations of your client.
After I’ve touched base with them several times, I map out the artwork using soft pencil lines and rulers. Whether I’m painting with oils, watercolors, or india ink, drawing with colored pencils, or charcoal – I always start with those first two steps – it’s vital to know where the artwork is headed before you begin the “arting” part of the job. The rest is all… well, unconventional to say the least. Art has this way of just occurring.
There’s also the third, most important step of all: persevering. Every single piece of artwork hits a certain point in which “I don’t know exactly where this is going, and it looks really really bad”. That’s the moment when, as an artist, you have to stick with your intuition.
What qualities make your store unique?
I suppose there are two things that really set Cooties and Coffee apart from the rising trend in art shops. The first is that I never draw copyrighted anything. Everything is 100% original from me and my clients. Copyright infringement is both illegal and unnecessary. If you’re hoping to find “Hello Kitty”, “Dr. Who”, or “Disney”, I’m guess I’m kind of a little bit sorry to disappoint you… but not really. God created hundreds of thousands of things in this world, and I think it’s sad when we focus on such small, cliché ideas when the whole world is there to be studied!
The second is that Cooties and Coffee is almost exclusively traditional art – charcoal, graphite, chalk pastel, India ink – artwork that is tangible. It’s kind of like reading from a printed, bound, and used book instead of an e-book. Maybe, I’m just too nostalgic - or maybe there’s something to be said about artwork that can be touched. I’ll let you decide.
Anyway! Thanks for reading about my shop and my process! And thanks to Lauren from Standy Uppy Hugs for giving me this opportunity.
Keep it real, Blogosphere~
Thanks, Jensine. I love that your work allows creative thinkers (who aren't necessarily good at art) to end up holding in their hands a representation of their idea. That's powerful stuff.
Thank you for visiting, everyone, and don't forget that my fist giveaway opens tomorrow!