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(Image: Jonny Bobgan)

Artist of the Week: Jonny Bobgan

Jonny Bobgan has been a professional illustrator for more than a decade. A Pacific Northwest native, he often finds inspiration from the mountains and creates outdoor-inspired paintings and pen sketches on wood.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?

Jonny Bobgan: For as long as I can remember. I loved drawing as a kid, constantly doodling in class, often at the dismay of my teachers. I've never been that naturally gifted at drawing, though. I like to think I've always been the best artist in the room—unless there was another artist in the room.

My favorite mediums are micron and brush pens, black acrylic paint, charcoal, and digital. My traditional artwork is usually on paper or wood panels. I've also really enjoyed experimenting with scale the last few years, moving back and forth from tiny pen sketches and large murals and wood paintings.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?

This definitely varies by project. If I'm drawing a real place, I'll sketch some primary lines in pencil to nail down the overall shape and proportions before I pick up my pens or paintbrush. If I'm drawing a more stylized landscape in my classic style, I'll often skip the pencil stage and just go for it.

However, my process for client work goes much deeper, as I'm generally trying to tell a clearer story for their brand, meeting very specific requests, or attempting a new style. There's a learning and planning process that comes before anything to ensure the artwork is not only beautiful but conveys the right message and tone to the appropriate audience. Only then will I provide rough sketches for approval of concept, followed by the more refined execution based on feedback.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.

Most often, I'm inspired by other artists creating stunning work. I see a piece that is beautiful or meaningful, and I'm reminded of the importance of creating and putting artwork out there for people to enjoy. Art is also a really relaxing process for me. I have ADHD and drawing is an effective way for me to slow down and relax while keeping my hands moving.

Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?

For @inklineridge: Mountains, mountains, and mountains. But I like to take breaks from my routine to explore, experiment, and develop new skills while creating. If you look at my alternative account, @echo5ink, you'll see that my artwork is primarily digital, with a focus on darker, edgier content. And for work, I adapt to the needs of my clients and their projects.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?

Yes, but it's pretty different from my regular stuff. It's a pencil and charcoal series I created in school after leaving the Marine Corps. It's a series about PTSD, capturing much of what I felt for myself and others during and following my time in Iraq.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?

The Marine Corps gave me a real opportunity to experience the world in a new way. New people, places, challenges, victories, pain, and joy. It was a really influential time in my life. I found myself channeling everything into writing and drawing in my free time, especially when I was overseas.

I stopped drawing for fun for a while when I started my career as a graphic designer. But when my nana and mom passed away unexpectedly, they each left behind partially filled and abandoned sketchbooks. I couldn't let them sit, unfinished pages evidence of their absence from our lives. So, I resolved to fill the pages in their memory, and this re-sparked my affinity for sketching, the development of Inkline Ridge, and everything that followed.

If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?

What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?

I'm actually slowing down on my illustration work for a while to focus on creating an online course about freelancing as an illustrator, designer, and developer. I'll still sketch when I can, as I don't think I can avoid it, but the course will take a lot of time and effort this year. We'll see what happens next year, though. I always have big ideas, and I commit pretty hard to them.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)

My favorite coffee is usually a high-priced pour-over at a third-wave coffee shop. However, I brew my daily coffee on my AeroPress, that I've been using for the last eight years. I'm subscribed to Trade because I love to always drink something new and different. Always black, though.

About 'Artist of the Week': Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.