Getting to Know You: Artist Kate Gabrielle

Last week I stumbled upon quite a treat: artist Kate Gabrielle and her three very distinct etsy shops. I immediately fell in love with flapperdoodle, her collection of sketches of two lovely ladies (and a few friends) from the twenties who love to eat ice cream, dance the Charleston, and play hopscotch. I emailed Kate and crossed my fingers, and lo and behold, she agreed to answer some of my nosy questions! I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do! Eloise and Ramona prepare for a night on the town

1. Eloise and Ramona: Where did you get the idea for these two characters? Are they based on anyone? Do they definitely have distinct personalities?

Ever since I started trying to be an artist professionally in 2004, I've been struggling to find my own style. After a lot of trial and error, doodling, and encouragement from my friends on flickr & my blog I finally developed Eloise and Ramona! The drawings are inspired by my love of the 1920's and my silly Peter Pan like desire to always be a kid. These two things combined to form tall skinny flappers all dressed up in fringe dresses and heels whilst playing hopscotch or jump rope!

Even though I draw them exactly the same, Eloise and Ramona do have distinct personalities. If you look at the hula hoop drawing, the skating drawing & the pancake drawing, you'll see that Eloise seems to be more of the stooge. She can't hula hoop, can't roller skate and unfortunately finds herself covered in pancake batter when Ramona attempts to make breakfast!

2. One of my favorite things about your drawings are the names and activities the girls are doing. Do you start with an idea of an activity or does the sketch come first? ie: what is your process like?

The activity always comes first. Sometimes I just fall asleep thinking about my favorite activities when I was a little girl, hoping to find a new fun thing for the girls to do in my next drawing! When I came up with the hula hoop idea, I was in the middle of dying my hair and actually ran back to my room to grab my pen & paper so I could draw it while my hair was cooking, I was so eager to execute the idea! (unfortunately, I paid a price for this impulse.. bobby-pinning my hair back so I could draw resulted in striped bangs!)

My process is pretty simple, actually. I start with the idea, and do a basic stick figure sketch on scrap paper first. Then I draw the final sketch in pencil and go over it in black marker. The last step is adding any color I need in marker or crayon. Though lately I've been trying to make the leap into gouache and watercolor.

Eloise and Ramona play badminton

3. How long does one drawing take?

If I'm not making any errors, about 30 minutes... but sometimes I do the whole thing, and then mess up on one eye and have to start from scratch :)

4. Flapperdoodle is highly stylized. Do you take inspiration for this "look" from anywhere in particular?

My drawings are definitely more cartoonish than the people I'm inspired by, but I love the work of Edward Gorey & Erte.

5. You have several other shops with other styles of drawings. Can you explain the distinctions?

My kategabrielle.etsy.com shop is for my funny artwork [Editor's Note: My boyfriend chuckled for like 30 minutes while looking through these]. I've been doing this since 2005, and it's what people expect to see at my outdoor art shows, the main focus of my actual website kategabrielle.com, and the subject of my art mailing list. Only since January have I started branching out to do other art...

From kategabrielle

My other shop is silentsandtalkies.etsy.com. This is for my classic film art. I am a HUGE classic film buff (see my blog silentsandtalkies.blogspot.com!) and I decided to use art to pay tribute to my favorite films stars from the 1920's through the 1960's.

Veronica Lake from silentsandtalkies

6. Where do you do your work?

In my bedroom! I'm actually in the process of re-doing the room because right now it is primarily a bedroom and I've been working so much lately that now I need it to be a studio first and bedroom second.

7. Is art your full-time job, or do you also have a 9-5?

I'm a very lucky ducky... I wanted to be an artist ever since I was about three years old, and my mom always said I could live at home as long as I wanted. A lot of moms say that and don't actually mean it, but mine did. She and my dad let me live at home and work on my art full time! I might be a little biased, but I really think I have the most awesome parents on the planet.

8. Any words of encouragement for artists wanting to sell their work too?

Go for it! There is nothing more satisfying than creating artwork, and selling it. I suggest starting an etsy store, because it is a lot easier to get traffic there than if you had your own domain name. Also, uploading your artwork on flickr and starting a blog have helped me a lot. I love getting feedback on flickr, and support from fellow artists. But always remember- even if you don't have sales right away, keep creating!

9. Which is your fave flapperdoodle picture?

Hmm... I'm partial to three of them: Eloise and Ramona ride their two seated bicycle, Unlike Eloise Ramona has mastered the hula hoop, and Eloise and Ramona vamp it up for the cameras.

Eloise and Ramona ride their two-seated bicycle

10. Where are you located? Do you ship everywhere?

New Jersey, and I ship absolutely everywhere! Even Mars, believe it or not!

Thanks Kate! Readers, shop for flapperdoodles here. Many sizes available (and pocket mirrors! I die).