1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hello hello– I’m Danie Drankwalter! I’m an illustrator and designer living in Brooklyn, NY with some cats and a garden. The designer part of my”professional title” kind of strangely fell into my lap one day about 3 years ago, during which time I’ve learned so much and grown a lot from my flash exposure to design & think it’s really influenced my illustration practice.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I would describe my aesthetic as folksy meets modern? I feel like it’s ever-changing and I’m constantly learning and evolving stylistically. A few steadfast elements I love to incorporate are the colors teal & salmon pink and also trying to get a dog in every drawing– and lots of lines!
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I love gouache though it’s a medium I rarely get to use anymore which is super unfortunate! I love how you can create such a beautiful, flat & matte surface and layer patterns on top, yet also have the freedom to create washes and textural elements. Gouache, I miss you!
4. What is your artistic process like?
My process for freelance work right now is almost entirely digital in an effort to save time. I typically work in Photoshop but I just got an iPad Pro and it’s changing the way I work so much (for the better!). It’s great that now I can get a lot of work done in bed! Anyway, I will typically start with pencil thumbnails that are very very rough just to figure out composition. I’ll then redraw that in Photoshop or Procreate, add a bit more detail and a very basic flat color layer that kind of acts as a map and helps set the mood of the piece. From there I’ll add much more detail, usually redraw my lines much more cleanly and/or in a different color and go from there!
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
So many silly things inspire my work! I love seeing patterns in the wild and constantly try (and fail) to recreate them. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is filled with so many amazing plants that I forever want to draw but I never do them justice. Browsing the work of my illustration peers is also a really inspiring thing! There are so many amazing folks making such great work and it pushes me to try to make every piece better than the last. I’m also strangely inspired by dark subjects, notably natural disasters, climate change and general doom– though it’s more of an I Want To Draw This Awful Thing So People Think About It kind of inspired. Obviously, Art History is very inspiring so I love to take sneaky photos (don’t tell on me!!) at the museum to use as a reference in the future (no flash I promise!).
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
It’s crazy because I really never think about how much of a role art plays in my life, though now that’s I’m thinking about it’s super important and prevalent! I mean I spend most of my days making it and thinking about it so I guess it’s pretty damn engrained in my day-to-day. At this point, I cannot imagine living life without some artistic driving force whatsoever!
7. Where did you study?
I studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD as an illustration student. During my time at MICA, I was able to really foster new ideas and cycle through different styles. It was a great time for experimentation though when I look back at the work I made during college it’s definitely cringe-worthy but was an essential stepping stone to get to where I’m at now.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Wow, I’m not sure where I see myself in five years! I would love to be able to do illustration full time at that point and maybe work in-house somewhere a few days a week! If I don’t have a dog in five years I will weep!
9. What about in ten?
AH, ten years is so far away! I’d love to steer my career towards teaching illustration at the college level as a side-gig. I’d love to have two dogs by this point!!!!
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I’d love for my work to help people learn more about themselves and the world around them! I always try when possible to inject multiple viewpoints in my work and attempt to portray people from multiple backgrounds to make pieces relatable to everyone. I think the ultimate goal an illustrator could have is for their work to help people understand and digest content and take something away from it, so if I could accomplish that I will be a happy lady!
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I love artichokes and fried brussels sprouts! Probably my two favorites!!
12. Favourite book?
Hm! I don’t know if I have a truly favorite book! I love The Hobbit and right now I’m reading A Handmaid’s Tale which I am enjoying a whole lot!
13. Favourite genre of music?
I’m very into lo-fi feminist punk but also pop punk holds a strange silly place in my heart.
14. What are your hobbies?
Hobbies! I love working in my garden, growing food, hiking, biking & I’m trying to learn how to tattoo which is definitely a Journey. I’ve also been learning to reverse glass paint which is super hard!
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Hm!! I think if I weren’t an artist I’d be either a social worker or work with animals. I’m not sure if I have a strong enough stomach for veterinary work but maybe working at a shelter or on a farm, rolling around in the dirt and hanging with some goats.