Lindgren & Smith

Interview with Talent Gayle Kabaker

Ever since Gayle can remember she loved to draw and always wanted to be a fashion illustrator. Graduating from the Academy of Art in San Francisco helped make her dream a reality. As time rolled on, Gayle's talents and skills grew and evolved. While still true to her love of illustrating, Gayle has added graphic design, web design, animation and film making to her tool belt. Being this versatile has allowed Gayle the freedom to collaborate on a variety of projects with a great group of people. She's happiest when she's working with the perfect team and is able to have an impact in the world
around her.

Take a peek into Gayle's studio and read on to learn more about Gayle and what makes her tick.

Gayle Kabaker's studio

Gayle, let’s begin with the really important stuff. How do you start your day? A jolt of coffee? A soothing cup of tea? Or a mad dash to that can of soda?
Alarm goes off 6:30 and I hit the ground running. I feed my dog and then take him for a jog. Even in sub zero weather we are out jogging. To get my day going I usually make a smoothie and green tea followed by a latte around 11 or 12.

Speaking of starting your day, describe what your typical day looks like?
I start out checking e-mail and social media - and the New York Times online - my way of seeing what’s happening in the world. I balance my day with illustration, design jobs and teaching online (I teach fashion drawings at the Academy of Art University.)  I work in a yoga class on average 3-4 times a week. I have an office in town for high speed Internet, as we are STILL only able to get satellite Internet at home. It drives us crazy - but I do like going into town, as we live on 40 acres out in the boonies. It’s paradise May - Nov. The winter gets too long.

Can you describe for our readers where you get your creative inspiration?
Other artist’s work, old vintage posters and magazines - fashion magazines. I love W - love looking at gorgeous photography, fabric patterns, looking at beautiful patterns on anything.

I really love the animation project you worked on for Exotic Yoga Retreats. Can you give us a little insight into how you approached that project and what methods you used to achieve the final result?
Animation is my new love. I think I have a bit of a different style than what I’ve seen out there, so I'm excited about this new media. I love writing the story - doing the storyboards, and then the art and handing it over to an animator who makes it all come alive. Exotic Yoga Retreats was a labor of love done for a friend who owns this company. It was as much for me as it was for her; only she got the final say on some things. I wanted to create a lush painterly animation. I am pretty happy with the end result. The problem with animation is you always want to do more...and it’s expensive. 

Below are several images from Gayle's animation project. 
View the full animation here.
Illustration of wild animals in habitat
Woman sunbathing at spa

What’s your preference? Traditional media or digital?
Both are equally important to me. I try not to be hard on myself when I can’t get a painting the way I want it without collaging in Photoshop, but I consider that as just part of my process.

If you have an entire day of free time, what would we catch you doing?
 Reading a great book with my dog snuggling next to me, in the winter by a fire or wood stove, in the summer by water, so I can get wet whenever I get hot, snacks and drinks right next to me, that’s my idea of a perfect day. OR I could spend an entire day going to thrift stores.

Book or nook?

Rock or Opera?

In a parallel universe, what would you be doing instead of illustrating?
I’d be a filmmaker.

Proudest moment?
For me, when my art was on the cover of the New Yorker. For my kids, when my daughter played at Carnegie Hall and when my son saved a life while raft guiding on the river.

Anyone you would like to give a shout out to who has had an impact on where you are either personally or professionally?
OE Barnes. He was my art teacher in 8 and 9th grade. He was an amazing teacher.

And lastly, what is the one single best piece of advice you can give for an up and coming illustrator or designer?
You have to really love it because it’s a hard road, with many ups and down. Only the strong survive!

View more of Gayle's work here.

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