Interview with Artist Charles R. Ott Jr.

About Charles

My name is Charles Ott and I am a self-taught architectural illustrator from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the creator of Steel City Artist Illustrations. I specialize in creating very detailed hand-drawn pen & ink illustrations of prominent architectural landmarks. My work is featured worldwide in art galleries, business, colleges, gift shops, restaurants and even the White House.

The Interview

Q: What medium or mediums do you work with?

A: Pen & ink

Q: How long have you been an artist? How did you get started?

A: I began drawing around the age of seven years of age and have a massive portfolio of artwork, mainly illustrations. I was inspired by another Pittsburgh illustrator who had his work displayed nearby to where my father’s business was located during the early 80’s in Pittsburgh. His name is Nevin Robinson.

Q: Do you have any formal training or are you self taught?

A: I am a self-taught artist and consider it a blessing. There is nothing more I love to do than to draw and it is the passion for doing what I love that continues to be both my identity and driving force.

Q: Do you have any favorite art supplies that you would like to recommend?

A: My tools of trade are simple and they include pencils, pens, a metal ruler and t-square and a steady hand. I would highly recommend Sakura of America’s Pigma micron pens for anyone involved with illustration. These pens leave the fine, smooth, crisp lines and do not smear or bleed like other pens. The company was kind enough to feature my work on their website for marketing their products on Facebook & Twitter.

Copyright 2008 Charles R. Ott Jr.

Q: Do you work with any specific styles or subject matter?

A: Most of my illustration work centers upon architectural illustration and I consider myself a realist. The illustrations I create allow people to reminisce and to remember the places that have had meaning to them in their lives. My illustrations of personal homes, college old mains, churches, stadiums, steel mills and national landmarks are often the subjects I am commissioned for.

Q: How do you get ideas to create a piece? What inspires you?

A: Pittsburgh is a great city to draw inspiration from as an artist. The city possesses an urban landscape combining both old world and modern architecture covering every style conceivable.

Q: Are there any artists that have influenced you ?

A: Nevin Robinson

Q: Do you have a website you would like to share?

A: My website is Steel City Artist Illustrations, Last year, I also co-created a charity art foundation with three other Pittsburgh artists. We auction off our original artwork for charitable events & organizations. The name of our art foundation is the Humanitarian Artists of Pittsburgh.

Q: Finally do you have any last words of advice for beginner artists?

A: As with anything in life if you have a passion for what you love to do than you have already won. Be willing to put all of your energy, time and fortitude into realizing your dream. It is possible to be successful as an artist, but it often does take time, patience, right connections. Don’t ever give up regardless of what anyone might say to prevent you from becoming the success you dream of. We each have our own path we have to follow. Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’!

Q: Anything else you would like to share about yourself?

A: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share some insight into my profession as an illustrator.

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