Courtney White is an illustrator, designer and animator living and working in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Her work combines elements of found texture, vibrant colors, hand drawn lines and it’s full of fun-n-frolic. Courtney also does video editing, album art work, murals and art direction. Her work is bold, bright, and brilliant. Here’s Courtney telling us a lot about her work and things she likes, does, and believes in:
Hello Courtney. Please tell us about yourself:
My name is Courtney White and I’m an illustrator living in Boston, MA. I grew up in a town with one stoplight about an hour outside of Boston and moved here to attend Massachusetts College of Art and Design. While there I studied animation and learned how things move and then ultimately brought those lessons back to the single frame. In addition, I collect robots and have never met a dog I don’t like.
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until I heard high school classmates start to talk about college that I realized that art was the only thing I could realistically see myself dedicating the next four years of my life and beyond to. Being an animation major I was literally able to study cartoons for four years. This is a pretty strange way to enter your initial years of adulthood but looking back I wouldn’t change a single thing.
What is your artist statement?
I have the bare bones of an artists statement that I re-work when it’s absolutely necessary. For the most part though, I’d rather have people spend time looking at my work and drawing their own conclusions than reading about what it all means and how I think it should make them feel. I trust them to make those decisions for themselves.
For the most part I think I’m permanently stuck in a state of never fully growing up past the point of going to work every day and paying rent on time and my work is a pretty accurate depiction of that. With that being said, my work definitely intentionally focuses on the lighter parts of my life. Admittedly, I find myself stressing too much and sometimes can’t keep up with my own brain as a result. For me, my work has always been a way to prioritize the positives in my life and realize that everything else is temporary.
How do you get to your work and what in your opinion makes a perfect illustration?
I carry a sketchbook with me absolutely everywhere I go and find this essential to keep ideas flowing. Often times if I’m stuck on which direction to go in for an illustration I use these pages as direction. They’re filled with quick, intuitive drawings and observations and I think this kind of energy makes for the best illustrations.
In my opinion, a perfect illustration is able to catch somebodies eye even at the end of a long day filled with advertisements, electronic distractions and their own daily routine. It’s a challenge to capture anyone’s attention when people can look at absolutely anything they want with a touch of a button. It has to be unique, it has to make people do a double take and it needs to have enough content to hold their attention.
Tell us about the the supplies and equipment etc. you use at work:
My work is usually completed with acrylic paint, graphite, ink and micron pens. I really enjoy the physical act of making and having to adjust for mistakes along the way. As a result, I rarely ever work digitally except to clean up illustrations for publishing.
I think no matter how many polished pieces I finish a completed sketchbook will always be my favorite body of work. I’ve been keeping one active through high school, college, breakups, make ups, new jobs and adventures. Nothing will ever beat having all of that documented in one place and being able to see my work grow throughout each of them.
Tell us about your achievements, awards, publications, etc.
Recently I’ve had my sketchbooks published in A World of Artists Journal Pages as well as A Robot Coloring Book produced by Doodlers Anonymous.
Prior to that I’ve created work for the Ottawa International Film Festival, Netflix, Unos, the Boston Compass and posters for a slew of musical talents as they tour through Boston.
Going forward I want to take on more editorial illustrations. Character work is definitely what I’m known for but I’m at the point that I’m ready to expand this expectation and take on new challenges.
Ultimately, I just want to be able to sustain myself doing what I love and in turn giving people pictures that make them smile, laugh or at least take a few seconds out of their day to pause and have a look.
Tell us about your favorite artists, quotes, films, music etc.
Art wise I’ll always look to Margaret Kilgallen for both artistic direction as well as just owning her craft and always wanting to give back to the arts community instead of just existing in it. I’ve been really into Pat Perry and Ekundayo lately and I think they’re both creating some absolutely amazing work as well as giving an insight into their environment and travels.
Film wise, Beautiful Losers is on my frequently played list but I’ll also give any thriller a chance. My music list is too erratic and changes so quickly that it’s sure to be outdated before anyone reads my current answer. I’ll just pass on my Spotify credentials to anyone that’s curious. Except please don’t hold me to that.
Say something to our readers or aspiring artists:
Almost daily I think about the advice I once heard Don Hertzfeldt give at a festival. He was asked what makes an artist successful and replied by saying that the most talented people he knows are not necessarily the most successful. Rather, the people he knows that work twice as hard are the ones making a dent in the art scene. That’s always stuck with me. Dons original work could’ve been made by anyone with paper, a pen and a camera. But very few people would designate months or years of their life to perfect a craft. He did it- and the results speak for themselves.