This week's colorful hand-lettered Marijuana Issue cover was created by Pittsburgh artist Ellissa Nicholle Schatz. Pittsburgh City Paper asked her a few questions over email about her artwork after completing the cover illustration.
How did you get into illustrating?
I went to SCAD [The Savannah College of Art and Design] for illustration and printmaking, and now am working to amp up my freelance career alongside my graphic design 9-to-5. I'm just having fun and figuring out what/how I like to draw.
What is your dream job? Dream client?
I'd love to be doing creative direction for an art and fashion publication, something where I could have my eyes and hands in a lot of different projects.
Freelance-wise, I've been dying to work with Bitch Magazine since I first found out about them. Doing a mural is also on my list of goals for the next couple years.
Your cover illustration this week includes a lovely moody person, scrolling hand lettering, lots of plants, and an interpretive and vibrant use of color — all of which are seen throughout your larger body of work. Where do you gather inspiration from?
Honestly, Instagram, like everyone else, mostly. I love big Versace-ish fashion prints and bright colors that maybe don't go together and girls that have inches-long bejeweled acrylics. Also other illustrators like Laura Callaghan and Caleb Boyles (I went to school with him and you should really check him out … he's so good).
You work in a lot of different mediums including silkscreen, digital illustration, works on paper, animation, and zines. Do you have a favorite? Do you go to a particular medium for creating different subject matter, mood, or message?
When I feel like I haven't made something in awhile, or having a day where I can't draw, I like to paint or silkscreen (both using very low-tech setups on top of my drafting table). Making something that is probably going to be kind of messy by nature makes me loosen up a lot and gets me in the mood to have more ideas for projects way more organically than staring at an empty Photoshop document would.
Digital is cool for most client work just because you can change things so fast and colors can be so fun to play with, but there also is a pressure to make things extra perfect because you have the ability to do so. I think painting and screen printing are more of an experimental personal project way of working for me, and then drawing and animating in Photoshop is more "professional" I guess. I'd loooooovvveeee to start doing more animations for work just to get better at it.
Do you have any big or exciting projects coming up?
I'll be in a show with a bunch of other artists in the fall, so I'm starting to work on paintings for that. That's going to be super fun. And then I'm also in the works for something with a really cool publication later on in the spring. For more on that you'll have to check my Instagram because it's not entirely ironed out yet.
Where can people buy and see more of your artwork?
I'll have some work for sale in Small Mall this summer! I'm thrilled about that. And then you can check out my Instagram, I sell prints on there sometimes. Or my website. I also have a Redbubble and Society6 that are up to date (for now) if you want different sizes!