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

I started young. My Mom signed me up for oil painting lessons when I was eight years old, but I had been drawing since I could walk. I would wake up early, before everyone else, and get busy making pictures. Being a visual artist ran in the family. Throughout elementary and middle school, I was always the best artist in the class. In 10th grade, I won a Pennsylvania Scholastic Gold Key Award for my goose print. When I started at Ringling in 1986 as an illustration major, things really took off for me creatively. I was a two-time Society of Illustrators Scholarship winner and also won the RSAD President’s Award in my final year.

JUst starting out: 1992-1997

Immediately after graduating from Ringling, I got married, and my thought was . . . I need to start making some money and fast. Well, it wasn’t as easy as I thought, but I was a hustler. I sent out postcards to magazine editors, publishers, and ad agencies giving them an idea of my art style, and did that year after year. My style started to develop, my client list started to grow and I started winning professional awards. This is also the period that saw the end of my first marriage and in 1994, the birth of my daughter, Katherine.

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. I was doing all kinds of work for magazines, ad agencies and design studios, just like I had set out to do. Unfortunately, I 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, I was 35, and Heather and I 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. I had snagged a literary agent and published the duck books series, but was having a hard time selling or publishing anything new. So on January 1st, 2007, I scrapped everything and started over. Within weeks, Zefronk came into my life. I also continued experimenting, mostly digitally, and coming up with some fun work.

The wonder years: 2009-2018

This 9-year span was incredible. Not only had I become a better storyteller and was publishing a lot of books, but I was also doing all kinds of experimenting. Ideas, imagery 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, I just channeled it all 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. Not only am I grateful for my good health, my beautiful family, and new book and animation projects, but commission work and collaborations keep popping up and that, to me, is satisfying. It gives me more and more opportunities to help others and makes me feel needed. People contact me all the time to illustrate magazine articles, posters, murals, logos and storyboards. Some are friends, some are clients and some are people I’m just meeting for the first time. As far as I’m concerned, if I’m at my desk creating, it doesn’t matter what I work on. My creativity is keeping me above the water as a working, successful, independent artist and as far away from a day job as I can get, and that’s extremely satisfying. :)