35 Corks Art Studio: Meet the Artist

Brad is the man behind the art featured at 35 Cork Art Studio. Hailing from Tennessee, USA, come and find out what inspires him to draw!

Welcome to the second interview in the Meet the Artist series

What’s the story behind the name of your brand, 35 Corks Art Studio?
35 Corks comes from a quote by Mark Twain: “Teaching is like trying to hold 35 corks underwater at once”. I have taught both homeroom and specialist classes, and I have been in a variety of contexts, so I have had a whole bunch of zany experiences in my tenure as a teacher. This quote seemed to sum up the craziness of it all.

Are there any artists who inspired you to draw? What is it about their art that catches your eye?
I have drawn since I could hold a pencil, so I don’t have any artists in my early life that inspired me. My photographer and quilter grandfather was very crafty, so I like to think that his spirit inspires me. As far as fine artists, I am inspired by the detail of Caravaggio, the colors of Monet, and and weirdness of Magritte. I have many favorite TPT artists, including Sarah PecorinoPrince Padania, 13 Sparrows, and Ramona M., to name a few. There are many talented people out there, and they all have such unique styles.

What's the first thing you remember ever drawing and how old were you at the time?
I must have drawn dinosaurs. They were the only thing that mattered to me. I remember drawing since I could hold a pencil. My father was a high school math teacher, so I would take mimeographs of old assignments and draw on the other side. I would always write “For Daddy” at the top, and the subject was usually dinosaurs.

What techniques (including programs) do you prefer to use?
I have fallen in love with my Apple pencil and my iPad. They make digital drawing a breeze. I use the free app “Adobe Draw”, which allows me to create my art by hand and then easily transfer it to Adobe Illustrator on my computer for clean up. I also enjoy drawing with charcoal and pencils. I have done several fine art colored pencil drawings over time, as well.

You have created an extensive collection of American Sign Language (ASL) clip art. What was it that prompted you to create these niche graphics?
I frequented the seller forum on TPT for a while when I was starting out and came across a request for a few ASL signs. I noticed that a quick Google search for ASL clip art did not garner anything of quality. I decided to try it out. At that point, I was drawing with a pencil on paper, scanning my images, and then tracing around them with a mouse. It was painfully tedious and rather rudimentary, but the buyer loved them and I have been making them ever since. My newer characters have gotten much cleaner and more detailed. I love creating images that are helpful to deaf and hard of hearing adults and children.

Let's talk creation - What is your typical process to create a single ASL sign and how long does it take from start to finish?
There are several websites I consult to triangulate my findings. That is, I try to find the most common way to sign a word and translate that into a written image. I don’t want to give away too many of my secrets, but I use myself as a model. From the images I take of myself, I draw on my iPad and then transfer the rough images to my computer. The whole process for one image takes about 20-30 minutes. It used to take HOURS!

Where would you love to see your art take you in the future?
I am not sure! My fiancee and I want to start a family, which means I’ll probably have to give up teaching for awhile. While I’m at home with baby, I’d love to continue creating artwork and selling it online. I’m working toward my doctorate in Educational Technology, so the future is really quite unknown at this point.

Special thanks to Brad for taking the time out of his super busy schedule to be interviewed.

Wait! Did you miss part 1?


  1. Thoroughly Modern Grandma31 May 2018 at 06:11

    I love the origin of the name, I can just visualise trying to hold 35 corks underwater. The signing clipart sounds really helpful and it must be great to be able to create something that actually helps other people.

  2. I also used to draw dinosaurs a lot when I was a kid, although I'm not that great at drawing x

  3. Love a good art studio. More looking that making my own art though lol x

  4. I love his illustrations. Thanks for sharing the interview, it's always so interesting to read the story behind the person.

  5. Love how the name came about.my teacher friends works wholeheartedly agree with this description of teaching ;) love reading about artists, perhaps because I'm so useless at anything remotely creative, I can live vicariously.

  6. What a nice Interview, really enjoyed reading it. Very interesting to get to know all the details behind the work.

  7. These all look lovely and colourful. I would have like to been better at drawing when I was little. Great interview.

  8. What an interesting interview. I love the story behind the name and it's amazing to learn the ASL images only take him 20-30 minutes now. I can see why they used to take hours!

  9. I think the quote used to base the name is so good! I would never thought of that

  10. I love Brad’s ASL clip art - it’s so realistic yet perfect for kids. It has helped having signs in my classroom to help my students communicate with a hearing impaired student in the class.