Friday, January 6, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Interview with Claudia McKinney

Start of Winter
1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself: What got you interested in art?  Have you taken any art classes?
I have always been interested in art - but didn't really start doing this until after the birth of my fourth child at around 38.
Hi all! The lovely author, Kay Bratt, referred me to the thread.  I hope you don't mind me taking part. :)
Never took an art class at all...
I think it runs in the family.  My dad’s a well known singer/entertainer in Latin America (Mexico his home) is very good at sculpting, painting, etc... so I believe i get it from him.
2.  What is your preferred medium and why?
Digital and Mixed Media because both allow me a different form of expression.  The digital photo manipulation/painting is more tight - cleaner lines - but when I do the mixed - I can go a little crazy and do more impressionism which I also love.  Unfortunately, the impressionistic styles are not the more popular ones for covers.
3.  Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?
Yes - my personal site or my fan page
4.  Do you have a favorite artist?  If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?
I love the classics like Bougeureau, Waterhouse, etc... I love the lighting - the colors -- the emotion.  Too much of today's work (my opinion only and you know what they say about those) are becoming the same ol. Dark, gothic, etc.. and believe me - I do my share - even today - did two more in this style -- but it seems what people want.  So I have work I do for the people that request - and then my own personal favorites that keep my muses going so I can keep working on some of the stuff I don't like so much.
5.  Can you remember one of the first things you drew/sculpted/painted/photographed etc.?  What makes it memorable?
It was memorable in that when I finished I could tell I had made a big stride -- and it felt "right".... it ended up that was my first cover for Anne Spollen's "Light Beneath Ferns" three years ago.
6.  This being primarily an author’s blog, I would like to ask if you’ve ever designed any artwork for an author (cover image, maps, interior art - including font styles - etc.)?  Do you have a favorite genre (fantasy/sci-fi, thriller, romance etc.) you like to design for?  If not, would you be interested in designing a book cover?
Yes - I've designed over 120 covers to date - and I like all genres really - but especially the emotionally charged pieces...
I'm not so much your alien/sci-fi artist.....  lol
7.  Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
Truly - everything around me -- could be a girl's face at the checkout stand at the grocery store!  Seriously - one of my recent covers - the girl had such a beautiful face - I knew instantly I could do something cool with her face.  Now she's on Maria Hooley's book "Sojourner".
8.  Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art?  How did it turn out?
Yes -- with my mixed media - a lot of wild brush strokes, etc... I think these are some of my better works - but maybe others won't think so. lol  At least I hope people like them... they are a great form of expression for me.
9.  Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
I Wander
Hmmm... hobbies... I geocache with my kids a lot . . . (   experiences with my art?  I did have someone recognize me from my "Phatpuppyart" decal on the back of my car.  They started honking at me on the freeway saying they loved my work.  lol  That was wayyyy cool. 
10.  Where can we reach you if we are interested in commissioning you for our own projects?
11.  What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece?
No hard step really -- just getting into the right "zone" with each piece.  I do that by putting on some good music = usually Danny Elfman - and just letting it all fly.  I love to work with the authors -- we have a lot of fun!
12.  Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Just a big thank you for letting me share with you. :)
A Place to Myself
* * *
Thank you Claudia for taking part in my Artist Spotlight interview!  I hope your artwork continues to flourish and we hope to see more of you in the future!
If you or an author/illustrator you know is interested in being interviewed, feel free to send me an email at