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Patrick Long Illustrates Characters Known and Otherwise

Written By Nick Mendez | Feb 27, 2015

Patrick Long is an accomplished illustrator whose work has ended up in feature films, advertisements and on book covers. He’s also the artist behind the characters on our homepage. I thought it was high time for us to sit down and see what makes him tick.

How did you get started with professional illustration? What was your first piece of paid work?

Patrick: My father is an architect, so I was raised with paper and pencils everywhere. Drawing is one of my earliest memories. Making it my profession was roundabout–I went to Parsons studying fashion, but illustration came forward. Hmmm, first paid piece? It might be a little fabric shop ad in the Dartmouth local newspaper.

Kale-576x1024You’ve drawn a lot of celebrities. What do you like about illustrating them in particular?

I suppose they are an easy go-to for studying likeness. By their nature, there are a lot of photos to refer to, then I add something which makes it different from a photo, possibly more intriguing or funny.

How have you navigated pricing throughout your illustration career? How do you decide what your skills are worth?

There is a standard illustrator’s guide book with ball park pricing comparables. Usage has something to do with it. Broad Scale Advertising is worth more than Editorial because of its use, and length of use. There always must be room to do something for a friend, or projects which compensate with fun and/or freedom.

What’s your split like between work projects and illustrating for fun? How do you prioritize?

Truly, I like them both. I like a project–it provides the riddle, the thing to solve. Working with clients or an art director can be great. Hopefully, it becomes more because of collaborating.

Are there any mediums or subjects you’re especially excited to tackle next?

I like wrought details and I like simple, confident, clean lines. I realized a while back, I just like drawing. I’m curious about it, rather than specifically one style. Fingers crossed it makes sense in the broad view.

Patrick Long lives and works in Portland, OR. He likes to draw fashion figures, sports stars, the under-appreciated and the awkwardly beautiful. He has worked for The New Yorker, Nike, Brooks, Caroline Herrera, Microsoft and The New York Times.

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