Focus on the Artist: Penelope Gaylord, a new gen illustrator that will leave you panting.

Of course in the NYCC 2011 I met a lot of artists, (I was the one in my group who spent a whole day in the artists alley, after all).

David Finch signed a book for me, was very gracious, and I got to talk to a few guys, like Tim Vigil, and Greg Horn.

But every once in a while in these conventions you get a pleasant surprise, like meeting a new artist you knew nothing about and turn absolutely adoring, or, as it was this case, putting a face to someone who you have been admiring from afar.

You see, I have a confession to make: I am a deviantart.com troll, but a troll in the good sense. I am always scouting for new artists, and building  a list of people to keep an eye out for.

Among these guys who I have been following for a while is this gracious and very pleasant and amicable lady that I’ve known and followed for a while (his work, not her, personally, of course) through her showings in deviantart.com

So, here am I, working my way through the tables of the artists, when I see this poster of a pinup girl whose style seems vaguely familiar. I approach the table, and start perusing the wares, when the artist approaches me in a very affable way, and starts talking about her books for sale.

Upon seeing the cover of new book, I recognized her Deviantart.com nickname, pengpeng, and also the style on the cover.

In a moment of total fan-blindness I said to Penelope, “you are the artist from deviantart!” and we laughed, and shacked hands. She was selling the book for a mere 20 bucks and included a sketch, so I took the deal, feeling a bit like a thief in the night.

Penelope’s art can be seen at  http://peng-peng.deviantart.com

She focuses on pinup art and cheesecake art, but carries in her style a strange blend of femininity and sexiness that is rare to see in female artists doing this type of work.
The book is particularly interesting because not only it showcases her best work, but she also adds steps in pages displaying the coloring stages in Photoshop. The book also gives the reader a preview on some characters she has been working on of her own copyright, that I hope get to see the light of print soon.

Penelope Gaylord  is an artist still reaching her full potential, but where she stands apart from other up-and-coming artist is that even at a stage of not-maturity yet she is an artist with a style, with mass appeal, and class.

Another thing that sets Penelope apart from a myriad of artists that I know in real life is her personalit. She is inclined to socializing, she is pleasant charming, and willing to chat with anyone who approaches her. She is social butterfly! And that contrasts greatly in her favor, when the landscape of artists is populated by so many loners, and introverts that are brilliant at the drawing board, but have the social skills, or the marketing skills of a moth encased in amber.

I’ve always sustained that a pure artist can do or behave anyway he wants.A pure artist is one tha creates independently from external reasons. He may find inspieration on external factors, but his drive to create art is purely internal, and he would do art wether he gets recognition or remuneration from it. From the moment that the artist wants to enter the market and sell his stuff (become a commercial artist) he has to abide by a series of societal conventions, market rules and expectations. That panorama throught out the early 20ht century and through the 1970’s was pretty dismal, both in remuneration and in recognition. But your could negotiate to go to Marvel or DC. Or you could negotiate a couple of dollar more a page, or you could try to get into animation. Options where limited.

But you had to press the flesh, and you had to play the game, and you had to sell yourself.  Lots of good artists got screwed out of opportunities and good deals because of poor people skills. In a perfect world they would’ve thrived independently of their social skills, but the world is not perfect and society is flawed, and all of that.

So, it is with great pleasure that I found Penelope to be a consummated sales woman, and extremely pleasant artists to be around and exchange ideas with.  She is someone we can’t wait to see her grow professionally into new challenges and new roles, and maybe someday be able to say “Yep, we got a book sign when she was still coming up through the ranks.”

Check out her designs on her web sites, and if you like it, pick up her book.

It is a good investment. Investment in art and in young new talents.

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