Gene is a highly accomplished and awarded children’s book author and illustrator, animator and character designer. He graduated from New York University: Tisch School of Arts with a BFA in film studies.
Gene is also the older brother of Muppet performer, writer, and director, Bill Barretta.
“What are they doing now?” That was the popular question around my house and neighborhood. It was not unusual to see my brother Billy and me dressed up in homemade costumes – filming Super 8mm dramas – attempting risky stunts in the ravine – animating GI Joes and weird-looking clay figures – building and performing clunky puppets – drawing offbeat comics and imitating The Beatles.
Gene began illustrating mass-market and novelty books in 2000 and eventually transitioned to picture books into 2003. He has also contributed to children’s magazines such as Cobblestone, Odyssey, Faces, and Appleseeds.
Get in touch with Gene
“Don’t limit yourself. Stay connected. Get out to as many events as possible. Try to work every day, keep your imagination and skills fresh. Stay optimistic, develop a tough skin and be prepared for rejection”
- When Gene decided to do art full time, his wife was working and they made conscious effort that he will dedicate himself to this full time. After that, he made concentrated effort to put portfolio together for picture books and he worked on it hard
- Best advice he got from his uncle: “When you go through the life, make a wide path, let them know you have been here …” Career wise, the best advice is to keep your “tentacles” out in all directions. Don’t get your heart set on one path, because it’s such an competitive field that the right path might not reveal itself at least not at the start
- His creative approach is to look for the way to get the core information to the kids artbooks in entertaining and enjoyable way – makes it more accessible to elementary school children, so they are excited. He wants them to be interested in the subject so they get to pick another book about it …
- Favourite quote – “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”
💡 Please note: This article may include affiliate links. When you buy through those links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.
- The Jim Henson company – The Muppets
- Society of children’s books writers and illustrators
- Gene’s books
- Illustrator Gene works with Frank Morrison
- Winsor & Newton watercolors
Special thanks to Gene for joining me today. See you next time!
All artworks by Gene Barretta, used with permission
Click Here For The Episode Transcript
Ep.150: How to come up with ideas and inspiration for your art with Eeva Nikunen
Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Eeva Nikunen, fantasy artist from Finland, author, and illustrator of Stargazers & Enchanted Valley, who specializes in narrative style fine art and illustration. Her mediums are oils and graphite pencils.
Ep.68: Stefan Hansson on how to be a successful artist in gaming industry
In this episode I chat with Stefan Hansson, who works as a Freelance Concept Artist, Illustrator, and Art Director within the creative industries.
Ep.97: Take your time to find your style with Alexandra Vuorio aka Kasvei
Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Alexandra Vuorio, aka Kasvei from Finland. She is a self-taught digital and watercolor artist, most known for painting whimsical female characters connected with nature.
Ep.187: Art Processes and Techniques – Interview Highlights
Hey, guys! This episode is about highlights from the previous Art Side of Life interviews. Ester Conceicao a.k.a Tehchan, Matt Urbanowicz, Victoria Ying and Armand Baltazar share tips and advice about their art process.
Ep.154: Should I be a freelancer or work for a studio with Richard Anderson
Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Richard Anderson, a freelance concept artist, in London. He works on games, films, commercials and publishing with clients such as Marvel Studios, Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, 20th Century FOX, and others.
Ep.139: Chris Ayers on what makes a great character designer
Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Chris Ayers, a Character Designer, and Story Artist from LA. He has worked with Dreamworks, Sony Pictures, Disney TV and others. He is known for his book series Daily Zoo, drawing one animal a day.