As a longstanding member of the Painted Planet family (June marks 6 years!), Jackie Decker's multi-faceted talent and artistic dedication have proven to be an invaluable asset to our team. Mixing sophistication with whimsy, she designs collections in a wide variety of themes ranging from seasonal and children's to lake and lodge. With over a thousand images in her licensing portfolio, Jackie's unyielding commitment to her craft combined with her artwork's universal appeal has secured her a strong presence in the art licensing industry.
I was 4 and my grandmother gave me the book “Little Bear” illustrated by Maurice Sendak. The idea that a bear could wear a cardboard box on his head and travel to the moon or befriend a mermaid was a world I wanted to be a part of and I decided I wanted to create art like that. I was lucky enough to meet and study under Dennis Nolan and Doug Andersen at the Hartford Art School and they put name to my dream career - illustration.
Did you receive an art education or are you a self-taught?
I’m a hybrid. I earned my BFA in illustration at the HAS then worked as a software designer and executive producer for Vivendi-Universal games. Technology changed so much during those years that it was a necessity to learn the digital side of art. I just clicked away until I figured it out! Then in 2007, Dennis and Doug took me out for lunch and by the end of it I decided to return to school. I attended the MFA in illustration program at the Hartford Art School under the direction of Murray Tinkelman. The next two years were AMAZING and life changing. I learned from masters in the field, became a part of a tight knit family of illustrators and took the leap into art licensing!
I work in a variety of mediums and because I teach I am always investigating new products. Teaching is my excuse to buy new fun supplies! The latest is acrylagouache - love the matte color and coverage of this paint. When I paint art traditionally its done in watercolor, gouache and graphite on Arches 140lb hot press watercolor paper. The art is designed modularly, then scanned in and assembled in Photoshop. This allows me the most flexibility when designing. I’ve developed several collections using Micron pens for detailed line work, then add color in Photoshop and textures in Corel Painter.
Describe your studio.
I live in a restored church and my studio is in the choir loft complete with stained glass windows. I love my little perch! It allows me to be part of the family action even when I’m working.
Who’s your go-to person for providing honest feedback on your work?
I have a few go-tos. When I have a new idea brewing I bring my laptop and sketches to my son’s swim practices. The swim moms are excellent concept/market testers!
My son and I have shared a studio since he was three. Growing up surrounded by art, he is always willing to share ideas and critique work. Its fun to brainstorm with someone who doesn’t hold back or edit himself - that’s when the fun ideas happen! He’s actually working on a collection with me and has been a guest artist on my Instagram.
When I’m tweaking and getting finished work ready for the portfolio I ask my super talented friend Julie Hosley. Her excellent eye for design never lets me down!
Then there’s the Painted Planet team. I love our Skype show and tells. Sharing ideas keeps things fun and gives us a reason to “visit”.
I am inspired by the people I share my life with. Our family vacations to the Adirondacks and Cape Cod are the experiences and memories that lead to new collections. Lodge has been an important category for me in licensing and I guess it’s not surprising to know it’s our favorite place to be.
My students. I have been privileged to teach at Tunxis Community College. I love bringing real world experience into the classroom and it’s allowed us to share in our successes together. Spending my days with enthusiastic creatives is a gift!
My favorite illustrators include Maurice Sendak, Beatrix Potter and Elizabeth Shippen Green.
Do you work in silence or with music? If music, what kind?
I listen to audio books but I’m very selective about which ones. No tear jerkers when I’m painting with watercolors. Nicholas Sparks almost ruined a painting on me!
Is there a piece or project that you're especially proud of? Why?
My upcoming dinnerware collection. Stay tuned for details!
It's currently in the product development stage-- here's a sneak peek!
To drive across the country in a mobile studio and paint every day.
If you were not an artist what would you do?
FBI agent - no one would ever suspect me!
What are your hobbies (besides art)?
Swim Mom, gardening and D.I.Y projects. Our home continues to be our never-ending “hobby”.