Interview – Cory Godbey, Artist

This week’s Dabbled interview is with the very talented Cory Godbey. Cory is an illustrator & author, and is part of Portland Studios. He just released “Ticket”, a story in pictures. Without further ado…

1. Let’s get the standard stuff out of the way first… In three sentences or less.. who are you, what do you do, how long have you been doing it, and do you do it full time?

I’m Cory. I draw things, I’ve been doing it for a while, and it do it all the time.

2. So, Portland Studios.. your profile says you’re in South Carolina! Are y’all just trying to sound like you’re from Oregon!? Seriously, as a fellow southerner, what are your thoughts on being an artist in the South?

Portland was a place where we wanted to end up and somehow the name was supposed to help get us there. Fortunately, we got hung up on making things and doing the work rather than the name and after a while we never bothered to change it. As far as living the South, I deal just fine with humidity and the cost of living is unbeatable. We have some local clients but mostly our clients are scattered from NYC to LA so our region doesn’t really come into play all that much.

3. The quick personal question.. you married? have kids? if so, how does that effect your creative time?

Married with three cats. And a white couch in my office at home. The cats like to scratch it (and since it’s the only thing they go for we gave it up a long time ago) and my wife Erin will read or something if I’m working in the evenings.

4. I have no idea how (you know how it is with the internet!), but i first started following you when you started ‘The Photoshop Experiment‘ blog. Honestly, as an artist who was not really versed in PS as the time, it was a great help in honing my own techniques! What made you decide to share your Photoshop techniques with the world?

I’m glad the The Photoshop Experiment was helpful! I even named it “Experiment” because it was an experiment for me to see if people even cared about how I get from point A to point B. It’s always helpful for me to see how another artist works. I got a crash-course lesson in Photoshop once and spent the next few weeks struggling to make anything look even remotely passable. I wanted to put something out there, sort of a catalogue of studies to give anyone who wanted a boost in Photoshop. It can be beyond frustrating learning it.

5. Your latest project is Ticket. I understand this is a labor of love, tell us a little about it! It looks way cool, though i admit I haven’t ordered it yet :) (ed-I ordered it! )

Well you better get on that, there are a few left! This post here : : contains a lot of pictures of what I’ll mention here about Ticket. I spent about 3 months worth of evenings, nights, and early mornings preparing the book. Work during the day was too full to hold anything else so when I came home I then worked on Ticket. The company gave me a chance to make something so I spent a lot of time thinking and making storyboards and thumbnails. I made a list of everything I like to draw and decided to sort of weave a loose story through them. I made a small book for my wife when we were dating called “Curious Events.” Curious Events (yet unreleased) has since developed into a little library of four distinct, interweaving stories. I think of Ticket as almost a “postlude” to Curious Events. You don’t have to have seen Curious Events to appreciate Ticket though, more or less, Ticket reprises most everything I love about these four little unreleased books.

6. Do you consider yourself a writer as well as an illustrator? What challenges did you face trying to do write the story? You did Ticket more independently, will you try to sell that to one of the ‘big’ publishers?

I love to write. My hero is Maurice Sendak. To make “story” and “pictures” that what I want. Really, what I’m most interested in is telling stories. With Ticket I knew that this would be “a story in pictures.” Part of the joy of that comes in finding what other people bring to the pictures or imagine the story to be. The original version of the “Curious Events” book I mentioned earlier had no climax, nothing happening exactly, just a collection of pictures that were (hopefully) interesting to look at. With Ticket I really wanted to make a rise and fall in the narrative — a definite climax and dénouement. As far as selling it to a big publisher, I don’t know. One of the reasons we are interested in self-publishing is that the artist is able to control ever step of the project. We have really been overwhelmed with the response Ticket has brought.

7. You just went to ComicCon in SanDiego… was that purely a work thing for Portland Studios? Do you go to other Cons? I’m sure it was a blast, but did you find it professionally rewarding as well?

It was work; we had a booth, we sold a lot of stuff, and met a ton of really awesome people. What I got out of it professionally, you could say, was sneaking away from the booth long enough to see the drawing and painting demonstrations by the likes of Jon Foster, Donato Giancola, and Gregory Manchess. Those demos were eye-opening. Also getting to chat with the guys at Flight and Imaginism was fantastic as well.

8. What advice would you give an artist just starting out?

Draw. All the time. And learn how to draw the human figure.

Check out (and buy!) Cory’s stuff here! is where you can find all of our products, including Ticket. A Big Thanks to Cory for taking the time to talk to us and share his art and vision!

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