We had the good fortune of connecting with Andre Junget and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andre, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
There wasn’t too much to think about, really. I had just been laid off from my factory job, my daughter was three months old, I had a mortgage to pay and I had just 6 months or so of unemployment benefits to “rely” upon. I needed to move fast. All I knew was, I always wanted to be a working illustrator. Now was my chance!
I never bought into the starving artist mentality, that I wouldn’t make money as an artist, and being an artist meant living in poverty.
All I wanted to do was work in pen and ink, and I sought out areas where I could.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I just wanted to draw and make a living as an illustrator. Simple right? Not really. Long story short, I discovered wood engravings and LOVED the look. Then discovered the pen and ink work of the children’s book illustrator William Heath Robinson. I fell in love with the medium.
I found work drawing houses for real estate agents because I could draw in pen and ink. I taught myself how to “construct” a house in scale and draw it in perspective.
It WASN’T easy. Being self-taught and going to architects who had a wall of diplomas and documents stating they knew what they were doing and I had a book or two I found at Barnes and Noble two weeks before was hell! I was horribly insecure about it. It’s taken me thirty years to feel the level of confidence in the skills I have now.
But I could draw. And back then hand rendering was in vougue, computer-generated renderings hadn’t come along and made hand drawing “old school” yet.
The biggest lesson I have to share is to encourage artists to take an accounting and business course, somewhere, anywhere! Had I known then what I know now, that would have been the FIRST thing I would have done.
The thing I’m most proud about is I never abandoned what I loved at the very beginning, black and white artwork, especially my love of pen and ink. All those pen illustrators I found along the way informed my style. My architectural illustration is different than most because I’m not an architect, and I don’t draw like an architect, rather a children’s book illustrator. The work has a very different “feel” to it.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Whenever I’m asked this question, my story always begins with “Well I had this English teacher…” She was my high school English teacher, and I only had her for one year and her name is Jeannie Bennett. She saw a flicker of talent and fully encouraged and supported me in my pursuit of art. I was fairly rudderless and a bit lost back then, but due to her intuition and deep commitment to her students, she saw something in me. She pushed me to take my SATs and helped me apply to Parsons.
For various reasons I didn’t go to Parsons, and it was another 7 years or so before I managed to go to night school for a few semesters. We lost touch, but I never forgot her.
40 odd years later I found her through FB and reconnected.
To say thank you.