|From book covers to movie posters, from video
packaging to billboards, comic strips and cartoons, entertainment illustrator
Rick Law’s artwork has been seen by literally millions of people the
With a client list that includes some of the most well-known and brightest
luminaries from industry, film, music, and TV, Rick is modest about his
“I’m just trying to pay my bills,” he laughs.
Rick’s first memory of picking up a pencil is rather sketchy. “I’ve
been drawing all my life,” he says.
“I have a vague memory of the first day of kindergarten, and trying
to impress some girl by drawing stick figures of Superman.” “Although
I’m not sure if this was just an early example of my clumsy attempts
to be smooth with the ladies or some kind of a foreshadowing of my eventual
career,” he smiles.
Rick’ childhood was a turbulent one and at the age of 11, his family
moved to the small town climate of Salinas, CA. “For the most part
I grew up there and still consider it my hometown.” In Salinas,
Rick discovered his real interest was in drawing and soon forged a life
long friendship with next door neighbor and best-friend, Gary Shipman.
The friendship would help to further spur him down his life’s path.
“When we moved to Salinas, my family was extremely poor”.
“Since Gary lived next door, our families used to eat together to
try and share expenses.” Soon, the two friends were staying up all
night long copying the artwork from comic books, and getting pretty good
Rick says it was really his interest in music though that launched his
career as an illustrator. “Although I have been drawing for about
as long as I can remember, my professional art career started when I was
probably about 15 or 16 years of age.” “I had been a fan of
the musician Steve Taylor and I was given a high school art assignment
to paint a t-shirt,” he explains. “I chose to do mine featuring
the covers of Steve’s albums.” “Soon thereafter, I attended
a performance of his and wore the completed shirt. Well, someone brought
it to his attention, we ended up exchanging shirts, and out of that encounter
we became friends.”
“He encouraged me in my art and through his introductions; other
opportunities eventually arose for me from that one project. That’s
not to say it’s been easy road. It can be extremely difficult and
challenging to try and make a living this way. I have been blessed to
find and have as many opportunities as I have, and I really am thankful
for them one and all.”
Rick attended Salinas High School and ended up leaving school early,
after not feeling particularly challenged. “I obtained my diploma
a year and half early (thus missing out on my prom and graduation functions),
and started working soon thereafter.” While in high school, Rick
found time to participate on Yearbook Staff as school artist, and in Leadership
While Rick started freelancing professionally during high school, at
the age of 17, he also had a number of steady ‘regular’ jobs
that helped to broaden his knowledge and experience. That experience helped
in paving out his career now. “I’ve worked as a production
artist for my hometown newspaper, The Californian; as a sign painter,
and in music retailing, all at one time or another.”
Feeling stifled in the rural atmosphere of Salinas, Rick soon left central
California to enroll at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia,
CA. “I went (to Cal Arts) for about ten minutes,” he says
smiling and rolling his eyes. “Their philosophies and mine did not
merge.” The student body’s pervasive attitudes about art clashed
with Rick’s more commercial sensibilities. “I was interested
in actually working – not starving for my art”. Rick decided
his interests were best suited elsewhere and chose to leave the school.
He started showing his portfolio around nearby Hollywood, hoping to find
work. It wasn’t long before he did. His bold, innovative, and energetic
designs quickly drew attention. “I was real naïve about the
way things worked (in Hollywood and such), but I was persistent above
all else. In many cases, my ignorance actually worked in my favor.”
Soon, his talents were in constant demand and he was working alongside
some of the most recognizable names in the entertainment industry. “It
is definitely a strange experience, to come from my background and then
to suddenly be meeting people you’ve only heard about, or seen your
entire life through the media.” “You soon learn however, that
just because a person is recognizable doesn’t mean much. They are
still just people.”
Rick has long helped some of the biggest names in show business realize
their projects and visions. Sometimes these opportunities have also allowed
him to develop and produce some of his own projects, as well as produce
some collaborative ones. These have included, the CD-ROM video game Rage
of Angels, the gothic fairy tale series BURN, the supernatural comic strip
Beyond the Veil, the animated series The Epic Adventures Of MuleDucks,
and a feature film project based on the legend of St. George and the Dragon.
In recent years, Rick has worked consistently for the Walt Disney Company
providing illustrations for the covers of their animated videos, DVDs,
and associated advertising. “One of my proudest achievements has
been my association with the Walt Disney Company.”
So how does Rick continue to make his work relevant in the ever changing
world of entertainment?
“We tend to draw lines around the things we do, how we see things,
the way we think, and even how we live our lives.”
“Draw outside the lines,” he says with a hint of mischief.
In 2003 Rick launches an online gallery at www.RickLaw.net. “I’m
hopeful the web-site will be a place where people can not only view my
work, but find out a bit more about it, and maybe myself too.”
Whether as an illustrator, writer, or producer, it is certain that for
as long as he continues to create, Rick’s work will continue to
be seen and enjoyed by millions the world over.
Surely, the best is only yet to come.