Interview with Dana Atnip, Illustrator
Interview with Dana Atnip, Illustrator
Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Dana Atnip , an illustrator living in Michigan. Dana Atnip illustrates dogs and other animals. Some of her work is displayed below and you can visit her website and blog to view more of Dana’s work. Dana also is heavily involved with dog rescue as she also works at the Michigan Humane Society.
KATHERINE CARVER: What were your beginnings as an artist and when did you realize it would become your chosen form of expression?
DANA ATNIP: For me, it’s always been art. I started drawing in nursery school and never stopped!
KATHERINE CARVER: Did you study art formally?
DANA ATNIP: A little bit is genes (I come from a family of artists) and a lot of it was self-taught; drawing and practicing every day! I did attend Macomb Community College for my two degrees in art. Although it’s a community college that have an amazing art program with very talented professors.
KATHERINE CARVER: How do you describe your style?
DANA ATNIP: While I hesitate to say it’s a “Disney” style, Disney was one of my largest influences. I spent a lot of time growing up drawing my favorite Disney characters as well as comic strip characters such as Garfield, Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes, and Bloom County.
KATHERINE CARVER: What was the impetus that inspired you to begin illustrating dogs and other animals?
DANA ATNIP: I always leaned towards animals in my drawings. For me, drawing the human figure was always a tough challenge. To this day I still feel I struggle when drawing humans, but I still attempt it.
KATHERINE CARVER: How have your own dogs influenced your artwork?
DANA ATNIP: Oddly enough I didn’t spend a lot of time drawing my own pets, although my first cat, Boo-Boo, did make it into a comic strip that I had created in the 90’s. However my female Rottweiler, Thorn, I just used as a model in a greeting card I illustrated.
KATHERINE CARVER: What does “being creative” mean to you?
DANA ATNIP: I think that everyone is creative in their own right. I have heard people say that they are “terrible artists” and then see them create amazing work. Everyone is an artist by birthright; it’s in our genes. Even our earliest ancestors painted on cave walls!
KATHERINE CARVER: What is the most challenging aspect of being an artist?
DANA ATNIP: Having the time, lol. I work full-time (not as an artist) so drawing is a luxury for me right now. Some days I just don’t have the energy.
KATHERINE CARVER: What inspires you to keep going and what keeps you motivated?
DANA ATNIP: The love of creating keeps me motivated. I feel so alive when I’m drawing or painting. I couldn’t give up if I wanted to!
KATHERINE CARVER: What is the most rewarding and satisfying part about being an artist and creating art?
DANA ATNIP: Anytime that I can make someone smile or laugh I feel is the best accomplishment. If my work can brighten someone’s day or make them feel good, then I feel that my work is done.
KATHERINE CARVER: Looking back on your accomplishments, to date, what are you the most proud of?
Anytime that I can make someone smile or laugh I feel is the best accomplishment. If my work can brighten someone’s day or make them feel good, then I feel that my work is done.
KATHERINE CARVER: What are you working on now?
DANA ATNIP: There are several projects that I’m working on now. I have a few children’s picture book manuscripts that I’ve written that I would like to submit to agents once I have some finished artwork to send along. I also have several greeting cards that I would like to submit for consideration.
KATHERINE CARVER: What artists inspire your work?
DANA ATNIP: There have been so many over the years! I mentioned Disney earlier. Carl Barks was a cartoonist who worked for Disney and wrote and drew the Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comics for 25 years was one of the most talented cartoonists to date. Jim Davis, Berkeley Breathed, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, Charles Schultz, Tim Burton, Sandra Boynton, Chuck Jones, Don Bluth…my favorite artists are all cartoonists.
KATHERINE CARVER: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
DANA ATNIP: Draw everyday. Nothing will make you improve faster than the physical act of actual drawing or painting – even if it’s just sketching. And if you want to draw digitally, you still first need to know how to draw on paper with a pencil.
KATHERINE CARVER: How can people view your art works?
DANA ATNIP: My latest work can be found on my website at www.danaatnip.com.
KATHERINE CARVER: In addition to making art, how did your adventure in animal rescue begin?
DANA ATNIP: I have always loved animals. Even as a child I could relate to animals better than people, lol. Animal welfare has been improving all over the world in the last few decades thankfully. I am happy to help animals in any way that I can. I started volunteering for the Michigan Humane Society right out of high school, and that later turned into a – job.
KATHERINE CARVER: If you could give pet owners’ one piece of advice, what would it be?
DANA ATNIP: Spay and neuter your pets, and look to rescues and shelters to adopt (sorry, that’s two!) There are so many amazing homeless animals that are waiting in shelters right now for you to come and adopt them. As an adult I have adopted all of my pets from the Michigan Humane Society: 2 dogs, two cats, a fish, a canary, and countless rats (rats need better PR, they are AMAZING critters!) I have also fostered probably a hundred or more animals over the years. I have many friends and family that have adopted my foster animals, or I have paired them up with others.
KATHERINE CARVER: What advice can you give to someone who might be considering getting involved with an animal shelter?
DANA ATNIP: I can’t think of any shelter that doesn’t need help somehow. Volunteers are a vital part of any shelter. Some people walk dogs, some brush cats, others may clean cages, do laundry and dishes; others help with adoptions or fundraising. And any shelter always needs foster homes to help care for sick or injured animals. Wherever you live, there is probably a shelter nearby. Check the internet for a shelter near you!
All images are courtesy of Dana Atnip.
You can read additional interviews here.