Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When did you decide to become a professional artist?

A. I've always wanted to be a professional artist as far back as I can remember. My father was a cartoonist for the Navy and also for the Los Angeles Fire Department. I used to stand by his drawing board and watch him draw. I was intrigued how he could start with a blank piece of paper and create drawings that gave enjoyment to other people. I wanted to do the same.

Q. What advice would you give to parents of an aspiring artist?
A. Encouragement and understanding are the most important things to give to a young artist. Artists in general are never quite satisfied with what they draw, and always feel that they should do better. Young artists get discouraged quite easily. When I was young, I was so dissatisfied with my work that I kept throwing my drawings away. It was my Mother who kept taking them back out of the trash, (and hanging them on the refrigerator). It's also important to have art materials available at home. Start simple, and then, if your child shows promise, you can buy more professional equipment.

Q. What advice do you have for artist who are in school?
A. This is a time for you to experiment with your art and have fun. Take art classes and ask your instructors how to get involved in school art projects, such as signs and banners; the school newspaper; the year book; painting sets for the drama department, etc. In this way, you get to practice your art work and become popular at the same time.

Q. What advice do you have for an artist who has decided to become a professional?

A. Patience...Try and find a job that is art related in some way. You may have to take outside, non-art related jobs at first, but try to work in your field, and keep looking. (Check with your school employment department; read the newspapers, and don't be afraid to make appointments with different companies (to show your portfolio). I would suggest never sending original art through the mail, use photographs, and keep a record of the art you do by photographing them with a Macro lens. And most important, buy a copy of an Art Law booklet from a large art store. It will answer your basic questions about copyrights, contracts, etc.

Q. How long does it take for you to complete an illustration?
A. It depends on the size, detail, and deadline of the drawing. The average illustration takes about 2 weeks to finish. There are illustrations that have taken up to three months to complete.

Q. Where do you get all your ideas?
A. For the most part, I try to draw subject matter that I'm familiar with already. I specialize in Sports illustrations and Pet illustrations because I've actively participated in sports, and have had a numerous array of pets throughout my life. When my ideas run dry, I look through books and magazines in hopes that something I see might spark an idea.

Q. Why do you think so many people enjoy and collect your work?
A. I try and create art work that people can relate to personally. I also try to produce art work with enough substance so that the art pieces become collectibles.

Q. Your drawings of Cats and Dogs capture their personalities. Do you have pets?
A. Yes, I'm presently owned by two cats. One named Bandit likes to walk in the rain on a leash and enjoys rinding in the car with his head out the window like a dog.

Q. Who is your favorite artist?
A. It would take a long list to name my favorite artists. The artist who influenced me most in my life is my father.

Q. There is a mouse in all your pictures. Is there a reason?
A. Yes, the name of the mouse is "Boo". I first met Boo on New Year's Eve in 1982. I was working late at my drawing board trying to finish another deadline. It was about 3 a.m. and I was feeling down-right lonely. Then a cute little mouse suddenly appeared out of no where. He was sitting on the ledge of my drawing board. He made me smile, and we became friends. Since that time, I've included him in hiding somewhere in all my drawings. Boo visited me every night for months, and we shared late-night snacks. Then he disappeared. I was afraid that something happened to him. About a week later, he appeared for the last time, as if to say good-bye. I think he met a girl friend and moved to a larger place to start a family.

Q. In some of your drawings there are names and initials hidden within the artwork. Why is this?
A. When I do a detailed illustration, I include the names or initials of my children. There are times when I include the initials of close friends or someone who inspired me to do that particular piece of artwork.

Q. Where is your studio located?
A. Our company is located in Malibu, California. Working and living right on the beach is quite an experience. It is a wonderful place to work, but it can be frightening as well. I'll never forget the time when a huge fire was coming down from the mountains and was almost on top of us. There were fire trucks and police cars everywhere, and my son, Sean, was on the roof trying to hose down the falling sparks. Meanwhile, I was still at my drawing board trying to concentrate on finishing up an art project that had to be sent out the next day. If you would like to snail mail me, please feel free.
The address is:
P.O.Box 806
Malibu, CA 90265

Q. What made you decide to draw humor?

A. Humor wasn't my first choice as an artist. For several years I concentrated on producing art work in the fine-arts area. I was fortunate enough to win several awards, but I wasn't happy. A close friend of mine suggested that I create a line of humorous sports prints. When I completed my first illustration, I showed it around for reaction. People seemed to relate to the art work and everybody smiled. From that time on I wanted to create art work that make people smile.

Q. I've seen your sports illustrations for years. What sports do you like to draw the best?
A. I like to draw all sports, but I probably do more golf illustrations than anything else. The reason isn't because of my golfing skills, but rather because my parents live on a golf course. As a kid I used to watch the golfer's play without them seeing me. I saw just about every frustration you can imagine. I also learned a lot of "colorful words"!

Q. In your more than 40 years as a professional illustrator, how many different illustrations have you actually completed?
A. I don't really know! Thousands.

Q. Do you sell your original art?
A. No, don't know why. Part of me just doesn't want to part with them, I guess, and also, we never know when we'll be able to use one of them again in a new format.

Q. Your checks are great. Where can I get them?
A. Personal checks and coordinating address labels are available through The Styles Company, a mail-order check and address label company. Look for circulars in your Sunday paper, visit the Styles Company Web site at ( or call (800) 356-0350 for more information.

Q. I have purchased your calendars and some greeting cards. I am interested in other products with your designs. Do you have a catalog?
A. No, although my art is featured on many different licensed consumer products produced by nearly 60 companies, there is no single source for all my products at this time.


Copyright 1999-2014. Gary Patterson. All Rights Reserved.