Monday, June 18, 2012

Sketchbooks and Drawing - Artist Marilyn MacGregor

As several eco-green and handmade craft trends got mentioned at Surtex, I pulled out a set of paintings I did sometime ago while I was experimenting with my acrylic colors on fine cork paper – a marvelous sustainable medium. To my surprise, the colors have been holding up pretty good over time so I think I'll try some new ones.


© 2012 Alex Colombo
I get inspired by many other types of art in addition to arts and crafts. The particular one I am about to show below is from artist Marilyn MacGregor. Her style is classic and vibrant at the same time, a very good combo!

Marilyn and I started in this licensing adventure pretty much around the same time without knowing each other at all, but eventually we ended up in the same agency, Montage Licensing. We've been having a good time playing newbies together.


Artist Marilyn MacGregor
The Moon from My Attic: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your art? My art always begins with drawing, whether it's for illustration, licensing, or works on paper that I show in galleries. I love to draw and have always kept sketchbooks. My habit of drawing is the basis not only for the way I do art but also the way I see the world – I love the connections and details that hide in plain sight. 

TMFMA: What is exciting about your creative work? My style is very loose and spontaneous – I think the most exciting thing is that it is so fresh and unforced. It took a while to develop my own trust in the process I use, and avoiding fussing over a drawing to make it 'perfect.' I value the life in my work rather than a stiffer sort of perfection.

© Marilyn MacGregor - Wild Cats Calendar Collection
TMFMA: Is there a person or thing that has influenced you in your artistic efforts? What inspires you? My hefty inventory of sketchbooks, especially from my travels, is a great source of inspiration and ideas. The sketchbooks recall to me so many interesting places and people. I've spent a lot of time in Paris so many of my drawings keep the beauty and pleasure of that favorite place fresh in my mind. I'm also a teacher and art historian so I often find ways to incorporate ideas from art history. As for people, my father was an early influence – he was the one who urged me to draw all the time. We used to go on sketching day trips together - a nice memory.


© Marilyn MacGregor - Fleur Collection
TMFMA: Tell us of your experience as an art licensing artist. I spent quite a few years as an illustrator in New York, working for various publishers and magazines. I then moved to California and started teaching, particularly studio art and art history in high schools. I'm back on the East Coast now (in Philadelphia) and am new to art licensing. The work feels very familiar to me as a long-time illustrator, but I'm learning and exploring the field. I’m grateful to have an agent, Kimberly Montgomery of Montage Licensing, with extensive experience as both an artist and agent. Her help is invaluable. I'm also very grateful to be meeting and connecting with so many other licensing artists, starting with you, Alex! I love the sense of community I'm finding among licensing designers and artists. I've been at the last two Surtex shows, first just walking, and then this year as an artist with Montage Licensing. I saw so much great work, got tons of ideas, and met so many great people!

© Marilyn MacGregor - Cupcake Collection
TMFMA: What project are you currently working on and what's exciting about it?
I'm presently working on some follow up requests from Surtex, a mix of sketchbook-like drawings and more composed designs. It's all exciting – I love it when Kimberly says, "what about this? Can you do something with this idea?" - I like the challenge of trying something new!

© Marilyn MacGregor - Baby Collection
TMFMA: What are your future aspirations and goals as an artist? I hope and intend to keep developing a strong portfolio of designs and illustrations and building a reputation and client base for my particular style. I am a believer in the on-line possibilities for artist entrepreneurs so I maintain Esty and Spoonflower shops – I can sell work directly but they also function as labs for ideas. I also intend to continue showing my work in galleries and writing about art – reviews, articles and a weekly blog about art and art history. It seems like a lot of plates spinning sometimes, but I feel that each aspect informs all the others.

© Marilyn MacGregor - Cook Collection
TMFMA: Any important tips and tricks you'd like to share about art licensing? The most important thing is to feel comfortable and confident with your own style, rather than changing to chase after a particular market. Also, don't be afraid to experiment and teach yourself – I've found Photoshop, for instance, to be an amazingly elastic resource that rewards time spent figuring our what you can do with it for your particular needs.

Find Marilyn here:

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