The Ethan Long Archive: 1968-NOW

This is a special selection of my work from the Ethan Long Archive spanning childhood through present day. It includes both original concepts and commission work (not kid’s book and animation related) and are mostly for the editorial, advertising and print world. It’s fun to see how my style and interests have naturally evolved over a long period of time. What an amazing creative journey it’s been. Enjoy the work!

Young Ethan: 1968-1991

It started early. My Mom signed me up for oil painting lessons at eight years old, but my promise as an artist started as a toddler. My early bird tendencies would get me out of bed, before everyone else woke up, and get me started making pictures. Being a visual artist ran in the family. Throughout elementary and middle school, my classmates would always vote me best artist in the class. In 10th grade, my goose print won a Pennsylvania Scholastic Gold Key Award. Things really took off for me in 1987 as an illustration major at Ringling College of Art & Design. My work won two Society of Illustrators Scholarship Awards and also the RSAD President’s Award in 1991, which was my graduation year.

JUst starting out: 1992-1997

Immediately after graduating from Ringling, marriage came into the picture and my thought was . . . It’s time to start making some money and fast. Well, it wasn’t that easy, but hustling was in my DNA. A steady flow of postcards and mailers were sent out to magazine editors, publishers, and ad agencies giving them an idea of my art style, and that continued year after year. My style started to develop, my client list started to grow and my work started winning professional awards. This is also the period that included the birth of my daughter, Katherine, in 1994, and the end of my first marriage, in 1997.

Re-birth: 1998-2002

This period included my new relationship and marriage to Heather, the decline and death of my father, and the reboot of my creativity, which had taken a hit with all the change going on in my life. My color palette changed. My attitude changed. It was like a new lease on life. My work was selling to magazines, ad agencies and design studios. It was an exciting time. Unfortunately, my brain still hadn’t cracked the code of children’s book publishing. But fortunately, towards the end of this period, that all changed.

Finding my groove: 2003-2008

At this point in my life, at 35 years old, we were creating a new life for ourselves with our sons, Cooper and Carson. Katherine had moved to another town with her mother. Life was both exhilarating and frustrating. A literary agent took me on and we published the duck books series, but we were having a hard time selling or publishing anything new. So on January 1st, 2007, all the projects that were on my drawing desk or tacked onto my board went into the garbage, leaving me with a blank slate. Within weeks, Zefronk came into my head. This was also a time of experimentation with color and graphic imagery.

The wonder years: 2009-2018

This 9-year span was incredible. My storytelling grown leaps and bounds and we were publishing a lot of books. Ideas and energy were flowing out of me. It was no coincidence that this was a time where we finally settled down into a home and stayed there for a while. There were some rough patches, too, with the passing of many relatives and friends. But through it all, life’s stresses were channeled through my creativity. The work has always pulled me through. Sometimes, it’s even saved my life.

Onward and Upward!: 2019-____?

Things are cooking along. My health is good, my family bonds are strong, new book and animation projects keep appearing, and commission work and collaborations keep popping up. It is a satisfying time in my life. Feeling grounded pushes me to search out more and more opportunities to help others. My thought is, if my hands are busy and my brain is being challenged, it doesn’t matter what kind of work it is. Magazine articles, ads, kid’s books, animation, paintings, logos—it’s all the same to me. My creativity is keeping me above the water as a working, successful, independent artist and as far away from a day job as possible, and that’s extremely satisfying. :)