Our member of the week is Kari Christensen. Kari is a freelance illustrator, working mostly for gaming companies. Kari specializes in fantasy, horror, and science fiction drawing for trading card and tabletop game companies. You can check out Kari’s website to see examples of his drawings. Although most of his work is of scary creatures, Kari says he does find time to draw “something happy.â€? Check out the interview below and his profile on our yellow pages to learn more about Kari and his experiences as a freelance illustrator.

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1. What has been your most interesting project?

Highlights have been working for Wizards of the Coast and Games Workshop. I’ve admired the artists hired by these companies ever since I could hold a pencil. Today I’m working on a Halloween creature design for Morbid Industries. Tomorrow, I’m working on a series for a gallery. The important thing is to make sure there is always something interesting coming up.

2. Why did you decide to go freelance?

It seemed like a necessity. I worked in house for game developers for five years and felt like I had hit a wall. I realized that if I wanted to develop my style and have control over my career, then I was going to need to freelance full time and drop my dependable job. Plus, freelance work was more versatile and fun than working for years on the same project at the same company.

3. What tip would you give to a new freelancer or someone who is considering going freelance?

The cool thing about freelancing as an illustrator is that you can start right away. You can develop a business plan. You can develop your craft, give yourself practice jobs, research the market, and get feedback on your work. Of course it’s going to take time and persistence to get those clients. But the sooner you get serious about taking your art and business to a professional level, the quicker you’ll get those professional jobs.

4. What is your favorite spot in the city in which you live?

It’s difficult to choose a favorite spot in NYC. Currently, I enjoy catching shows at the Forum Gallery, Society of Illustrators, McCaig-Welles Gallery, and Strychnin.

5. What is your inspiration?

There are hundreds of things that inspire me but I’m always looking for something new. Lately, I’ve been inspired by toys, industrial music, Odd Nerdrum’s work, and water coloring.