I first found Courtney’s work on Instagram… and damn boy, it was an instant crush! Her fun and cheerful illustrations are truly eye-catching and will certainly look amazing in almost everything (I would definitely love to have some pillows with her lovely big-eyed-girls printed on them… And well… I bet you want them too! ) She has done tons of freelance work, specially for educational publishings. I’m sure by now you will definitely want to know more about Courtney! (And don’t worry, I got you covered!) Here are some Q&A with this talented artist:
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into illustration?
A: I'm Courtney Godbey, an illustrator from South Carolina. I've enjoyed drawing since I was very little and it's always been one of my favorite ways to spend my time. My older brother is also an artist so growing up our Mom always had a huge array of art supplies for us to play around with. I majored in 2D Studio Art in college and at the same time I started working at a local small publisher doing illustration work. I've been doing illustration full time for about 9 years now.
Q: Which is the best part of your job? And the less fun?
A: I love the initial start of projects. Receiving the requests and brainstorming through the sketch and working out the composition is so fun to me. I've always preferred the drawing aspect of art over painting or coloring, so doing sketches and cleaning up the drawings once the sketches are approved is my favorite. The least fun part is probably the scheduling and trying not to over book myself! I'm still working at getting a good healthy balance when it comes to personal time and work.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I have so many things that inspired me! I grew up with cartoons, video games, and comics and those things have always remained a part of me and my work. In particular Disney and Ghibli films had been a huge inspiration and I'm always trying to capture that kind of beauty and emotion in what I do.
I've always been an avid reader so children's picture books and chapter books were a huge part of my life and I loved studying the illustrations in them. In college I studied the Golden Age illustrators and starting trying to incorporate some of their techniques into my work. But I've also always loved cute kitsch art such as the Big Eyes movement, as well as manga from all decades, and super cute things like Sanrio. So I think all of those inspirations have kind of combined into how my brain thinks and draws now!
Q: Do you have a creative process?
A: When I'm doing original work, it normally starts with an idea sparked by either a story I read or perhaps an image I run across. And I know saying this goes against a lot of art teaching, but I don't often do thumbnails for my work. I've never enjoyed them and only do them if they're specifically requested. So when I'm starting a piece I'll usually be thinking about it and planning it out in my head for a few days while I'm working on other things. Once I feel comfortable with the idea, I'll then lightly sketch it out and just continue to build darker layers over it until I get the drawing how I want it. Then, if working digitally, I'll do a new clean line layer over it, or, if I'm doing traditional work, transfer it to the final paper. I've never been as comfortable with the coloring stage, so recently I've been looking up color palettes to use for my pieces, and I feel like that's been helping a lot!
Q: Any illustration tips you would like to share with us?
A: Practice as much as you can, but don't be afraid to give yourself time to rest and recharge. Taking in new information, through books or the world around you, and studying art that inspires you can be just as important as building up your drawing abilities! Don't feel pressured to fit into a certain mold of artist because you think it will give you more attention or work. If you draw what you love and have a passion for, people will notice and they will resonate more with the audience.
Hungry for more? Check out Courtney's amazing website!