Really Sharp Artists at The Pencil Factory

Hoppe_Destinations_Web_o
” Destinations” artwork © by Paul Hoppe from http://www.paulhoppe.com

Kutztown illustration students went on a field trip to The Pencil Factory, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to visit a great illustrator, Paul Hoppe. Paul grew up in Germany and his name is pronounced something like “Powell Hopp-uh.” He is a graduate, like me, of the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at SVA. He also teaches in SVA’s summer program.

IMG_20170928_105257.jpg
Paul Hoppe shares his latest project with KU student Ivette Rafael
studio
Paul Hoppe sketches for current project. Photo: Beatrice Zorrilla
Beholder_BOOKS_Misery1234_2_16_820.jpg
Journey into Misery © Paul Hoppe

Paul doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. If SVA illustration has a core philosophy, it revolves around self-propulsion. When you don’t have a job, – you make a job. I first met Paul selling his handcrafted comic zines at Moccafest. His mini-comic superheroes channel 20th century Marvel heroes, but get into NSFW jams.

Books_Hat_Fanned_7_820.jpg
The Hat written and Illustrated by Paul Hoppe

Today Paul works in a large shared space with other four artists on the fifth floor of the old Eberhart Faber Pencil Factory. Paul used to work from home, but he enjoys the sense of community. He has been able to grow his business to afford the studio rent. Paul was up against a tight deadline for a children’s picture book set in Brazil. He showed us his sketches for the project, Neymar: A Soccer  Dream Come True by Mina Javaherbin coming in 2018 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

We also met his studio mates, Alex Eben Meyer, Neil Swaab and Jasu Hu. We didn’t meet Jen Hill, who must have heard us coming up the stairs.

Lucy_final_website
Art © Jasu Hu for NY Times Book Review cover.

Jasu Hu is from China. She got her graduate degree from MICA in Baltimore. She draws metaphorical figurative work. She says she does 4 or 5 commissions a week!

IMG_20170928_120440.jpg
Jasu Hu shares her editorial illustrations as Paul Hoppe gets back to work.

She has an illustration each month in Oprah magazine. She showed work she does for trade magazines, the sort you don’t often see on newsstands. Come to think of it, how often do you see a newsstand?

tumblr_ocojywyHP01qz8fd8o1_1280
Trout done as a Wikipedia fundraiser © by Alex Eben Meyer.

Alex Eben Meyer, is originally from Eastern PA. He studied at Wash U in St. Louis. His illustration style differs from his studiomates. His unlined vector images remind me of Matisse’s paper cut-outs.

IMG_20170928_112657.jpg Alex passed around his recent sketchbooks and noted that he continues to go to life drawing classes. He was working on a big project for MIT lab and just got back preliminary images from a children’s book about the concept of opposites for Abrams.

IMG_20170928_113630.jpg
A glimpse into Alex Eben Meyer’s life drawing sketchbook.
sweetly3
Sweetly, Y.A. book cover illustration © Neil Swaab

Neil Swaab has a diverse portfolio. He is a graphic designer specializing in book covers. He self-syndicated a comic, Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles, in the indy press. He has done animation on “Super Jail,” been an in-house art director, and taught at Parsons/The New School. Students asked the artists about their grad school experience. Neil’s advice: “Don’t go to grad school until you’ve worked awhile.” and, “It is all about finding your voice as an artist.”

IMG_20170928_113949.jpg
Neil Swaab shares some of the scores of books he has worked on.

Coming from a Kutztown perspective, it was invigorating to see such a concentration of amazing creative talent. There are more illustrators in the Pencil Factory than in some states. Many thanks to all the artists in Pencil Factory’s Studio 515.

After our Pencil Factory studio tour we walked to Transmitter Park on the East River.  We spent the afternoon sketching. It was a perfect fall day.

Xlorre.jpg
Field trip to Brooklyn as documented in Xavier Lorié’s sketchbook.
21994270_1566400143418011_3195118349210257920_o
Hayden Gregory sketching from the pier, Greenpoint Brooklyn.
21994423_1567015956689763_5020886994626641658_o
The great willow tree, Transmitter Park , Brooklyn, Kevin McCloskey

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s