Calling Bethany Sellers a gifted illustrator is like calling your mom a good mother. She is far beyond gifted. Sellers’ portfolio consists of everything from anime-like sketches to bright illustrations. She has some that are as zany as a Pink Panthers vintage cartoon,and others that have a dark aura about them.
If you’ve ever wondered about what the life of a professional illustrator is like, or want to get pointers on how to become one, this conversation with Bethany Sellers is a must.
Q & A
Were you the type who loved to draw as a child?
Oh, definitely! I’ve had a passion for drawing for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I always had a stack of copy paper I’d spend most of my free time drawing on. That was something I did from grade school until my sophomore year of high school, when I first got a tablet and started to draw digitally.
Your portfolio is very diverse. How do you come up with ideas for your illustrations?
I have a love for movies, music, and comics, which often inspire me. Other artists also inspire me constantly, especially when it comes to different inking or coloring techniques. So, sometimes I get ideas from a particular source, and other times I come up with them on my own.
Do you have a lot of half-way done illustrations lying around?
Of course! However, in my case, they’re not so much lying around as they are just sitting on my hard drive. When I get an idea for an illustration I at least try to sketch it out. If I still like the idea, I’ll usually try to follow through with it until the end. However, sometimes I end up getting caught up with other projects and am not able to finish it, or I just lose interest in it somewhere along the way.
How can someone become a professional illustrator?
Every illustrator has a different story of how they got into the business, so to speak, but I think one of the most important things you can do is to just keep at it, and put your art out there for others to see. Perseverance is key. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever for an artist to get exposure for their work by setting up an online portfolio or blog. As important as talent is for becoming successful, an artist also has to know the ropes about the business itself, how to market themselves to the public and potential clients, etc. Some of that can be learned through research, but experience is the best teacher.
At which point did you realize that you had some serious talent for what you do?
I don’t think I really had a definitive moment like that, to be honest. As I’ve said, I’ve always had a love for drawing, so all I’ve done is just work to improve as an artist, and try to not to let myself get discouraged.
Are you related to Peter Sellers? Do you get that sometimes from movie buffs?
We’re actually not related, sad to say. As a matter of fact, I think you’re actually the first person who’s asked me that!
What are you most proud of as an illustrator?
I think the thing I’m most proud of is, quite simply, the way my art has evolved over the years. As embarrassing as it is to look back at a lot of my old art, it’s also an encouragement to see the drastic improvements I’ve made over time. Of course, I know I still have a long way to go, so I look forward to see where the future takes me!
What are your plans for your career?
I love drawing comics as much as I love reading them, so I can also see myself working in that field. I also have an interest in writing, so creating comics is a great way for me to utilize that skill as well.