Today we're talking with illustrator and writer Danlyn Iantorno.
Danlyn Iantorno is the owner of Painted Olive Studios and has been a full-time artist for over 25 years. She has an extensive background in publishing, licensed products, graphics, and illustration.
Danlyn is a past Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), active Designer Member of CHA (Craft and Hobby Assoc.), NAPP (National Assoc. of Photoshop Professionals) and a featured illustrator for SGAI (Specialty Graphic Imaging Assoc.). Her work is shown in galleries and has been published internationally.
She teaches seminars and workshops at schools and national conventions throughout the country, where she is recognized as a digital expert. Licensed representation is provided through Painted Planet Licensing.
An altered version of this interview originally appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Kite Tales for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the SCBWI, available for download on their website.
To view Danlyn’s work, please visit www.PaintedOlive.com or www.Danlyn.info.
Describe your workspace.
I am psychotically organized so my studio is very neat. I support green initiatives by insisting on a paperless office so you will see three computers, a big drawing table, categorized bookshelves and my canine office assistant Eddie.
Describe a typical workday.
I get the kiddos to school and open for business at 9AM. I open email and take care of any emergency graphics jobs until about noon. I work out at lunchtime and treat myself to a bit of reading time on my Nordic Track. Work starts again and continues through the evening or until the kids need to go someplace. Most days I work again from about 10PM until 2AM. Yes, this is my schedule 6–7 days per week!
List three of your most favorite things in your workspace and why they are meaningful.
My sushi bowl is ever-present. I don’t get sushi as often as I would like, but I eat trail mix with chopsticks—purely for fun.
My Bic pen resides in an antique ink well—it makes me feel like a writer.
Hanging above my work table is a mobile with hand-carved, wooden swallows. It reminds me to find a Zen moment during my day.
Do you have any rituals? If so, describe them.
Well, no small animal sacrifices or incantations BUT . . . I actually go into “warrior mode” if I am entering into a big deadline. I cut my fingernails down, get a haircut, stock up on food, and balance my checkbook. It sounds silly, but it clears my head to not worry about small details like a manicure.
What do you listen to while you work?
Music is a constant. Everything from steel drums to cello to hard rock.
What is your drink and/or snack of choice while you’re working?
My trail mix, decaf tea, and plain, hot-air popcorn.
What keeps you focused while you’re working?
Years of working alone have made me into a work-monster. The problem is not focusing but trying to stop!
If you were forced to share your workspace but could share it with anyone of your choosing, who would it be?
A tie between Santa Claus and Walt Disney.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve heard or received?
I have this written on my drawing board “Enjoy the process, not the result.” This is a HARD business, you likely will not be rich and it will take a long time to get there so you had better relish the journey.
Edited to add: A commenter asked some great additional questions so I followed up with Danlyn. Here's what she had to say:
What mediums do you use and which is your favorite?
My first love is graphite. I work in realism with drop-lead pencils and add Prismacolor colored pencils. The bulk of my work in the last decade is digital. I digitally enhance my pencil drawings and produce oil paintings, watercolor, pastels and graphic images on the computer. I'm a complete control freak and working with pencil -- and a computer -- allows endless edits and a clean work environment.
What software do you use?
Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat (full version). I also enjoy painting in Art Rage. My Wacom tablet and pen are vital.
What kind of job do you find the most challenging about illustrating and why?
I'm fortunate that I can draw whatever I can see -- as long as I HAVE something to see. The challenge for me is creating from my imagination. I became stereotyped as a realism artist and without accurate reference, I struggle with adding background elements to my main subjects.
All images c. Danlyn Iantorno