Scott Bakal: The Man Behind the Brush
posted: November 14, 2006
Scott Bakal in front of the Society of Illustrators...
Over lunch at the Society of Illustrators, Scott Bakal, 35, talked about where he started and where he wants to go next.

"I can’t think how far back it was that I first started drawing, but I do have drawings that my mother saved from as early as second grade, when I was flipping through children’s books and looking at the pictures and drawing them. I had kind of a solitary life, I guess, in Connecticut; there weren’t many kids on the block.  I had a brother and sister but they were younger than me and I would just kind of do my own thing and my mom would bring home computer paper from her job as a data processor. I still have a lot of those drawings.

"No one in my family was an artist. In fact, I'm the only one who has a college degree. About being an artist, my dad used to say,“Why don’t you be a bus driver!" because that's what he did. And my mom, she just kind of let me go through the motions.

"I love to create -- and not just pictures; I also love music. I love creating and writing music; I was in bands and things like that. I guess I fell into editorial illustration because I really love trying to figure out a visual for an idea. And for my own personal work, I try to look into the human condition, the human psychology; I'm really interested in what makes people tick, and trying to show that, visually, either in a literal sense or more abstractly by the use of color.

"What I want to do next is portraiture. I like the stylized way I handle figures but I look at a Coby Whitmore and other classic illustrators, and I see how they're drawing from life and I find myself being drawn to maybe drawing a little bit more realistically but using the paint in the same way I do now and seeing how that works. Because I have a very stylized way of drawing, and I've been  questioning whether I'm getting sick of that or not, wondering if that is actually hindering the quality of the work that I'm doing. You know, looking at one of my paintings, I might think, how would that look if that woman was drawn a little more realistically. Would it be more powerful? Would it look a little more interesting?  Would I be able to convey a message with a little bit more? You know, if it's a cartoon character, people don’t fully identify with it, but if they see a more realistic figure that looks more human, will they identify with it more? Will they be drawn to it a little bit more? It's just something to think about and something I'd like to experiment with.