LanceBase Interview with Zach Henson | Graphic Artist

LanceBase

Staff
Elite Member
Senior Member
Contributing Member
Registered Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Posts
370
Likes
142
#1
Zach Henson - Owner, Zach Henson Cartoons and Design
LanceBase Profile: @zachhenson


Zach-Henson-LanceBase-Interview.jpg


Zach Henson is an Artist currently residing in the Pacific Northwest, who went to school to be an animator and ended up with a degree in Computer-aided Design. Zach has designed holograms and animated bonus games for video slot machines, and had art re-tweeted by Elvira ; among other things. He works both digitally and traditionally, with a Wacom and Kyle Brushes in Photoshop, and either acrylic on canvas doing random color theory pieces or more typically drawing with a pen brush and adding dimension or color with copics.

What inspired you to pursue a career in freelance Graphic Design?
All I've ever done was art. I didn't have much of another choice.

How long did it take for you to reach profitability? How did you live through those first few months/years?
Hard to say. I've landed a few years-long career type jobs and I've also supplemented my income working in the glamorous food service industry. During those no art-job times I had to work pretty hard emotionally not to feel like it would always be that way. I had to reassure myself that I'm talented and I just had to end up in front of the right set of eyes.

How do you define success?
I get questions like this or "where do you see yourself in five years" style questions a lot for job interviews. My canned answer is this: Anything reaching beyond "using my creative skills and paying my bills" is being greedy.

How do you structure your days?
I'm currently working a more traditional, on site job with a gaming company in downtown Seattle. I have a forty-minute bus ride in that allows me to catch up on some comic reading or fill in empty pages in a sketch book. Having that time to sketch, if the bus wasn't too crowded, was what allowed me to get through inktober. I get in, do some gaming stuff, design pop ups, concept art… My lunch break usually consists of sketching or designing shirts for a small apparel company that I perpetually freelance for. Back to game stuff, a ride home and maybe more shirts, more sketching. Diner, a movie, Instagram and bed.

What tools/software do you find indispensable for accomplishing daily tasks?
I wish I could say things like "a drafting desk, a series of expensive pens and inks…" But a Wacom and Photoshop pretty much take care of that. Those paired with the Kyle Brushes. Those things really cure a lot of creative headaches.

Are you currently offering, or have you in the past offered your services on any of the Freelance Platforms/Marketplaces? (Fiverr, Upwork, Envato, etc.)
I have. I think I still have a Fiverr account. It just collects dust. I get a lot of personal requests via my site, most of the traffic from there comes from my Instagram. I committed to pushing hard there. Posting drawings and art all the time, participating in user submitted galleries, liking other artists work, doing personal art challenges.

How do you go about promoting your services? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
I keep up on Twitter and Facebook but aggressively and consistently putting my work on Instagram has paid off the most for me. I also feel like a jackass but I reply to a lot of follows with a “thanks for the follow, need any art? My work can be seen at zachhenson.com.” message.

Please tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
It's small, but I recently had a Mothra screen print for sale at the Guzu Gallery in Austin Texas. It sold out. That was a pretty great feeling.

Have you ever turned down a client?
Sort of. I've missed out on what turned out to be legitimate work just because it didn't appear legitimate. I've been ripped off a lot so when an initial message doesn't appear professional I tend to not take it seriously.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I'd drink a lot less and I'd take my work more seriously. I'm better the more I work. I used to think my talent was a constant, a given. Over the years I've learned that's incredibly ignorant. The more I work the better my work gets. And don't shy away from stock photos or photo references. As long as everything is legal and not stolen, do that work, who cares if you took a picture for lighting reference.

What is your best advice for handling criticism?
I have zero ego about my work. If someone says something I did sucks and they're paying the bills they're probably right. Listen to their critiques and make it better. Art's not magic. Everything is better the second time. And if they're not paying the bills? ***k em.

Which blogs/websites do you frequent?
I follow a lot of artists on Instagram and Twitter. Chris Samnee is a fantastic illustrator whose work is so effortless in its story telling its worth a follow. I follow Poster Spy, a collective of fan made movie posters. Kevin Corrbitt’s Lifeform is a good follow for follower submitted gnarly punk cartoons. James White’s SignalNoise is a good follow for inspiring color use. Kevin Wada Kevin Wada Kevin Wada. And Jock, follow Jock.

If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
I met George Carlin when I was a little kid. He said I seemed like a “funny little guy.” I'm not sure Bill Watterson would top that but it might.

What is your favorite song?
Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison.

What does the future hold for Zach Henson?
Hopefully I can crack the code to being a sponsored Instagramer while still just posting my dumb drawings.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'm not 100% sure who the audience is… But SIT UP! I've spent my whole career hunched over a desk and Man oh man does that take a toll on a person.

Connect with Zach Henson:
Website: http://www.zachhenson.com/
Instagram: @zigglesbarlow