College for Creative Studies: Illustration
Comic artist Katie Cook has never strayed from her unique approach to design, even when others failed to take her seriously. Her determination has resulted in projects for “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Lord of the Rings,” “X Men,” “HEROES,” DC and Marvel comics and trading cards.
In fact, she’s had to take a temporary leave from her commission projects due to an excessive volume in her professional queue.
“I consider myself an illustrator/comic artist... that's available for hire!” said Cook. “I mostly work in comics now, with the occasional illustration/graphic design job thrown in. I've worked in a lot of different styles to fit the client, so I think that being recognized (and the hired) based on my own personal style is my greatest accomplishment.”
Cook describes her work as whimsical, fun and original.
“My greatest compliment is when someone looks at my work and not only says how much fun it is but that they haven't seen anything quite like it before,” Cook said. “While I was at CCS, I came across other students who wanted to draw comics. Some of them thought my work was a joke because I didn't want to draw like Jim Lee. Because of those people, I had something that I felt I needed to prove. It was actually the negative attention that really pushed me to solidify my own cartooning style and push myself to create something special.”
Recently Cook’s illustrations appeared on the covers of a line of comic-lined Strathmore paper and she was hired to work on the Star Wars the Clone Wars webcomic for www.starwars.com and Fantastic Four trading card set. She is scheduled to appear at several 2009 conventions including Motor City Comic Con, Wizard World Chicago, San Diego Comic Con, CGS Super Show, WonderCon and Windy City Comicon.
“I’m working on a creator-owned comic that I'm very excited about,” announced Cook. “I can't reveal too much about it yet, but I'm writing and drawing it. I’d like to have it out within the year, after I’ve completed the first few issues. Several publishers have expressed their interest already. Check katiecandraw.com for more details in the future… I've also started to put together a few pitches for a cartoon series that, when I have the time, I'd like to focus on.”
While working toward her BFA degree at CCS, Cook learned about theory, different forms of illustration and the importance of networking. She had the opportunity to meet and study under successful professionals in the field. “Star Wars” artist Chris Trevas (’96), also a CCS alumnus, spoke about his experiences in the illustration industry during one of her classes.
“Listening to Chris’ presentation gave me a sense of, ‘hey, I can do that! I love Star Wars,’” said Cook. “Then it made me realize that I wanted to do it. Now I am!"
CCS also taught Cook how to work as a professional.
“My instructors taught me how to work on a deadline. Getting your school projects done on time is just like meeting your real-life deadlines, only now you have the delight of a paycheck to reward you instead of a grade."
“Another reward of this career is getting to draw every day. Even as a child, I knew I wanted to grow up to be an artist."