The view of the Sandia Mountains from Wendell Unzicker’s home studio is impressive: a vista that reflects the timelessness of dreams and inspires his patience and commitment to colored pencil creations.
As a self-taught artist, Unzicker’s talent is irrefutable. He draws all images free hand and tediously layers color by weaving back-and-forth, one square inch at a time.
Unzicker described how colored pencil creates a waxy finish, and the pigment’s magic is semi-translucent, lightfast and permanent.
“It’s similar to working with watercolor paints, although less messy,” he says.
While it’s true Unzicker enjoyed drawing as a kid, he never sought professional training for art. In effect, his relationship with colored pencil began as a hobby. When he discovered the practical mobility of the medium, he was hooked; nevertheless, his pursuit of higher education kept his art a private hobby.
After graduating from Knox College, he designed sets and lighting schemes for theaters throughout the Midwest.
Later, Unzicker became director of marketing for a graphics firm, where he mastered blending artistic expression with the commercial marketplace. Unzicker left the corporate world after his wife suggested that he sell his artwork fulltime. With her encouragement, Unzicker boldly quit his day job and became a professional artist 15 years ago.
Unzicker maintains that his experience in the business world helped him transition to a career as a professional artist; he knew marketing, the only change was he just had to market himself. He equates his experience as going from a “team sport to skydiving” — in that, you really are on your own.
Unzicker does a lot of commercial work for marketing firms; taking AutoCAD line drawing/blueprints and turning them into three-dimensional drawings. Using movie scripts as a basis for imagination, he also has created black and white drawings of scenes (called storyboards in the film industry) used in such films as “Avatar.”
Aside from commercial commissions, Wendell participates in art competitions, and shows and exhibits in galleries throughout the country. He is a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America and the International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.