We had the good fortune of connecting with Conner Herbison and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Conner, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
It’s interesting, physical risks were a large part of my life having lived in Steamboat Springs and ski racing all over Colorado. However those risks, while educational in their own right, didn’t necessarily prepare me for the risks tied to pursuing an art career. I mean there are the standard risks that everyone can understand like financial stability blah blah blah, but it’s also a risky lifestyle psychologically. Honestly, it often feels like an incredible gamble on myself and some days it requires more confidence than I have. Specifically, the confidence that this “thing” you’re making, whether it’s a comic book, short story, illustration, jewelry, embroidery, or dog portrait, is not only worth all the time and energy you put into it but then you also deserve to be compensated for it at a professional level. As your classic self loathing artist in the pursuit of some “greatness” that eludes me, I find it quite difficult at times to reconcile these two mindsets and that can be problematic when representing yourself. However despite saying all that, illustrating nonsense, crafting worlds, and telling stories in them, is one of the few things in life I find truly fulfilling and have, if you will, a “calling” to do. So I’ve risked staying the course. I’ve had the par- time retail day job at Jerry’s Artarama for 7 years because it kept me connected to art and allowed me to continue learning. Honestly its gotten in the way of a few relationships too, but at the end of it all I think its worth it. I think the pursuit of creating something that not only fulfills yourself and what you need to say, but also potentially resonates with other people and becomes a part of their life is worth taking risks for.

Not sure I really answered the question or even made much sense but yeah…

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Oh jeez… Well when people ask I tend to call myself a narrative illustrator. I get most excited about art that communicates a story or allows you to feel the presence of a narrative. Not necessarily just sequential art in comics or movies, but paintings, ceramics/sculpture, whatever! Escapism has always been my biggest draw to these other worlds and I enjoy trying to create worlds of my own and tell stories in them. Oh gosh, I would say what sets me apart from others, especially the artists around my age is how traditional I am with my work and the range of materials I use. I do a bit of illustrating digitally, you need to know it to keep up, but for the most part I use traditional materials as much as possible. I much prefer the feel of real paint. Working around art supplies for 7 years has given me a lot of experience with different materials so I tend to use whatever I want or have to get the job done. I also just tend to get bored of one thing or the other and need to switch it up to keep things interesting. It definitely was not easy or cheap experimenting with all the materials but its been incredibly rewarding. Sure it can be scary trying something you’ve never done and potentially ruining something you’ve spent days on, but its the only way to really learn anything in my opinion. Versatility and voice seem to be the name of the game from what I can tell, or at least that’s what I’m going for. I’ve learned the value of throwing yourself into projects you might’ve initially ignored because you learn so much when you have to adapt to something uncomfortable. I’ve had a million influences, some of them more obvious than others, and have worked hard over a long time to create a skill set and body of work that feels like “mine.” I get involved in the worlds I’m working in, I want to know how they work, what informs the characters, why is anything the way it is? I love not only asking these questions but creating spaces for others to ask them as well.

Oh and speaking of questionable! The Kickstarter for my debut graphic novel, “Darvey Plunk” is live on Kickstarter until June 23rd! I’d appreciate the hell out of it if people would check it out and consider supporting our bumbling, ridiculous, political satire adventure!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hmmm… I don’t get out much honestly. Working part time retail usually leaves me pretty peopled out:)

Kinn Thai and Star of India are two of the best in town but we’re addicted to take out so we’re eating that on the couch! Hanging out most likely up at Horsetooth to get away from things, or taking the trip up to Vedauwoo, Wyoming to truly get away from things. I’m really not a fan of bars and don’t really drink so don’t ask me.

Did I say I was a bit of a shut in?

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh boy, lets see.

My family’s been my biggest supporter my whole life really. My wonderful parents, Gregg and Sandy have always supported my nonsense ideas and let me get do things that, in retrospect, might’ve been questionable… I never did get that dirt bike though but that was honestly a very smart decision on their part. My older sisters, Lauren and Audrey have had incredible influence on my artwork from sharing the music and movies they did with me growing up, to as adults attending conventions with me and speaking to pro artists I was too nervous to talk to.

Speaking of which, led to my relationship and work with pro artist, Zach Howard! I’m incredibly fortunate to be able call him a friend and mentor. I had the opportunities to assist him on projects of a level I could only dreamed of a few years before and that was incredibly educational and validating at a time I needed it.

There are so many more people but lastly just my community of fellow creators. Whether its friends from college and beyond who are responsible for exposing me to their passions and interests, other professionals who have had the curtesy to give me their time and expertise, or just other people doing cool stuff.

Website: www.connerherbison.com

Instagram: @connerherbison

Twitter: @ConnerHerbison

Image Credits
Conner Herbison

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