I’m excited to spotlight one of my favorite illustrators, Tara Larsen Chang. Tara is a skilled artist in the genres of fantasy, fairy tales, and children’s picture books.
Tara, like many artists, drew and created art from her earliest childhood. She met her husband at BYU as a college student. He was enrolled in the photography program as part of the commercial art department and he introduced her to the idea of majoring in commercial art. A demanding five year program, BYU provides a great foundation for professional illustrators. Tara graduated with a BFA in Design with an emphasis in Illustration.
Tara and I have a lot in common. Both of us loved the artwork of children’s award winning artist Trina Schart Hyman (who was herself greatly influenced by English turn of the century illustrator, Arthur Rackham). A prolific illustrator of over 150 books, her artwork was graceful, charming and infused with delightful details.
Today, Tara’s beautiful work carries on their visual traditions and is influenced by the archetypes in fairy tales and myths, Celtic iconology and traditions, and the natural world.
Favored interests in gardening, botanical herbals and their medicinal uses and fairy tales blend into unique art.
Today, her work is infused with delicacy, charm and sensitivity. Favored interests in gardening, botanical herbals and their medicinal uses and fairy tales blend into unique art.
Methods of Working
Tara begins her work with thumbnails and sketches for dynamic composition. Once she has a firm detailed sketch on vellum, she will scan it into Photoshop and make adjustments, color studies, and other revisions. A perfectly cleaned up drawing will then be printed out on watercolor paper and painted by hand primarily using watercolor paints.
She often uses a variety of mediums to get the final results she wants: including colored pencils, metallic paints, pressed flowers, cut paper and collage among others.
Illustration Workshop Creator
Along with a 30 year career as a published illustrator with over 30 books published, Tara’s proudest achievement so far was the creation of TLC Workshops. Through her many connections with top tier illustrators throughout the world, Tara created and hosted workshops for professional illustrators and students helping them take their work to the next level of proficiency.
Some of the most well known and talented award winning working illustrators today were guest teachers in her classroom and taught dozens of developing professionals the finer points of dynamic and stellar illustration creating.
Working and Teaching
Today Tara continues her illustration work and teaching with online classes and workshops, working mainly with experienced and professional level artists.
Her favorite students are experienced artists seeking to move their skills and art to a higher level for their portfolio.
Advice for Students and Artists
Her advice for want-to-be artists and illustrators is to pursue what you are passionate about. In the hyper competitive world of professional illustration, following your passion is necessary for long term survival and happiness. Making a living in illustration is difficult and often not financially rewarding. She advises against trying to force yourself into a market that you have no interest in.
Today you can find her work, her on-demand classes, classes and mentorships on her website www.taralarsenchang.com and follow her on Instagram at @taralarsenchang.
We can look forward to seeing her published art in a variety of publications and books! I vote for a book filled with her garden journal illustrations!