In an effort to highlight Ventura County’s artistic side, we decided to put a call out for illustrators to be showcased in a cover feature of the VCReporter and to add to our cache of talented freelance artists. But in so doing, we also wanted to give these skilled people an opportunity to share their work with the hopes that they will find and make more connections to spread their right-brain capabilities.

We received an overwhelming number of responses, not only making it impossible to showcase them all, but making it very difficult to choose the final selection. But we are on a mission, and that is to highlight the ones we felt were unique, creative, interesting, fun, quirky and promising. We narrowed down our choices with an in-house vote based on the preceding criteria. Please enjoy Ventura County’s talented illustrators.

Due to space constraints: For illustrations on our cover but not presented in the feature, please go to vcreporter.com for bios and more samples of artists’ work. Also, because of the popularity of this feature, there is a strong possibility we will run a follow-up in the future.

michael@vcreporter.com

 
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 Beth Cawelti of Camarillo

A fifth-generation Californian, Cawelti was raised with the stories of the Old West and the beautiful, rugged California wilderness: rocky coastline, alpine lakes and blooming deserts. The flavor of these stories runs as an undercurrent throughout her work today. The figures and the settings may be modern, but the overall tenor of her work is quiet, nostalgic and dreamlike.

Beth was born in Camarillo, just north of Los Angeles. She says she was born to be an artist, drawing constantly from the time she was old enough to hold a pencil. Her artistic abilities always got a lot of attention from peers but she had little formal training as an artist until she took a drawing class for fun during her sophomore year of college. With the encouragement of her drawing teacher, she switched majors and completed a BA degree in art in 1996.

For the first two years after college, Cawelti worked as an art teacher at Cornerstone school in Camarillo. Since then, she has worked as a graphic designer, gradually shifting from print advertising to freelance illustration and web design. She has lived in Arizona, Hawaii and Georgia, returning home to California in 2004 to raise a family.

Cawelti can be reached at beth@caweltiart.com

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Noelle Timmons of Ventura

Noelle Timmons grew up in Ventura and recently moved back after graduating from Laguna College of Art and Design. She majored in illustration with an emphasis in drawing and painting. Her favorite medium is oil, but she loves working in charcoal, gouache, digital, and is comfortable with any medium.

For more information, go to noelletimmons.com

 
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Drew Krevi of Camarillo

Drew Krevi is a freelance illustrator located in Camarillo. He has been working as a freelancer for more than 15 years, with a great deal of experience working in the publishing/print industry.

Some of his clients include Group Publishing, Gospel Light Publications and Olszewski Studios, where he designs and illustrates for product development for Disneyland/World.

For more information, go to www.drewkreviart.com

 
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Chuy Leon of Oxnard

Chuy Leon is a local illustrator. Although he currently makes a living from graphic design, illustrations are definitely his strength.

His legal name is Jose de Jesus Leon. He was born on New Year’s Eve, 1982, in Mexico City. Since his father passed one month before he was born, and his mother passed when he was 6, he ended up growing up in California. After spending a few years with relatives in Watsonville, Calif., he moved to Oxnard with his adoptive parents and started high school here.

He began drawing the year his mother passed. One day he found her old sketchbook and was amazed at all of the detail in her drawings. He was determined to keep that part of her alive. It remains a reason for him to continue to create art, but it’s not the only one. Sometimes, it feels like an illustration is the only way for him to communicate efficiently.

For more information, go to www.chuyleon.com or e-mail Leon at leonchuy@gmail.com.

 
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”Alligator” Dave Grizzle of Ventura

“Alligator” Dave Grizzle is a musician and artist. He has painted professionally since 1998. He has shown his work in Mexico, Belize, L.A. and Texas. He is 32 years old, a Taurus, and likes Basset Hounds. He has also played around 200 shows a year as Alligator Dave since 2000.

For more examples of his work, go to davidgrizzleart.blogspot.com.

He can be reached at alligatordave@hotmail.com.

 
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Paul Martinez of Ventura

Paul Roman Martinez is a local illustrator, living in East Ventura and he publishes a webcomic every other week located at www.the19xx.com. His poster illustrations can be viewed at www.flickr.com/photos/kopetkai/sets/72157603652431675/.

He graduated from California State University, Bakersfield, a couple of years ago and moved here about a year ago to do graphic design work, but illustration has always been his passion.

Paul Martinez can be reached at paul@kopetkai.com

 
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Justin Pence of Fillmore

Justin Pence is 28 years old, living in Fillmore. He is an artist and musician. His preferred medium is mostly ink/pencil on paper, though he does dabble in painting as well. He illustrates mostly characters, backgrounds, scenes, portraits, etc. His favorite artist of all time is the late Frank Frazetta. His style is heavily influenced by comic book art.

He likes to create fictional, abstract artwork, but at the same time likes to create scenes that depict drama, action, storytelling…. Basically, he likes his art to be ART! He feels his best work comes to life when he is not restrained by rules or methods one must follow in accordance with a particular kind of art.

Pence can be reached at mr.pence@yahoo.com

 
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Michael Downey of Simi Valley

Michael Downey currently lives in Simi Valley, where he grew up, and he has been doing illustration for most of his life. He started off with familiar characters from cartoon shows and comic books and eventually worked his way up to more realistic projects from movie posters, magazines and from real-life sources. His artwork is confined mostly to pencil and ink drawings, though he does have some experience with graphic design as well. Illustration is a passion of his, portraits being his favorite.

His educational background in illustration ranges from his high school years, when he was part of the advanced art program for two years, his junior and senior years, and a semester college course at Moorpark College. He learned art mostly on his own from many years of practice and experimentation and continues to learn and grow as an artist every day. He began drawing at the age of 6and has developed new skills mostly from mimicry of drawings.

Downey can be reached at michael_a_downey@yahoo.com.

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Randy Martinez of Ventura

Randy Martinez is a Ventura native, and has been an illustrator since he was 12 years old.

He graduated from Ventura High School, took art classes at Ventura College for a while, and then went to the Kansas City Art Institute before returning home to Ventura.

He has been doing a lot of art work for Lucasfilm (Star Wars) over the last 10 years, as well as art for Topps Trading cards, Scholastic Books and different game companies.

For more information, go to www.randymartinez.net

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Mandy Wolfe in Thousand Oaks

Mandy Wolfe specializes in custom artwork of all kinds. She works from photographs to create portraits in gouache, watercolor, colored pencil and charcoal. Her attention to detail allows her to move from traditional realistic portraits to a modern pop art style.  

Wolfe can be reached at Mandawlfe@yahoo.com.

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Cecilia Clementi of Ventura

Cecilia Clementi is a local illustrator and artist. She has been creating art for as long as she can remember; it’s her passion. After taking a slight break for a while after having kids, she began drawing again last year and has been searching for illustration positions since.
 
She has been working with graphic markers, which have allowed her to explore new realms of art. She took second place at the Ventura County Fair for  her illustration "Erin, the Nature Goddess," which belongs to a series of illustrations she has been working on for friends and family, each a different goddess.
 
Clementi can be reached at  lilcc15@aol.com.

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Christine O’Brien, Northern Ventura County

Christine O’Brien is an illustrator/painter who lives and works in Ventura County.  She works in various mediums — gouache, oils, watercolor or mixed medium, pastel, pen and ink and pencil (black and white and color).  More of O’Brien’s work can be viewed on her website at  www.christinegirvaniobrien.net  or e-mail O’Brien at christinegirvaniobrien@yahoo.com.

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Mary Robertson

Mary Robertson is a local illustrator and has illustrated editorials for two magazines, Rock & Gem and Coinage, hobby magazines nationally distributed by Miller Magazines Inc. of Ventura. She has also worked on various illustration projects and worked in the animation industry as well.

She is capable of illustrating in either traditional media such as paint, pastels, colored pencils and pens or vector base with software programs — Illustrator and Photoshop.

Robertson can be reached at aereo@aol.com.

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Michael Voll of Thousand Oaks

Michael Voll is a freelance illustrator in Thousand Oaks. Because of his background in theater, a great deal of his work has been creating artwork for theater productions. He does, however, enjoy doing portraits as well. Some of his favorite work has been the combination of the two, as with the "Pirates of Penzance" poster he created as a private piece for a friend involved in the show at the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera back in the early ’90s.
 
Voll can be reached at voll_michael@yahoo.com.

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Mike Lemos of Ventura

Mike Lemos is a Southern California-based (born and raised) based illustrator/graphic designer, living in Ventura and working primarily in the toy industry.

He is also an official Star Wars artist going way back to the early ’90s. The author Ray Bradbury owns a one-of-a-kind over-sized, four-foot by five-foot, print of a Godzilla painting by Lemos.

More of his work can be viewed at www.behance.net/mikelemos and
 theflyingeyeball.blogspot.com. Lemos can be reached at spacetrog@gmail.com

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Paul Levinson of Ventura

Paul Levinson earned his bachelor’s in fine arts in illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has had illustrations used in magazines and newspapers, on websites and in marketing materials worldwide. His clients include Prevention Magazine, L’Oreal USA, The Wall Street Journal, Prudential Insurance. His work has been shown in galleries on both sides of the Atlantic; he has painted murals in restaurants and Las Vegas casinos, and spent time working on staff for Disney.

For more information, go to www.paullevinson.com or e-mail Levinson at paulmlevinson@gmail.com.

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Winston Braun of Ventura

Braun is a former student of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He works in a combination of hand drawn and digital media. He recently had an illustration published in the October issue of Uppercase magazine.

He can be reached at  winstonbraun@gmail.com.