Dan Haring is an author and illustrator who has worked on such films as The Incredible Hulk and Disney’s Tangled. (Wow! I looooved Tangled!)  His book OLDSOULL was published April 2012. According to his bio, he’s from a tiny town in Utah called Goshen, and currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and children. But more importantly, he’s working on Rio 2 right now. And he’s a Sherlock fan too!  🙂 I’m so glad to have such a great illustrator on the site today! Enjoy!
The book publishing world is a wonderful, crazy world, and the book illustrating world is just a new planet to me!  Tell me a bit about your experience with the book illustrating world.

I actually don’t have much experience with the book illustrating world. My daytime job is in animation, but I’m trying to make a go of it as an author and graphic novelist. I guess that puts me in the illustrator category, but honestly I don’t know much about the book illustrating area of things. All I know is the illustrators I know are amazing at what they do.

On your great website, you state that you graduated with a degree in animation from BYU.  How important do you think having a degree is if you want to get into the animation field?

The animation and visual effects industries can be hard to break into, especially right now, and a degree can only help your odds. To me a college degree offers you three main things. One: It hones your skills. Even if you don’t have the best program/instructors, you’ll have the opportunity and time needed to get your skills up to professional levels. 2. It helps you build relationships and teaches you how to work with people, many of whom can be difficult to work with. Welcome to the arts 🙂 Those relationships, especially the good ones, will be there your whole career, and you’ll likely be looking out for each other that whole time. 3. And probably most importantly, as with many different areas of work, most animation recruiters won’t seriously consider your work unless you have a college degree. It might seem silly, but that piece of paper will open doors and the lack of it will close them. On the plus side, they don’t tend to look at GPA!

You live in California.  Publishing’s main hub is New York.  Do you find it at all difficult to live on the other side of the country, or has the internet made that totally a moot point now?

Oops, I guess I need to update my website! I actually moved to Connecticut last August to work at Blue Sky Studios. Being closer to NYC is very cool, but I don’t think it matters as much these days. For instance, my agent just relocated from NYC to Seattle, but she’s doing the exact same job. She just has to wake up earlier now. Being in an area where you can get face time at conventions or whatever can certainly help, but otherwise I don’t think location makes any difference.oldsoul_cover

Okay, to switch topics a bit, but not straying too far, you’re also a writer!  Your book Oldsoul was released last April.  Any plans to release another?

Yeah, that was a really cool experience! It’s awesome having something you created out there for people to check out. I’m currently working on an unrelated Middle Grade fantasy and hopefully that will be published someday. I’ve got the idea for a couple Oldsoul sequels kicking around, but with work, family, and working on the fantasy and a graphic novel, I don’t have time to work on that right now. It kinda kills me because I have a bunch of projects I’d love to work on, I just don’t have the time. Stupid sleep.

Alright, now onto the real topics.  You love Sherlock!  I love Sherlock!!!  On your amazing blog, (link provided) you even have GIFs of Sherlock!!!  So:
1. Favorite episode.
 Thank you for the kind words! I love Sherlock. Such an incredible show. And I just really like GIFs. That’s very hard to answer. I think I’d probably have to go with A Scandal in Belgravia. But The Reichenbach Fall is a very close second.
2. Favorite line/moment 
When Sherlock tells Molly she does count and he’s always trusted her.
3. How do you think he lived!?!?!?!
I don’t know!!! Although I have to think Molly had something to do with it. I can’t wait for Season 3!
Finally Dan, because I can’t ever close an interview without asking, what’s the best piece of advice you want to share for all those artists just dying to break into the book illustrating world?
I think the best piece of advice I can give is don’t wait for someone to give you permission or validate you. If you want to be an illustrator, be one. Same goes for being a writer, animator, dancer, lawyer, whatever. You will start out slow, you will face setbacks, but it’s entirely up to you whether or not you achieve what you want to. If you’re dying for it to happen, that means you’re willing to put the work in to make it happen. So go do it.