w/Cory Godbey by Stephen Thomas
What is your full name, and where are you from?
Cory Godbey. I’m from South Carolina.
Did you go to school for art?
I majored in 2D studio art in college but with regards to most of the work I do now I’m largely self-taught.
I am a huge fan of your work. Do you have any specific artists who inspire you?
Of course! Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Charles Vess, John Bauer, Trina Schart Hyman, and Maurice Sendak to name a few.
So tell me a little bit about “The Hidden People” and what it means to you.
The Hidden People is an exploration of what I’d call “natural world creature fantasy” meaning, it’s at its most basic level, I’m just thinking through different personalities in the forest and woods. Imagining what you might or might not be able to see. I’m much more drawn to natural, organic shapes and drawing creatures and trees certainly lend an abundance of opportunities for those sort of studies.
What has been your biggest struggle as an artist?
I think for many it’s similar: building my visual vocabulary to match my ideas. This sentiment is perfectly expressed by Bouguereau: “And can there be such anguish compared to that felt by the artist who sees the realization of his dream compromised by weak execution?” - William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
When you create do you prefer to listen to music or silence?
When I’m planning or writing I can’t listen to anything. That means thumbnails, roughs, or any kind of planning. Once I’ve got my ideas down however, it’s all down hill, it’s just the execution so I’m a little more free to think and listen to things (music, audiobooks, podcasts).
Do you feel that your family supports the work that you do?
Ha ha, well, in fact I just had nearly 10 family members drive out of state to attend the US premiere of The Last Flight of Petr Ginz, a documentary film I worked on (provided the animated portions of the film).
My wife has adapted to my schedule as well (and in fact she helps me on projects at times) and she’s very supportive.
What is the next step for you as an artist? Where do you want to go from here?
My ultimate goal is similar to what I’m able to do now: I truly enjoy bringing client’s projects to life and pursuing my own personal work. In time if I’m able to tip the ratio towards more of my time spent on personal work I’ll be pleased with that but I’ve been fortunate to work with some really great clients so I wouldn’t want to give that side of it up. My next goal technically is learning more ink and watercolor methods.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we should keep an eye out for?
I’m illustrating the prequel graphic novel to Jim Henson’s Labyrinth for Archaia and the Jim Henson Co. I’m especially excited for it. And my personal project for the year is my sketchbook and it will be out in May. The title is “Menagerie” and the 40+ page book features animals and dragons in sometimes dramatic, sometimes operatic situations.
Ok now five fun questions:
Left hand or right?
Do you know the muffin man?
I just don’t care for baked goods. I’m sorry, Muffin.
Most motivating place to visit ?
Sweden. The John Bauer Museum. It was amazing. Here’s a little video tour I made:
Pencil or ink ?
Pencil for the moment.
You can see more work from Cory on his website.