Jason is a set designer for television and theater, and a children’s book author/ illustrator. He graduated from Brandeis University with a MFA in Theatrical Design. Jason has spent the last 16 years creating nutty things for late night television as a set designer at Late Night with Conan O’Brien and currently at The Late Show with David Letterman. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey with his wife and 6 year old twins
Karen Romagna: So, what have you been up to lately?… Anything new?
Jason Kirschner: I’ve been working on a picture book dummy that I’m really proud of about a bunny that doesn’t listen to her parents. She’s very reminiscent of a little girl that lives in my house. I’m also in the middle of a new manuscript that makes me laugh. Other than that I‘ve still got a day job that keeps me busy and twin six year olds that really tire me out.
KR: Why do you want to be a children's illustrator?
JK: I love the work. I’m happiest at my drawing board. I find when I don’t draw for extended periods of time I just don’t feel right. So after I get home from work, put my kids to bed, and have dinner with my wife I find the energy to walk upstairs to my teeny home office and draw for a few hours.
KR: What/Who inspires you.. and why?
JK: I’m inspired by and would love to be any of the following people (In no particular order) : Norman Rockwell, Alphonse Mucha, Grant Wood, John Singer Sergeant, and Alfred Eisenstadt. My work looks almost completely unlike anything those guys did but I’m in awe of all of it. I’m a huge comic book guy and I’m very influenced by that kind of storytelling. I also love the graphic style. For that reason I also keep a big file of vintage ads.
Check out Jason's winning 1st Place Illustration from our 2013 June Conference Juried Art Show
"Down the Rabbit Hole"
KR: Can you tell me a little bit about your illustration process?
JK: I draw with Prismacolor pencils – usually sepia colored. I do a rough sketch to figure out the basic composition. Then I start drawing out the different elements of the illustration. I try to draw all the elements separately and then scan them in and combine them in Photoshop. Once I everything where I like it, I start coloring digitally and adding textures and patterns.
KR: At what point did you realize illustrating for children was right for you?
JK: I always wanted to do children’s books. After many years of doing book covers and asking to do picture books, an art director offered me the chance to do one. I have been doing them ever since.
KR: when life gets in the way, what helps you to get through? Keep going?
JK: I try to remind myself that the stuff that “gets in the way” is actually what life is so I try not to avoid it or get through it but to experience it. I can either be annoyed at the inordinate amount of soccer games and birthday parties that are keeping me away from my drawing board but I try to really enjoy my family and all the stuff that comes with it. It doesn’t always work. When working, I try to stay focused on the task at hand and I try to stay positive. Even if the first 50 sketches suck, the 51st is probably going to be great.
For more about Jason, check out these links:
You can find selections of my work at www.jasonkirschner.com. You're more than welcome to friend me on Facebook but you’ll have to endure many updates about my kids and all the funny they produce. I am on LinkedIn which I check sometimes and Twitter — which I check never. I just can’t say what I have to in 140 characters.