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Indie Craft Parade Artist Highlight: An Evening with Cory Godbey

Cory Godbey

For an entire decade, the Indie Craft Parade has been an event celebrating and supporting local and regional artists and crafters and makers.

This year – its 11th – Indie Craft Parade is making its way to Trailblazer Park in Travelers Rest.

September 25
9 to 5

For a $5 entrance fee, you can peruse the art, shop for holiday gifts, meet the vendors and take home your purchased paintings, pottery, jewelry and so much more.

We’re thrilled to have this beautiful event right here in TR this year. Indie Craft Parade is host to a plethora of talented artists, many who are from our own Upstate area.

One of those artists is Cory Godbey, who was raised here in Travelers Rest. 

Not only do we want to introduce you to Cory and his exceptional art, we are excited that this interview is written by a local high school student.

See you on Saturday, September 25 at Trailblazer Park at the Indie Craft Parade.


Cory Godbey
Image provided by Cory Godbey




by Jude Greene


Cory answered the door to his studio on a dark evening last week.

Friendly as always, he let me in and I sat on his couch. He sat down in a chair across from me. Unfortunately, he didn’t light the fire that usually blazes in his fireplace, but music played in the background and we had a good conversation.


Cory Godbey
Photo provided by Cory Godbey


I’ve known Cory for years and we have a small collection of his artwork in our house. It seems like Cory has always been an artist, and when I asked him about it, he agreed.

“I’ve been an artist since forever, pretty much. I mean, it’s kind of the boring story where I have been drawing my whole life like most every kid, always drawing. And when I was in kindergarten, we had to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I remember sitting there, a little, five year old Cory, looking at my paper. And I just thought, well, maybe I’ll be a cop. So I started drawing a picture of a cop. And I drew an old timey, like in the movies, cop: a hat, a badge on it. And I remember vividly sitting there thinking, ‘Wow, it’s really good. It’s a really good drawing.’ That was kind of it from there. I was drawing now.”


I pictured Cory as “an old timey cop” answering his studio door with a billy club in one hand and a donut in another. It doesn’t work. Cory as anything but an artist seems wrong.


Cory Godbey
Image provided by Cory Godbey


In fact, Cory says he’s never really had a “real job.” If Cory had to work a different profession, he sees himself working outside as he loves to hike and spend time in nature. “A park ranger would work,” he says. “I would accept that, it would be fine. I could just walk around the woods all day. I guess I could live with that.”


Cory worked in a publishing house starting in high school. It was at that time he realized he could do art for a living. “I think I realized I can take this to the next level. I can go from just every kid who likes to draw, to this, the thing that I like to work at. You have these little moments all along where, you know, you do something and you realize you’ve gotten a little bit better at some particular thing. You’re kind of having that realization all the time in a way where you will be struggling and struggling and something’s not clicking and then you just put enough pressure on it and you get it and then you keep moving and, you know, it’s difficult.”

Even though Cory says it is difficult to grow as an artist, his work seems carefree.


Indie Craft Parade
Image provided by Cory Godbey


His work features lions in armor, friendly woodland creatures, Renaissance bears, foxes in bowties, hills that move and other fantasy creations.

Cory draws what he likes to draw most of the time. “ I do a lot of work for myself, a lot of personal work. My yearly sketchbooks, and things like that. Then I also do a bunch of commercial work, like client work. So some of it lines up really well with the kind of work I like to do. But not all those, like some of it’s just get-it-done kind of stuff. You are professional, you get it done, you know? You make sure everybody’s pleased with it. There are some that have been miserable projects, just like absolute nightmare projects. But those are pretty few and far between. Ideally, what you’re doing is you’re creating the kind of work that you want to do more of. There’s this particular thing you like to do, and that’s what you show in your portfolio, and hopefully then that’s the kind of work you’re attracting from clients.”

Cory’s fantasy work has turned out to be work that other people like, which he feels fortunate about. He won the Spectrum Fantastic Art Award in 2013 for an underwater creature he calls “The Fish Master.” It’s one of his favorite pieces and it’s featured in his sketchbook called Lyre Bird.


Cory Godbey
Image provided by Cory Godbey


“I love painting and drawing. I love art,” he says. “A lot of people kind of just meander until they hit on something that they really like. For me, I feel like all that stuff kind of fell into place pretty easily because I love fantasy. I love fairy tales. I love creatures and monsters and trolls and all that kind of stuff. So I kind of put it all together.”

His love for fantasy has attracted clients like Disney. He worked doing drawings for Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal, illustrating the official four prequel novels for the covers and interior illustrations. Those books were adapted into the Netflix series. He also illustrated and wrote the storybook that is a prequel to the original 1982 film. This is exactly the kind of artwork he loves to do. 


Indie Craft Parade
Image provided by Cory Godbey


Though he has always created fantasy artwork, he does feel like he has grown as an artist. “It evolves and you can’t really tell until you take a step back and look at work from a couple of years before, then you can kind of quickly see the change. It’s all gradual.”

So gradual that Cory compares it to working in a garden. “Stuff grows, stuff dies. You kind of keep tilling the ground and hopefully putting in some good stuff. And yeah, you get some stuff that grows fast and you get some stuff that grows slow.”

In my opinion, Cory’s work is the good stuff and the envy of fantasy illustrators everywhere.     


Indie Craft Parade
Image provided by Cory Godbey


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