For this story we shift focus to our users. Without them there would be no us. Our community has grown and revealed active users doing some really cool things. Here is our first sit-down with Chris Peuler, digital illustrator and coffee connoisseur.

How long have you been working as an illustrator?
Professionally for about 2 years but I’ve been trying to get into it full time for the last 5 or 6 years.

Where were you born?
I come from a really small town in Illinois called Sandwich, you ever hear of Sandwich? Well, now you know a guy from Sandwich. Ha! I moved to Chicago in summer 2015 and have been bouncing around the Humboldt Park / Logan Square area ever since.

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What did you go to school for?
I went to school for Fine Art, painting and drawing, at Northern Illinois University. After I was done with school I discovered I didn’t really like the gallery scene, I wasn’t a big fan, so I switched gears and took some of the skills I learned there and pushed that into illustration. From there I practiced and found professional mentors to help me learn.

What does your typical workday look like?
Haha! It’s kind of all over the place, it’s freelance so I can make up my own hours. If I’ve got assignments I put in the hours early and try to find some time at the end of the day to go to the gym. I usually come in here once a day and pester the lovely people at Cup & Spoon.

You’ve got a unique style to your art. What inspires your work?
I think it’s the stuff I grew up with as a kid. I noticed more and more, as I was getting older when it would come to drawing or making art for myself I would go right back to making monsters or characters, and painting really photo realistically. You are what you’re influenced by and those influences can run deep. I’ve definitely been inspired by a lot of Marvel comics tv shows, X Men, Spiderman, a lot of video games, Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft.

How do you use technology in your life?
Even though I am a digital illustrator, I practice traditionally with a pen and paper for sketching but I use a lot of digital tools. Lot’s of photoshop. I use a Cintiq to interface with a stylus. Recently I’ve been using the iPad Pro with ProCreate.

What does your workflow look like?
When a client commissions work, we draft and sign the contract. After that I immediately start sketching and thumbnailing in photoshop using my Cintiq at my studio. Now, with the iPad Pro, I use the ProCreate app and just start sketching and building it up to something that I like, submit it to the client and go from there. Ideally, I’d like to move all my work into an app like ProCreate, it’s just so mobile and fun.

Would you consider yourself an early adopter of technology?
I wouldn’t say that in the grand scheme of things, however; out of my group of friends and clique of artists, I’d say I was early to switch over to digital. I think it’s just the control freak in me; you have so much more manipulation that you can do to make the image that you really want.

What was your first internet experience like?
PG or not PG? Hahaha. I remember using dial-up on my Mom’s computer. My Mom had a Mac, all my friends had PCs and I remember using the internet to try to find ways to play PC video games on my Mac.

What do you do for fun?
Besides drawing a lot? Since I’m “playing” all the time it’s almost like there’s no time for actual play. It’s almost like I spend so much time doing art that I just lose track of it. That’s also due to the high demands of the industry.Outside of art, I like to go to the gym and ride my bike. I did Ragbrai last summer and biked across the entire state of Iowa.

Why did you sign-up for Keyo?
They had a cool incentive. I was more so inclined listening to what Delna had to say about it. She answered my initial fears and skepticisms and she is the one that eased me into it and now I use it, it’s really convenient. It’s really fascinating technology. I talk about it all the time to a lot of people.

Where do you see technology going in the future?
I see technology going towards universal automation taking over. A lot of manufacturing job and reshaping the economy in tremendous ways.
Automated cars are going to save a lot of lives.
I see technology growing more and more so long as we get our politicians on board to spearhead some good development.
Hopefully more oriented with space exploration, anything Elon Musk comes out with is right up my alley, he’s got to be the exemplary billionaire for the 21st century.

What does Chicago mean to you?
I’ve always been a city person who lived in the country. The city feels great to me, mostly for ease of access and the people are surprisingly really friendly out here, it’s a very welcoming community. Chicago is full of surprises.

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