posted: April 13, 2007
This is in response to Sterling Hundley's post a few days ago on the Illustration Academy. I had this at my old blog, but I thought the Drawger crowd might appreciate it more than my former audience.(My mother)
Chris Payne is one of my favorite illustrators. I attended a couple of weeks at the Illustration Academy in KC a few years ago, and I had the privilege of sitting across from Chris for a week. He did a few demos, and told a lot of great stories about his life as an illustrator. Come to think of it, he told great stories about EVERYTHING. I enjoyed the fact that he seasoned his amiable mid western accent with perfectly placed obscenities. Although I didn't really get to know him, I thoroughly enjoyed the CF Payne Experience. I still drop some of his quotes just to make my wife roll her eyes.
The first thing Chris did when he entered the studio was to pull out this big 10 pound blob of color and plop it on the desk. It's his palette, and I think it has paint on it from every job he's ever done.
The coolest thing was getting to watch while he worked on an actual job. It was a Mad magazine cover.(At the time, I thought that if I could do a cover for Mad I could pack it in and call it a life. It was a goal I'd dream of, but I didn't think it would ever happen. Within 2 months I had done my first Mad cover).
The thing I remember most was how hard he worked. I heard some really smart college kid say "He's not showing us his real secrets during the demos". I said to this kid, "You know how when we go to lunch, Chris keeps working? And when we take our afternoon break Chris keeps working? And when we go to dinner Chris keeps working? And when we're done at 9pm and go out for a beer Chris keeps working? And when we go back to the studio at 9 am and Chris is there working? THAT'S the secret step he does't show you during the demo"!