Random Illustrator Feature: Bill Carman

h1 April 7th, 2009 by jules

Fine DiningTwo really good things came out of our recent Dave McKean interview: First (the obvious), the fact that WE GOT TO CHAT WITH DAVE MCKEAN, for which we gave seven loud WOOT!s; second, that all kinds of folks came along to respond to his art work and unique artistic vision. My very favorite thing about blogging is the community of readers we have here. You all are my colleagues now, since I’m sitting at home, while temporarily away from librarianship, working in my PJs, chasing a couple kids, and blogging from my kitchen. Your collective wisdom and wit and wicked-funny funny-bones play a large part in Making My Day.

But I digress. But only just slightly, because—speaking of comments—a third good thing happened: An artist and professor of art, heretofore unbeknownst to me (he was featured in Blogging for a Cure 2007 by another blogger, but then so were over 175 other illustrators), left a comment at the McKean interview. And, as is often the case, I went exploring at the link to which he attached his name. And I was instantly drawn in by the works on display there at his blog, his alluring contemporary fantastic art. I asked him if he’d like to stop by for one of my Random Illustrator Features, and lucky for me, he said yes. His name is Bill Carman, he received his MFA from Brigham Young University, and—as you’ll read below—he is a designer, artist (as in fine art), illustrator (as in, well…illustration, of course), and teacher. And, as is also often the case, I asked if he’d like to say anything about his work. So, here is Bill Carman, in his own words, and lots of his art work. (Please see alt tags for image titles.)

Many thanks to Bill for stopping by…Enjoy.

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I’ve come to think of myself as a monastic mad scientist who is most happy in his secret lab/studio. Well, I’m also happy laughing at people on TV with my family. Oh yeah, and walking my two pugs and Siberian husky. And, of course, being on a river with fly rod in hand isn’t bad either.

Test Ride
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I’m fortunate in being able to do two of my favorite things to make money: making images and teaching. I teach at Boise State University and have illustrated, designed, and fine arted for more years than I would like to think. Clients such as Macmillan Publishing, Random House, Opera Idaho, Boise Contemporary Theater, LucasArts, Susan Komen Foundation, among many others have kept me busy between gallery shows. I did a children’s picture book with Random House, published in 2002, called What’s That Noise? {pictured below}.

I have since done some cover work for a couple of different publishers and am currently working on the cover for a re-release of a Polly Horvath book, The Canning Season. I would really love to do another picture book but seem to have trouble finding time to flesh out manuscripts. It will come though. Another blockbuster.

On a LeashWe're Here

I notice that your site is a big supporter of Robert’s Snow. I did three snowflakes for that cause and enjoyed every second. {Ed. Note: Here is Liz Burns’ feature on Bill for the 2007 Blogging for a Cure event. Click here to see his fabulous rabbit-warrior snowflake from that year.} I seem to be drawn to pro-bono things like Komen, the Arthritis Foundation, local theaters, etc. Not only good causes but a chance to fill the world with good visuals.

Obviously, I have trouble settling in to something, but that has been one advantage, and disadvantage, of teaching. I get to play a lot without worrying where the next paycheck will come from.


Red Rover
I Use a Straw

I love your site. Children’s book work is some of the best illustration being done today. And I believe that books will continue to be a great platform for writers and illustrators. Come and check out my blog for a weird and possibly wonderful view into me: billcarman.blogspot.com.

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And, in case you missed it up top, here are other spots in which to find Bill’s work:

22 comments to “Random Illustrator Feature: Bill Carman”

  1. Truly weird and wonderful. These illustrations are so intriguing – they draw you in to their fantastical world.

  2. WOW! That’s some spectacular work!!

  3. Whoa – I love, love, LOVE the Wednesday Addams type of chick, and the other beautifully surreal characters. Fun!

  4. This is really great stuff, really.

    In the mid-20th century, in Central Europe there was an explosion of short animated films. I’m thinking here not so much of the animated drawings, as of the surrealistic stop-motion films in which dolls (often assembled from parts of other dolls) moved freely about a landscape of gears and ratchets and such, and people were built of bits of cast-off clocks and tin toys. Bill Carman’s work reminds me so much of those films; these are like stills just on the brink of bursting into motion.

    If I had a nice tidy bundle of non-earmarked cash lying around, I’d very happily put a half-dozen or more of these on the walls of my house. So when guests say, “Whoa — who painted THAT?” I could smile a secret smile and tell them Yes, stupendous, isn’t it? without really answering the question.

    And as usual, Jules, your generous use of the little “hover-your-mouse here!” titles over the images adds quite a bit to the presentation! Did you make up your own titles or are they the titles of the works as Mr. Carman dubbed them?

    [I’ll pass over the obvious continuation of your rabbit-centric argument. Except to observe that that snowflake rabbit warrior’s armored helmet is drawn waaaaay out to a point in front, calling into question (in my mind) if those are really-real ears sticking out the top. I think they’re camouflage. I also noticed that the image of the wind-blown tortoise rider, the steed in question is inhaling cyclopean bunnies and spitting them back out, exhausted. Which reveals Mr. Carman’s true feelings about the supposed superiority of rabbits.]

  5. Boy, I hope he does take time to flesh out a picture book manuscripts. It looks like he has a lot of stories to tell.

  6. Love, love, love the art. Inspiring stuff.

  7. Wow, Thanks for all the kind words. I’m really glad that I’ve discovered this site. Where have I been? You know JES, it’s funny that you mention those animations. The animated sequences for Monty Python’s Flying Circus were one of my early influences. I remember trying to draw my own versions. And the rabbit thing is truly a love hate relationship. We’ve had several pet bunnies over the years. They always started out cute and great but then we would see the dark side. No one wants to see a bunny’s dark side. Reference above version of The Holy Grail. Thanks for enjoying my work all.

  8. Oh I love these illustrations. These do make me think of Monty Python. These make me want to write a picture book that would support this style of art.

  9. VERY cool. Eye-catching, to say the very least! I especially like the music box image and (naturally) the white rabbit. 🙂

  10. I really love the use of monocles in these works, and the plethora of eyepatches in the blogspot images. Really amazingly cool. I looked into buying a print, but they’re too rich for my blood.

    (My blood and also my pocketbook.)

  11. Dana, those prints are no longer available. Look for new print info on my blog coming up. There will be giclees and more affordable digital prints. I also wanted to thank 7 imps for this great feature.

  12. […] this feature I did on illustrator Bill Carman in April? Bill gave me his permission today to post his […]

  13. We,ve just purchased pig out and are in the process of having it framed.Spent hours looking into this print and keep finding something new.
    Kinda like understanding the origins of the universe.Many questions…..many answers
    We love it
    Steve and Shelly

  14. […] good, long while ago (I’m just impressively slow sometimes), illustrator Bill Carman made a lovely and smart suggestion to me: That illustrators stop by 7-Imp occasionally and share […]

  15. […] recommendation1. The art and story both stand out in this one and you’ll want to head over to this interview at Seven Impossible Things and to William Carman’s own plot of real estate on the web to see […]

  16. […] case-in-point? Illustrator (and designer and teacher) Bill Carman, who has visited 7-Imp several times and whom, I swear, I should bring on as a consultant or […]

  17. Wow, you’re soooo talented. Amazin artwork, truly spectacular.

  18. […] Artwork, illustrator (and designer and fine artist and teacher) Bill Carman—featured here at 7-Imp in 2009—tells me about a great list of artists for a great cause, Art Blocks for […]

  19. How nice are those Illustrator!Bill is so great,yeah,talented.

  20. Amazing ,awwesome , fine very fine ; in France ,it’s a great pleasure to see your creatures ; long life for you , Bill and thank’s

  21. Bill will be showing with us at Brumfield’s Gallery in Boise from 16th March 2013.

  22. […] G. Komen Foundation, Robert’s Snow Cure for Cancer, and The Arthritis FoundationBill CarmanworkBill CarmanI’m fortunate in being able to do two of my favorite things to make money: making images and […]

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