Cannaday Chapman, Illustrator

Cannaday ChapmanFreelance Illustrator, Brooklyn, NY
Graduated: Class of 2008
Major: Communications Design
Home Town: Fairport, NY

Tell me about some of your favorite recent publications.
I was recently published in dpi Magazine, which is based in Taiwan. They have a beautiful magazine and did an eight page feature on my work. I was also published in 3x3 Illustration Annual earlier this year.

What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on a book entitled, Francis of Ruaha. I'm also working on a series of illustrated videos for Sparknotes. I've done To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby and am currently doing The Scarlet Letter.

There's a strong element of imaginative fantasy in your work.
Yes, in my work I like to try to imagine the unreal as real. What's fun about that is I can create whatever I want. However, the illustration I'm currently working on deals with more realistic themes. Now, my challenge is to try and make what's real as interesting as fantasy.

What do you think makes your work unique?
What I think makes my work unique is that it's an extension of who I am. It's just me being me. I think that as long you can show a bit of your personality in your work it will be unique, because no two personalities are alike.

I'm sure you drew extensively as a child, what interested you then?
As a child I was really into morning cartoons and animated movies. I originally wanted to be an animator. I used to pause the TV during some of my favorite cartoons and draw from that.

And what interests you now?
Now I'm still into cartoons and movies. I'm also into books, fine art, nature, color, architecture and any kind of design. Outside of art, I take capoeira, and I'm really into sports.

What did your family think of your decision to be an artist?
For the most part my family was very supportive, although they were a little worried about me pursuing an art career. Once I started to do well and have some success they were no longer worried.

Are your deadlines hard to meet?
For the most part, no. Although, sometimes I find myself working on a handful of projects at once. When doing that it can be more challenging to meet deadlines. However, meeting deadlines is very important, because if you fail to meet deadlines that makes you unreliable.

You've got a day job as well. What's that like for you?
Yep, I work a day job alongside my freelance work. I work part-time as an in-house illustrator for a fashion company. It's a very interesting job. I do graphics and accessory design as well as illustration. I never thought I'd find myself in the fashion industry, but it's really not as crazy as I thought.

How did your years at PrattMWP help you to prepare for this?
Before attending PrattMWP I really had no idea about what field of art I wanted to pursue. I also didn't know much about what careers existed for an artist. After attending PrattMWP I discovered that I wanted to be an illustrator. Before then I didn't even know what an illustrator was. After PrattMWP, I applied to the top illustration schools in the country. I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to SVA and was accepted into every school I applied to, even the schools that didn't accept me when I was in high school.


PrattMWP is part of a tradition that dates back to 1936, when the first class of artists passed through the doors of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute.

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