Art isn’t dead! (Or is it?): Illustrator Alexandria Ortiz
Recent graduate from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, zombie-loving illustrator Alexandria Ortiz takes her art very seriously with a “tough love” attitude on life and work ethic. Grown up in Chicago, Ortiz’s illustration breathes “urban punk,” while she maintains a graceful hand with her media. While many illustrators are leaning towards digital art, Ortiz embraces traditional media and has some brutally honest advice to share.
What makes you choose colored pencils and markers over digital media, which is where a lot of illustration is heading?
I’ve always liked touching my art. I like to smear my pencil, dry out my markers and occasionally scratch off a little color pencil here and there. In the end, nothing is more satisfying than stepping away from your work bench and holding up your finished product. It’s tangible, real and truly original. It doesn’t need to be printed in order to exist on the other side of a screen.
When is one medium better to use over another?
It depends on the look you’re going for. Markers are great for laying down some solid colors that won’t fade away. Whereas colored pencils are excellent for light, delicate details and texture. I like using these two media together as I see fit for how I want a piece to look.
When I use markers, I tend to look for the colors in the skin that we normally don’t see: The reds, the greens, and the blues – what have you. I find them, and they’re the first thing I lay down. The actual color of the skin is only a small part of it. It’s the colors we don’t really pay attention that make it pop!
How do you keep motivated to draw?
I like do this thing where I’m drawing while watching some kind of show involving art. I could be sitting for a few hours working on a piece while watching Season 2 of Face Off or American Stuffers. It’s an easy way to get the creative juice flowing while keeping yourself entertained. I also draw inspiration from a lot my interests whether I watch it on TV or the internet, read about it or actually interact with it. It could be zombies, animals or tattoos. Sometimeseven the obscure can inspire me, like taxidermy. You never know when you’ll be struck with an idea.
Stop messing around.
Who’s work influenced you most? Why?
Erik Jones. His way of drawing the female form and his artistic process is something I’ve been incorporating into my own work since my sophomore year in college. I use to dabble in watercolor before I came across his work. The saturation of the color he was able to create was something I’ve wanted to emulate and wasn’t quite possible with watercolors. To this day I religiously follow his updates on the internet and continue to draw inspiration from him. Lately, I’ve been also been inspired by the art of Dave “Undead” Olteanu, a tattoo artist from Australia. His tattoo designs that he has become famous for touch into a lot of my favorite drawing subjects.
What are your favorite Prismacolor Products?
The markers are by far the ones I love to use the most. I love ability I have to throw in color, walk away from it, look at it again and throw in a different color I didn’t notice before. The end result is a very vibrant look.
Finish this sentence, “I am…”
“I am” is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that “I do” is the longest sentence?” – George Carlin
-Guest Writer Samantha DeCarlo