Lunch Note Sketch

Monday Motivation with Charlie May

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Today's motivation comes to you from Charlie May, a father sharing his love of drawing, cartoons and comics with his son. Charlie is a talented artist creating art on a variety of media, including lunch bags for his son. You can find more of Charlie's work on Instagram, as well as his website and at DeviantArt.

Tell me a little bit about your background... Who you are; what made you interested in art?

I have always been interested in drawing, even before school (my sister used to draw oil pastels of Winnie the Pooh for me). I always drew for fun. I was drawing crude trucks in 2nd grade, then moved to designing airplanes. It wasn't until 8th grade that I became interested in art. I had a good art teacher that pushed us to try different types of projects. One was a colored pencil drawing of a cougar; that was a lightbulb moment when I finished it. She showed and taught me different methods and types of art. She got me into stippling with pen and ink. I received several awards in school for art projects that I did, but didn't follow it until much later. I wanted to work on planes so I went into the military, only to find out I'm legally color blind and therefore couldn't work on planes. But I did use my G.I. Money for community college and got a Associates Degree in Fine Arts, while also working full time. After I finished school I tried web cartooning for 2 years, then only a few projects here and there until my son went to school. I was working a third shift job and would get up early on the weekends and I saw some people online who did lunchbag art, so I gave it a try. That was two and half years ago.

Hulk mural. Son for scale.

Hulk mural. Son for scale.

Who are your current art inspirations and how do they affect your artistic process?

Cartoon artwork is my greatest inspiration. Scottie Young, Jim Lee, Kids Next Door, Pop! figures, vinyls toys, Pinterest and Instagram posts from artists, and George Coghill.

Why do you prefer to work on lunch bags?

It is quick and to the point. I found I'm better if I have a deadline. It forces me to do something instead of waiting to get the perfect drawing or painting done. It also lets me try different styles and mediums. It keeps my drawing muscles working.

What are your thoughts on the art community in your area?

I'm an introvert so I don't do much outside the house. I’m now starting to look for things in the area, but I seem to find out about things a little too late. Not many of my friends are into art, so I'm bit of a loner for the area.

How has your family changed your life, both personally/professionally and as an artist?

I'd love to say they made me more mature, but that might be a lie. I have always loved cartoons and comics. I always used to go through the toy section of stores and especially loved going to Toys R Us, even as an adult. So I find it helps to relate to children. Professionally I've switched from more lifelike painting/drawing to a more cartoony and loose style; I went from trying to be super detailed to more cartoon-like, which I think suits the drawing style that I like.

How have they been involved in your art?

They give me ideas. We are a bit of a geeky family, so a lot of comic book, video/board games, and movie references. Star Wars, Marvel, YouTube, and Horror are most common. My wife corrects my spelling and grammar, and they both critique my artwork and jokes. This past year has been more expanding to older cartoons, and I've been getting more into folklore and monsters.

How has your background as an artist affected your son? Do you think having an artist dad helps inspire his creativity?

I've asked him this question and he said yes. There is always art material around this house, from paper to crayons, color pencils to markers. He has his eyes set on my Copic markers. I remember using whatever I had available, so if you want to draw you'll use what you have. He has some characters that he’s created. He's now making videos telling stories with his vast stuffed animal collection.

I would like to thank Charlie for taking the time to participate in this interview. More importantly, I would like to thank him for using his artistic abilities to make a difference in his son's life. Don't forget to show Charlie some love on Instagram, his website, or at DeviantArt.

Is there a parent who is an artist you know who could provide us some Monday motivation? If so, please send their name and a link to their work (or social media account) to LunchNoteSketch@gmail.com, or tag them in any Monday motivation post on any of the Lunch Note Sketch social media pages. I would love to feature him/her.