Jeff Himes graduated from the Ball State University School of Visual Communication in 2003 with a BFA in Design. In December 2011, he will have completed his MFA at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco School of Illustration with the intention of someday teaching sequential art to future generations of aspiring artists. Jeff has ten years of professional design and illustration experience, most recently making his official foray into comics. Jeff currently divides his time between his freelance print design and illustration studio and his duties as the creative director for Downtown Comics (an Indianapolis-based comic book store chain). Items of note are his fondness for cheap wind-up toys, well-crafted beer and a firm belief that the bookcase is the height of human furnishing. Jeff resides in Indianapolis, IN with his lovely wife, two beautiful daughters, a cat of tenuous allegiance and two dogs of questionable taste.
Did you choose art or did art choose you?
I discovered I had a natural talent for art at an early age. I also had an aunt and an uncle that were a designer and an architect,respectfully. I saw my first comic book in the second or third grade and I was hooked – the idea that you could ‘make art’ as a job was amazing to me. So, I guess at a that point I chose art.
When you're creating a piece, how do you know you're finished? Over time, do you find yourself wanting to add to a piece or change something?
I forget who said it but, someone far more famous and successful than me once said that ‘great art is never finished, it isabandonded.’ For me, I think a piece is finished when the client and I are both happy with it. I also think you can reach a point where you’re not really adding anything new to it, you’re just fussing with minor details. That said, I am constantly updating and revising a piece right up until the deadline because I’m always finding something that needs a little more love or something that catches my eye that no one else noticed. I think most artists are like that.
What's your favorite compliment someone has given you about a piece you created?
I think the best compliment I have or could receive is that the finished art exceeds the client’s expectations. I had a client tell me recently that the finished piece was exactly what they envisioned and that was very gratifying considering my job as a freelance illustrator is to interpret someone else’s idea.
Any harsh criticisms?
I can’t recall having ever gotten a harsh criticism of my work. Most of what I get from myclients is pretty constructive. I spend a lot of time in the preliminary sketch stage so that any bad ideas can be worked out early on and omitted from thefinal comprehensive.
How do you usually respond?
With any criticism you have to be able to take your artist hat off for a moment and try to view the project from the client’s point of view. Always remember that any feedback you get is not personal and that you are both on the same side with the same goal – to produce the best piece of art you can. That said, sometimes I fall in love with an idea or piece and have to remind myself that its not about me.”
Where do you get most of your inspiration? Another artist, tv, friends, family, surroundings?
I think most of my inspiration comes from comic books, toys and movies. I also get a lot of good ideas talking things out with my wife and friends. I am heavily influenced by the story telling structure of comics and film. Some of my favorites are artists Mike Mignola, Walt Simonson and Wally Wood. I also like the films of Quentin Tarantino, Danny Boyle and the Coen Brothers. No Country For Old Men and Sunshine have had a huge influence on my more recent projects.