The Q&A: Cannaday Chapman

By Peggy Roalf   Monday September 18, 2017

Q: Originally from [where?] what are some of your favorite things about living and working in your current locale?

A: I’m originally from Rochester, New York, but I currently live in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the great things about living and working in Cleveland is how affordable it is. I used to live in New York City, but here in Cleveland, I can finally afford my very own artist loft. 

Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between art you create on paper [or other analog medium] versus in the computer?

A: I do have a few sketchbooks. I think it’s very important to keep painting and drawing in traditional media, even if you work digitally. I like to do a lot of figure-drawing/painting, as well as on-location-drawing.

In my commercial work, I like to draw everything in pen & ink. I then add color and textures in Photoshop. I create my textures traditionally and then scan them in to be stored in my texture library.

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: My inking nibs. I have a lot of them and I’m always looking for new ones to add to my growing collection.

Q: How do you know when the art is finished?

A: If I have time, I like to bring the art to a point where I think it’s finished and then go to bed. When I wake up in the morning, I take a second look at it and if it still looks done, then it’s done.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child? What is the best book you’ve recently read?

A: As a child, I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books. I’ve been reading up on Alexander Girard and Charles Eames lately—I find them inspiring.

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A: Probably pen and ink, but if I wanted a challenge, it would be oil paint.

Q: What elements of daily life exert the most influence on your work practice?

A: I have a 9-5 job in an illustration studio with lots of other illustrators, so being around them really influences my work. It’s great to bounce ideas off of them and critique each other’s work.

Q: What was the [Thunderbolt] painting or drawing or film or otherwise that most affected your approach to art? 

A: The work of Italian artist, René Gruau, has been very influential to my current way of working. I discovered his work in the book 100 Years of Fashion Illustration. I was really blown away by his work as well as the work of the other artists in that book.

Q: What was the strangest/most interesting assignment you've taken that has an important impact on your practice, and what changed through the process?

A: I once had to draw people’s portraits at a movie premier party. In the movie many characters had antlers on their heads, so I was asked to draw everyone at the party with antlers. Everyone there was also pretty drunk and there was a line the whole time. After that other jobs seem easy.

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Steak, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and cheesecake for dessert.

Cannaday Chapman was born in Huntington, West Virginia and raised in Upstate New York. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City on scholarship where he received his BFA in illustration. Cannaday has since been working professionally as an illustrator and showing his work in galleries around the United States and Italy.
Instagram and Twitter: @cannadaychapman
Represented by Lindgren & Smith



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