Born in the town of Wallasey, the son of a shopgirl and a ladies’ clothing salesman, legendary illustrator and cartoonist Ralph Steadman was raised in North Wales after his family relocated to avoid the Blitz, the German strategic bombing of England at the outbreak of World War II. After quickly acquiring a distaste for factory work after a stint with the De Havilland Aircraft Company Chester, Steadman briefly worked at Woolworths, then moved on to a role at McConnells Advertising. In the mid-1950s, while completing his national service in the Royal Air Force, Steadman enrolled in a correspondence course taught by Percy V Bradshaw that promised, “You Too Can Learn To Draw And Earn £££s!” After selling his first cartoon to the Manchester Evening Chronicle in 1956, Steadman moved to London intent on making his fortune.
Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Nick Nixon is an accomplished illustrator, writer and voiceover talent. Growing up, he became accustomed to being “the artist” in classes at school and, though he aspired be be the next Normal Rockwell, Nixon instead wound up in the field of advertising and graphic design, and in 1975 he founded Nixon & Associates, an advertising and design firm with clients around the globe.
As an illustrator, Nixon has provided artwork for books including Candy Moon and Candy Moon Choo, both by children’s author Londa Hayden, and he has written for Chicken Soup for the Soul. He has penned humor articles and drawn cartoons for Delivered Magazine and CH Reader Magazine, and he has done layout, writing and illustration work for various publications by Bartlett Christian Writers Group.
Born in Oregon in 1947, artist Drew Struzan rose from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of the movie poster industry, crafting iconic images for some of the biggest films and film series in movie history. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, where he worked his way through school by selling his artwork, Struzan was a freelancer for several years before being hired as a staff artist at Los Angeles design studio Pacific Eye & Ear, where he created album covers for artists such as Black Sabbath, Roy Orbison, Iron Butterfly and more. Struzan’s design for Alice Cooper’s Welcome To My Nightmare was voted voted by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 100 album covers of all time.
In 1975, Struzan started Pencil Pushers, an artistic collaboration that led to work on film posters. During this period, Struzan primarily created artwork for B-movies such as Empire of the Ants and Food of the Gods, until he was contacted by a fellow artist and offered the opportunity to work on the poster design for the 1978 re-release of Star Wars, the success of which made him one of the most in-demand artists in the world. In the years since, Struzan has produced artwork for the subsequent Star Wars films and books, as well as dozens of other films including E.T., Blade Runner, Back to the Future, The Goonies, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Police Academy. With his lifelike portraits and rich, detailed brushwork, Struzan’s designs highlight the strength and humanity of the characters and, in the process, helped to elevate the movie poster medium to the level of fine art.
Born in Detroit in 1973, graphic designer Aaron Draplin was raised on a steady diet of Legos, Star Wars, skateboarding and snowboarding. At the age of 19, he moved to Oregon and, after designing a graphic for Solid snowboards, his art career took off and he found himself, under the moniker of Draplindustries Design Co., with the opportunity to create everything from logos to cafe signs to local advertising campaigns.
After returning to Minneapolis to earn his design degree at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Draplin accepted an art director position with Snowboarder magazine in Southern California, winning “Art Director of the Year” for Primedia 2000. Draplin returned to the Pacific Northwest in April of 2002 to work with the Cinco Design Office in Portland, Oregon.
For over 20 years, self-taught artist Emily Balivet has been creating vivid renderings that explore feminine spirituality, mythology and ancient religion. Inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites, the Art Nouveau period and the psychedelic art movement of the 1960s, along with elements of nature and the lucious landscapes she grew up exploring, Balivet’s figurative realism has won her a worldwide fanbase that spans a wide range of demographics.
Raised in Alaska but currently residing in Vermont, Balivet got her start selling her creations in the craft fair and festival circuit. In 2004, she began promoting her paintings online and quickly found a market for her uniquely elegant style.
What was your upbringing like, and how did it shape who you are today?