“Hello, I’m Gemma. I am a cartoonist, writer, illustrator and all-round small person.”
BS: What do you do for a living, and how did you get there?
GC: I am an Illustrator / cartoonist / writer.
I realized at a young age that I wanted to be a cartoonist – or a writer or an illustrator. I loved books and I enjoyed reading my dad’s Far Side anthology and anthologies of the work of the British cartoonist Carl Giles. I just loved the combination of text and image – my two favorite things – with humour. When other kids did class presentations about soccer players and pop stars, I did mine on Carl Giles – he was my rock star. I was constantly reading, writing and drawing. I’d make books out of old notepads I found at home and comics using the photocopier at school (I was very lucky that my school allowed me to use their facilities to make my comics, which I sold for 20p, with a penny sweet sellotaped to the front). I went to college to study illustration – I wasn’t very confident in my work by that time and I was unsure whether I could make it as a cartoonist, but I managed to get a few jobs after graduating and the work that I posted online was popular, so I kept working hard and finally went full-time as a freelance illustrator/cartoonist in 2009.
BS: Do you have a work ritual?
GC: No. I wish I did and I have tried to create one in the past, but I’m just too disorganized. I suppose the closest thing I have is the necessity of a cup of coffee before I can start working.
BS: It seems that people love your work, So much, that they nab it and use it without attribution. Some crooks even sell it! Do you think people have different expectations of digital art?
GC: Yes – I think that a lot of people genuinely don’t realize that art on the internet isn’t just free to take and use. I have no problem with people or companies sharing my work, as long as they’re not removing my signature, posting without credit or – and I can’t believe some “professional” companies have actually done this – removing my signature and posting their own logos over it. I’ve seen countless cases of fashion and retail labels taking my work and putting it on their products, which is obviously very illegal. I can understand when it’s an individual person who doesn’t completely understand copyright law (it can be complicated) but you’d think that corporations would have a better handle on it. Of course, many of them know exactly what they are doing – they just count on not being caught.
BS: How can people build their creative muscle?
GC: It’s the same as every activity, really. Do it every day. I draw every day in my sketchbook, whether I’m working, or on vacation.
BS:What surprises you?
GC: I’m always surprised when a client commissions me for a job. There are so many talented artists out there, so it’s very flattering to be chosen.
Check out Gemma’s website.
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