Monday 11th December 2017,
Featured Pixels

Sam Boschmann – Animal Illustrator

Instagram: sboschmann
Some words from Sam…

I love collecting things. If it’s related to skulls, shoes, snapbacks, plaid, or Super Mario, I likely own it. I have a rude sense of humor and am slightly awkward, but then again, which artist isn’t? Oh, and I dropped out of art school in the first week of 2nd year to take time off and think about what I wanted to do. Two years later I moved to Vancouver and the rest is history.I’m a Calgary girl born and raised. Until recently, I had a taste of the Vancouver life. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for rain, beaches, and pigeons. I graduated Emily Carr University of Art and Design with a BFA. I graduated before Illustration had been declared it’s own major, but this allowed me to focus on other art mediums to support my practice as well, such as lithography.I have always drawn, but I never considered myself an Illustrator until my acceptance letter in 2009 came from Emily Carr and I had to then declare my major. I asked myself “Am I good enough at drawing to major in this?” I’m glad I took that risk. I’ve always had an appreciation for the arts, but not until I was totally immersed into the assignments and interests of my professors at Emily Carr did I actually develop my own tastes and appreciations towards .


My dad casually asked me at the dog park one day what I was going to major in at school. When I suggested Illustration he point blank asked me if I thought I was good enough to draw. When I stuttered, he simply reassured me that I just needed to believe that I was good enough and the rest would follow. Cheese fest, I know.My style of drawing is a direct reflection of my own interests and passions. I’ve always had a knack for drawing strange, or unnatural images, not in a disgusting way, but in a subtle, beautifully absurd sort of way. I also like to get lost in the detail of my images, and animals always allow me to do this. People tell me they can see my passion within my work, and it’s true. I am extremely passionate about animals.Generally speaking, I stick to analog mediums such as pen and ink. I use a lot of ink washes, coupled with layers of graphite, pencil crayon, or gouache as I see fitting. I’ve also developed a huge love for Copic markers as a way of adding depth to my illustrations.Micron pens hands down. You can do so much with the finest lines of a micron pen. My personal favorite is .005, I go through those things like water because of the amount of detail I like to put into my creatures.I like to stick to analog mediums in my work, it’s just a personal likeness towards the tactile use of pens and ink. I can sometimes get a bit messy in my creative process, and photoshop allows me to clean up any lines, crop images, and really re-create areas as I see appropriate.



Are you a Mac or PC lover? Mac. I clearly remember taking in my PC laptop to have more memory installed, and the tech looked me dead in the eye and said “I’ve never met an art student with a PC before”. From then on Mac’s have been my best friend.

I recently purchased a set of gouache paints. I realized that I’m not exactly an acrylic painter, but I love the layered effect of ink washes, so I figured gouache would be a happy medium (pun intended) for me. I’ve been combining my pen drawings with gouache in some experiments, and so far I am intrigued by the results.

I am constantly looking at others for inspiration. Occasionally I get the “woe is me” artist vibe and get down on myself, but then I remember that no one else draws the way that I do, so I should embrace that fact. I also take inspiration from my own personal interests, and I find when I am truly passionate about something, I produce some of my best art. For me, that obviously relates to animals.My favorite piece to date is a custom skateboard deck I did for a show offered by Ill’n, our Illustration club offered at school. This club was not for credit, but I found my hand glued to that skateboard for days to pull out an image that I was super proud of. The image itself is a tier of animals drawn in ink with a banner flowing throughout that states “I think therefore I am (equal)”. At the time I was taking a Critical Animal Studies course, which brought the question of animal equality into my work. The skateboards were up for auction but I just couldn’t bear to part with it.

I have quite the art girl crush on Josh Keyes. He is the epitome of the artist I aspire to be. His paintings are jam packed full of symbolism and allegorical meaning, while resonating this soft, poetic beauty. I’m ridiculously in love with his work.

I find my humor quite similar to that of, so I constantly check out his website to get a good laugh and to loosen up my creative process. I also get a lot of inspiration from Kate MacDowell, who is a ceramic artist dealing with animal symbolism. Each object is hand crafted, and so beautifully twisted to critique the relationship between man and nature. Check her out at

I find the ‘get up and go’ to be difficult at times. Most artists can relate to a time when they drag their ass on a project, so sometimes just the diligence to sit down and dedicate my attention and energy is the hardest part. You really need to find a way to be stoked about every piece of art you work on, so I try and interweave my own interests into each piece. Illustration keeps gaining moment, and has exploded onto the mainstream art market as of recently. I am full of anticipation to see what the next 5 years has in store. I was lucky to be surrounded by extremely talented graduates who are taking the illustration world by storm.

I always flip flopped between being a Veterinarian and an Artist. I am way too compassionate, and can cry at the drop of a hat about animals, so being a Veterinarian wasn’t the best solution for me. I have always been involved in animal related jobs at pet food stores and dog daycares, so I try to surround myself with things that would inspire my art practice. I found an ‘about me’ note I wrote myself at the age of 11, and under career I wrote ‘Artist’. I was pretty damn smart at 11 apparently.  

I’ve always been an extremely independent person, so I taught myself through trial and error what style I wanted to represent in my art. My one professor at Emily Carr had a passion for pop surrealism and bizarre imagery, and he really kick started a lot of my illustration interests. A big thanks goes out to Justin Novak.

Without animals, I wouldn’t have any inspiration to draw. Simple as that. If I won the lottery, I would assist the small, non profit animal rescue organizations. It’s been a dream of mine to not only be a foster parent for animals, but also to one day open my own non-kill rescue organization. Animals don’t have a voice, so we as humans have an ability to speak for them.

If I had one wish, I would ask people to try more compassion in their lives, and to take notice of their own relationships with animals. It’s quite amazing how an animal can enrich and effect your life.

-Sam Boschmann

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About The Author

Photographer/Graphic Designer/Geek Born and raised in Calgary, AB, Canada. I work alongside my other half running Brave Planet, a creative photography and design company.

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