6 Questions with Tracy Walker, Canadian Illustrator and Paperblanks Cover Artist!

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Today, we’re talking with Tracy Walker, a Canadian illustrator who is the artist behind our brand-new Tracy Walker’s Animal Friends journals.

Tracy has been working as an artist for years and her work has been featured in the pages of the New York Times and on a host of products including stamps, labels and greeting cards, as well as delightful infographics and fabulously playful papercuts and shadowboxes. Needless to say, we are absolutely thrilled to be introducing a collection of journals featuring her art as the second of our series celebrating Canadian artists (the Alistair Bell Collection is our first).

Tracy recently took the time to chat with us about her passions and inspirations, so rather than simply introducing the journals we have this very special X Questions With the artist herself!

For more about Tracy and her work, check out her website – tracywalkerart.com.

A Little Bit About Tracy

Name and Place: Tracy Walker from Uxbridge, Ontario
Education and Occupation: Trained in fine art, illustration and graphic design. On-going education in photography. Working as an illustrator, artist and graphic designer.
Creative Works: Lunar New Year stamps for Canada Post, wine labels, craft beer packaging, tissue boxes, card designs for Ikea.
Favourite Quote: “Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” – Bill Moyers

1) We are so thrilled to be releasing our Tracy Walker’s Animal Friends series, featuring four of your illustrations. Have you ever had your art on a book cover before?

Yes, I have, but this is the first time that I’ve been able to collaborate so closely with a publisher, and explore work that I’m this closely connected to. I love drawing animals, and working with Paperblanks gave me the opportunity to introduce some of my favourites to the covers of their journals, as well as creating new animal friends that I’m hoping everyone will enjoy.

2) Animal and nature themes are often featured in your art. Do you feel especially connected to our natural world?

I do! The town where I live happens to be the Trail Capital of Canada, so I do lots of hiking and exploring on the local trails, and I’ve always got my eyes open for birds and animals. There are ospreys that nest nearby each spring, and lots of coyotes and foxes too. I often visit local farms as well, always with my camera in hand, and have been lucky enough to see newborn lambs and calves taking their very first steps.

3) Aside from working on illustrations, you are also a papercut artist! Though the mediums are different, your personal style is evident in both. How did you go about translating your style into papercutting – or did that come first?

I’ve always enjoyed building things, working in 3D. Much of my work is created in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator on the computer, which is a very architectural approach to layering shapes on top of others to create art. It’s funny, but working on the computer had a huge influence on my desire to pick up paper, scissors and glue… layering shapes and shadows to create images and tell stories.

4) How did you get into art and illustration?

Drawing and making things just came naturally to me, from the very earliest age I can remember. I always enjoyed watching things grow or move, or figuring out how things worked so I could build them myself. Fortunately my parents encouraged all of this, and my teachers as well. They steered me in the right direction when I needed it, and left me to find my own way when I needed that too. Honestly, I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. Being creative was a necessity for me to be able to thrive – like oxygen.

5) What are some of your other passions?

Born in England, I LOVE to travel… some of the places I’ve seen are China, Thailand, Iceland (3 times! My favourite destination so far), Turkey, Greece, many Mexican archaeological sites, France, Holland, the UK and many road trips across Canada and the US. Once, by chance, I was fortunate enough to participate in the raising of a new totem pole on Haida Gwaii, B.C., the first in over 25 years.

My current passion is photography, and since I love to travel, photography is a way for me to take a creative medium with me on the road. I think of it as painting, designing and sculpting all rolled into one discipline. When I’m travelling, there are always lots of museums and galleries on my itinerary. I once planned an entire trip around seeing the work of Mexican muralists in Mexico City, and another visiting art deco lobbies in New York City. My favourite author is neurologist Oliver Sacks (I’m fascinated by brain science), my favourite photography is Brazilian photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado and my favourite film is Babette’s Feast.

6) Any advice you would like to share with aspiring artists?

If there is something you love to do, try your hardest to shape your life around it. Grow the life YOU want, with every ounce of passion you have, and the rest will fall into place.

Find Tracy Walker’s Animal Friends in Stores 

For our “X Questions With” series, we’re speaking with talented individuals from around the world who have inspired us with their creativity and passion. If you have a story to tell or someone you’d like to see profiled, let us know in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

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