Wacom eStore - official Onlinestore Wacom InfoChannel http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel?p=2 2017-11-17T22:12:01Z Letīs Talk Art with Paul Shipper | How Self Belief and Dedication Propel Your... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-with-paul-shipper-how-self-belief-and-dedication-propel-your-career/1103?c=2213303 Welcome to the sixth episode of Let’s Talk Art. This time we chat with Paul Shipper, who is known globally for his work with some of the biggest brands in film and T.V. Including Lucas film, Disney, Marvel, HBO, Rolling Stone, Topps and more.

How self belief and dedication propel your career

Welcome to the sixth episode of Let’s Talk Art. This time we chat with legendary artist Paul Shipper, who is known far and wide by illustrators and fans for his work with some of the biggest brands in film and T.V. Including Lucasfilm, Disney, Marvel, HBO, Rolling Stone, Topps and more. 

In this interview Paul talks about how he established himself as an illustrator, as well as giving tips and tricks on how to make it in the industry. Paul also shares his inspirations and where he sees himself in the future. 

So, Let’s Talk Art…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Like many artists, it’s taken many years for you to get to where you are now. Were there any moments in your career where you wanted to give up? How did you overcome those feelings?

There was one time when I was taken advantage of by someone who really took me for a ride. It was a really horrible place to be in and this guy almost made me throw in the towel due to trust issues. But with the help of friends and some of my peers I got through it and overcome it. Feeling a lot worldlier and wise at the end of it all.


Warcraft Poster Art by Paul Shipper

You recently did a Carrie Fisher tribute piece for Empire Magazine, how was that experience for you as both a fan and as an artist?

Working for Empire magazine was a definite bucket list job for me, and being asked to create a tribute to the late Carrie Fisher I regarded as a great honour for their 24 page love letter to the actress.


Paul’s Carrie Fisher Tribute piece which was featured in Empire Magazine

Given you’ve illustrated for various movies and TV shows over the years, is there any particular title that you love working on the most?

It’s difficult to say you have a favourite, but there are the occasional jobs that stand out as being a little bit extra special. I would have to say being asked to create the Key Art and badge art for this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Orlando was one of those special jobs.


Paul standing in front of his key art designs at Star Wars Celebration Orlando.

Growing up, what inspired you to start drawing or experimenting with movie poster art?

I’ve always drawn pictures from an early age and it was in my early teens that I was starting to gravitate to the illustrated film poster.  I collected them from my local video shop and studied them. 

Composition, style, technique… it was all there. It became an obsession and it excited me. It was from that moment, realising there was a job called an “illustrator” that I decided to follow this path.


Star Trek Poster Art by Paul Shipper

You’ve mentioned in the past that Drew Struzan is a large inspiration for your career in movie posters. What is your favourite Drew Struzan piece of art and why?

Drew’s incredible film posters were among those I collected and loved growing up. He created over 100 illustrated posters during his career and picking out one would be very difficult indeed. But the ones that impacted me the most growing up would have been his Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade art, Adventures in Babysitting, Goonies along with the Back to the Future trilogy.

There is also a poster that drew illustrated for the 10th Anniversary of Star Wars. It’s a signed Giclée that I have had framed and it has travelled the world with me.


“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “The Goonies” by Drew Struzan

Although you primarily work in a digital medium, your art has a traditional feel to it, harking back to those classic movie posters that inspired you during your childhood. How have these affected your work?

I started out using traditional methods, the way that Drew Struzan worked. He was my main inspiration and became my virtual mentor by way of studying his poster art. 

It wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that I began to dabble in digital illustration. It was due to a couple of clients requesting that the artwork should be digital, that made me look into it. 

I decided that I would only do it if I could somehow replicate the traditional style that I loved so much. With a bit of trial and error I was on my way to making it happen, something which I have been continually trying to perfect ever since that time.

To create my digital art I use my trusty old Intuos Pro and my new Cintiq 27QHD.


Paul Shipper illustrating a poster for "ET The Extra Terrestrial" on his Cintiq 27QHD

Freelancing can be tough, getting clients, sticking to a dedicated schedule and for artists starting out, even paying the bills can be hard. Is there anything you can recommend for artists who are either considering freelancing or those who have just started?

It is tough, but as I have told many up and coming artists who are still employees at some place or other - you won’t regret it. It will be hard, it won’t be easy but you cannot beat doing something you love and being able to pay the bills with the fruits of your own work.


The Hateful Eight Poster Art by Paul Shipper

Do you have your own freelance daily routine?

I don’t really have a routine that I stick to on a daily basis but I do take breaks between work so I can go back to things and reflect at what I’m working on with fresh eyes so to speak. So I might play my guitar or keyboard… I like to play games on my Playstation with friends too.

Your illustrations are usually of famous faces and recognisable actors and actresses. Do you have any tips for getting likenesses right?

Likenesses are something I always strive to get right; they can be difficult. Reference, good reference is the key, as well as being aware of the actor and their previous performances.


The Thing Poster Art by Paul Shipper

Is there anything you really want to tackle during the rest of your career as an artist?

Honestly, I’m just going with the flow right now, which is thankfully keeping me very busy. The future is not known, and that is exciting. I’m getting to work with some really great and passionate people, which is a great deal. I don’t have any far flung aspirations right now, I really just want to try and be one of the best at what I am doing, and for me, that is enough… for now. 

Finally, for those reading this who want to get into movie poster illustration, what advice can you give in regards to finding the right visual cues and imagery for an evocative piece of art?

There are a lot of people trying to do this now it seems. When I was younger I almost felt like I was among the very few. The best advice for creating compositions would be to trust your own instincts and aesthetics. They will serve you well… Follow your heart always… or as often as you can (sometimes you can’t call all of the shots).

 

Thank you for reading!

Paul’s skill and dedication has helped to propel him through his career and hopefully some of his advice will help aspiring artists reading this to achieve their own individual goals. 

Let’s Talk Art will begin again shortly with more insights into the mind of the artist as I chat to more illustrators from around the world. Thank you to everyone who’s been supportive of this series and I’ll catch you soon.

If you enjoyed this article be sure to follow Wacom across their social platforms so you don’t miss the next Let’s Talk Art!
Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Website – Youtube

Be sure to follow Paul to stay up to date with his projects:
Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Website

Let's Talk Art series is written by Jack Woodhams, founder of PosterSpy.
Twitter – Website 

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Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:25:19 +100
Interview | Building a Freelance Career in Fashion Photography and Graphic De... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1102/sCategory/2213303 Multiple award winning fashion photographer Ilona Veresk from Russia found her passion outside of school. Getting involved in photography and graphic design she became a freelancer. Ilona also has an interest in fairy tale art portrayed in a dark style.

Building a Freelance Career in Fashion Photography and Graphic Design

Multiple award winning fashion photographer Ilona Veresk from Russia found her passion outside of school. Getting involved in photography and graphic design she became a freelancer. Ilona also has an interest in fairy tale art portrayed in a dark style.

For the Create More campaign, Ilona has shown Wacom her ways, her studio and created a gorgeous portrait. Enjoy.

 

 

"Magic begins when you switching off your camera" - Ilona Veresk

 

1. Tell us a little bit about your education.

Mixed with basic school lessons, the main disciplines in my lyceum were painting, composition, and drawing. Also decorative and applied arts like tapestry, battik, ceramics and woodcarving. 

My lyceum offered a lot of time to be creative, but it was still very challenging. I was 12-16 years old when I studied there. However, the basic knowledge I've got from there became much more useful after school, when I took the plunge to self-education. There were no lessons about photography or something similar. It takes practice to learn photography and photo-manipulation.

2. You say that photography was not your passion at first. What was your dream job, and why did it change into photography?  

I always had strange dreams. As a child I wanted to be a voice actor for cartoons, or make princess dresses (thanks to Disney, ha-ha). Much later, when I fell for visual art, I wanted to become a designer. I could not believe how many types of designers there are! 

I enrolled at an Interior design in university in city (Izhevsk, little city closer to Ural). It was so boring for me after lyceum because their program was intended for entry-level and basics. So I was really disappointed. In parallel, I worked on photo manipulations. It started to give me some revenue because my work got recognition in circles of musicians. I did CD covers and booklets for their singles and music albums. 

One year after university I moved to the capital in searching for further development in my career.
Love for photography came to me three years ago. I had already bought my first camera, but it still felt like a silly hobby to me. Life in Moscow forced me to look for jobs to pay for housing and food, so I found myself a studio and started using my camera to earn money. Then things started moving fast. At first I thought it was just a job on the side, but I started to get more and more involved. And I started to understand that if you treat your work serious and use your imagination it becomes really interesting. 

That's why I think my dream founds me, not the other way around.

3. Nature and long-haired models are a common in your work. What do you like most about these elements? 

Every artist asks themselves where to get inspiration from. Someone can steal, someone can re-interpret. My way is just a mix of different styles and objects and I can find inspiration by brainstorming. It looks like this: "If I combine a cow with butterfly what can it be". I'm sure, you will try to imagine a cow with shining wings, but my imagination captives by human and clothes, I can imagine that as a girl in spotty costume with antennas. That's just a rough example.

My friend told me once my brain is that of a fashion designer, not from photographer. My thoughts are very scattered and I do not lack any imagination.

Girls always catch my eye. I'm in love with their fragile beauty, porcelain skin, undated faces. They are not like celebrities from covers, they seem like fairies, ethereal and elusive. And you have to understand there is always natural beauty. I don't use Photoshop on my pictures to perfect bodies or skin, it is already perfect. 

4. You designed and sewed some of the costumes for your "Victims" series in 2015. Do you design costumes and accessories for your current work?

Yes, I do that, but now I have not so much time as in start of my activity to sew or do embroidery because it can take weeks or months. Now it's only exclusive feature for my artistic personal projects. Sometimes I do headpieces and accessories, sometimes simple cloth or make over of old costumes. 

5. Shooting under water must have been a challenge for your series on sirens! Can you describe for our readers what the creative and shooting processes were like?

The underwater portraiture was not so hard to shoot but it has a lot of specifics. My first underwater shoot was very exciting. I couldn’t sleep. Thoughts were always running through my head and I was afraid I could not pull it off. 

I rented all possible lenses and two different cameras. But in the end it was not so hard. A big problem is the communication between a model and other team. The water really differs from any other condition that I shot in before, but it was a great creative kick. I think that I can do everything now (hahaha)!

6. What artists have inspired your work? 

Artists who work in architecture and sculpting and sometimes musicians. But if we will talk about visual industry it is people like Nick Knight, Tim Walker, Mario Testino, Eugenio Recuenco, or Bruno Dayan. 

There are also many digital and traditional artists in this list, doll makers, fashion designers (Alexander McQueen, Commes Des Garcons, Elie Saab, Valentino, John Galliano, Vera Wang, Zuhair Murad, Guo Pei. But never active in the mass market.

So, inspiration is everywhere, do not create borders for your creativity.

7. What is your preferred camera, equipment and lenses? 

The camera I use doesn't matter to me. Every modern brand works just as well for me. The difference lies in control and taste. 
Most part of my recent portfolio was shot with a Canon 600D, it's entry-level cheap model, as you know. Just add a good lens (Fix or L series) and you will get nice "working horse" for lower price. The best camera I have tested is Hasselblad. This one really gives extremely detailed images, but it's very heavy and expensive. 

However, I'm really meticulous person when it comes to light equipment because light in photography is more important than the camera in my opinion. I am really impressed with the Broncolor systems. 

8. What is your editing process like, and which software do you prefer?

My editing process is a long story. If I want more commercially looking pictures I use Capture One to convert my RAW's and save all the color nuances, if I want to get something more artistic, I just open my images in Photoshop. 

In my process there is not so much skin retouching involved, and no light repainting like you would expect (thanks to models, light and my makeup artists). But sometimes there are extreme color corrections needed.

Sometimes it's photo manipulations, of course. I mean Adagio series, where most of the images was either painted or manipulated. 

For the digital processes I use a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. It is really comfortable and feels naturally easy like a pencil.

9. As your work has been published in magazines, and you offer advertising services, would you call yourself a full-time photographer? 

Photography is full-time job for me, though most of it is freelance based. It actually makes me a little mad because it feels like I´m fighting the system and corporate slavery! (hahaha). I'm really addicted to my work and I enjoy every minute working on personal images as well for clients. Mostly my job includes fashion books, advertising campaigns (fashion and beauty). My recent clients are really supporting my style. I am so lucky!

It is the projects that need a fancy element where I can use my abilities to create, and not only need to press a button. 

Tips and tricks for beginner artists:

These are some things which make Ilona´s life much easier. She says: “just try to follow my tips and you will start enjoying your process of education and up your works on new level!”.

- “Think about the story behind your picture before creating it. The main concept is very important if you want to do something remarkable.”

- “Always do your research. It is even easier now we have internet and access to any kind of information. You can learn a lot from behind-the-scenes videos and tutorials of professionals in your field.”

- “If you'd like to improve your skills, find someone who can teach you and be your mentor. Looking up to someone who is better than you can challenge you and bring out the best in you. It is a very productive and quick way to gain experience.”

- “Promote you work using social media by creating unique and interesting content. Not boring advertising.”

- “Find your niche. It is difficult to work on freelance basis in some of the popular genres because there are many other artists who can take away your clients. If you become expert in a small niche, you will not feel less pressure or competition and you will earn more working on your own terms.”

- “Use your talents to promote your other talents. If you are good at sewing, for example, why not to use it in your photography?”

- “Keep a clear mind. Some artists cannot control their emotions and that is normal, but if you want to start your own business you will have to learn how to be calm in any situation.”

- Quality is very important. Always create your work in higher resolution and show the details. Even it's for an Instagram post.

Ilona´s Awards:

2017: Broncolor ambassador and GenNext 2017 winner
2017: Best of Russia 2016, Feb 15 opening. Winzavod gallery, Moscow (Style category)
2017: Pannonia reflections salon, Gallery Muzeum Lendava. Lendava, Slovenia (FIAP honorable mention)
2017: Grand prix Inspire photography2016: Grand prix of KAVYAR Fashion & beauty photography award
2016/17: Fine art photography awards: fashion nominee (professional category)
2016: VIPA 2016 photographer of the year (Fashion category), exhibition in Bulgaria, Sofia
2016: International photography awards CIS - Silver winner (Fashion category), Bronze Winner (Fine Art category)
2015: Solo exhibition "Victims". Moscow, Russia

About Ilona D. Veresk

Ilona D. Veresk is a 23 y.o. from Moscow. She graduated from art-aesthetic school in Izhevsk.

However, her heart did not lie with a career in graphic designer. She was very much engaged in commercial activities and computer graphics. So she took a chance to expand her capabilities and moved to a bigger city.

At first she worked in the field of photo manipulation and created cover art of CDs for music bands before finding her passion for fashion photography. “I think this is the best way to express my ideas.” Ilona says.

Ilona expresses: “Genres such as fashion art, surrealism, dark art and fairytale fashion resemble my personality”. She draws inspiration from nature, plants and mixes these with avant-garde fashion and fantasy. The post-apocalyptic topics and utopian worlds and the mixture of totally different styles and eras is also a large inspiration for her.

“Photography is not just a clicking on a button.” she says. Ilona works as art director and producer of her own surreal fairy tales. She does the lighting, pre- and post-production. Sometimes she also does costume design and accessories.  

At the moment Ilona lives and works in Moscow collaborating with foreign and local magazines, customers globally, shooting fashion and beauty advertising and personal art projects. 

Follow Ilona on social media:
Website - Behance - Facebook - Instagram

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Fri, 14 Jul 2017 14:28:46 +100
Autodesk Sketchbook Tutorial | Learn the Basics of Color Theory Techniques fr... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/autodesk-sketchbook-tutorial-learn-the-basics-of-color-theory-techniques-from-mike-azevedo/1101?c=2213303 We teamed up with Autodesk Sketchbook and concept artist Mike Azevedo to get a professionalīs take on Color Theroy. Mike works primarily in the Games industry. He has worked on projects such as League of Legends and Hex for clients such as Blizzard, Guerrilla Games and Games W...

Learn the Basics of Color Theory Techniques from Mike Azevedo

We teamed up with Autodesk Sketchbook and concept artist Mike Azevedo to get a professional´s take on Color Theroy. Mike works primarily in the Games industry. He has worked on projects such as League of Legends and Hex for clients such as Blizzard, Guerrilla Games and Games Workshop.

In this tutorial he takes us through his decision making process when it comes to color and light and gives us the basics of Color Theory. He talks about relationships between colors on the color wheel and the tone of the light in a composition to change the way he approaches a figure. If you would like to learn from Wacom color master first hand, click here for more tutorials.

Have a look at the video or read the tutorial step by step below.

 

Now that you have a handle on the basics of Mike’s Color Theory techniques have a look at the tutorial Mike has prepared on this dashing Older Knight. He walks us all through the steps he takes to make sure the color values are right and the light and shadows are effective in his drawings.

Step 1: Structure

This first step is essential to making a solid painting, colors are great, but they can’t save a bad drawing. When sketching out the figure, I like to think about the attitude of the character and the simple geometric forms that compose his structure.

Step 2: Base colors

Once the structure is set, I like to go straight to color. I select colors that are 50-70% dark and not very saturated since you can always add more color later. It’s good to think about this stage as the “original colors of the objects before adding direct light source and shadows”, the true color of the object or subject.

Step 3: Adding Shadows

At this stage I think about the direction the light comes from, which planes are definately not facing the light source directly and the shadows casted between objects. I try to think like a sculptor. In this composition I use a dark orange because I want to have a blue light on the figure and adding a bit of the complementary color to blue creates the effect of shadows accurately.

Step 4: Shadow Accents

I find that most of the time adding shadows creates more volume than adding light does. So I like to create accent shadows, tiny dark shadows that reinforce the form. I especially place them when objects are in contact and I love to use triangle shapes for these. Sometimes this step solves the problem of adding volume to the figure and you don’t really need to add much light later because the form is already there.

Step 5: Ambience

Now it is time to focus on making the character look like he’s somewhere. I added some dark blues and greens to the background to emphasize the orange shadows and I added a Darken Gradient Layer in blue to imply the light fading off to the side.

Step 6: Light

Keeping in mind the original color of the object, the intensity and proximity of the light source as well as the material of the object (i.e how reflective if is) I now add the neutral blue light. It is important that you figure out how the light changes for every object and differentiate the materials, metallic surfaces are going to reflect more blue and the skin is only going to reflect a little bit of that blue.

Step 7: Overall Check

Now, I zoom all the way out and check if the materials look correct. For this composition I decide to tone back some of the skin brightness and I also add dynamic brush strokes to the background to direct the eye towards the character. It is important to not move forward past this step before you feel good about what you have, adding detail will not make the mistakes go away (I wish I knew that when I started).

Step 8: First Zoom in

I am 45 minutes into this painting and this is the first time I have zoomed in. Now it’s time to make the area around the eyes and mouth more defined, good reference pictures and a vast visual library are the key now for not overwhelming the image with information at this point.

Step 9: Play Within the Boundaries

Now it is time to have fun with the nuances and try to add new colors that are interesting but still respect that initial decision of a blue light source. For example, adding a more saturated orange or yellow to the lit area of the face is going to ruin the temperature here, but adding  some dessaturated pink or purple is fine. You have to remember the limits you established when you defined the light source and object properties and then you have to stick to them.

Step 10: Effects and Glow

I tried to emphasize the blue  temperature a bit and added a Glow Layer with blue on top of his armor, scarf and eyes. I also added a red overlay layer to make his cheeks, nose and mouth more red, trying to keep it subtle. And to finish off I added a soft light layer filled with blue on top of everything. These little tweaks can go a long way to unify the painting.

And that is the finished painting!

We hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and have learned about Color Theory. If you would like to learn from Wacom color master first hand, click here for more tutorials.

If you would like to see more of Mike´s work and tutorials, visit him on social media:

Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Youtube - Tumblr - ArtStation


Mike Azevedo at work in the studio.

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Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:06:43 +100
Letīs Talk Art with Erin Gallagher | How to Tell a Story Through Narrative Art http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1100/sCategory/2213303 Welcome to the fourth part of the Let's Talk Art series. This time we chat with Erin Gallagher, an illustrator and designer living in Los Angeles. Describing herself as a multi-faceted designer, Erin has produced work for some fantastic clients over the years including Disney,...

How to Tell a Story Through Narrative Art

Welcome to the fifth part of the Let's Talk Art series.  This time we chat with Erin Gallagher, an illustrator and designer living in Los Angeles. Describing herself as a multi-faceted designer, Erin has produced work for some fantastic clients over the years including Disney, Pixar, 20th Century Fox and more. She works in many different mediums and has a passion for hand lettering and comics.

During this interview we’ll be talking about what it means to be a multi faceted designer and how it’s beneficial to Erin’s career. Erin also talks about her future plans as an illustrator and gives advice to aspiring artists looking to find clients.

So let´s talk art...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You describe yourself as a ‘Multi-faced illustrator and designer’. What does that mean?

Many illustrators have a singular style or method that they use in their work, and for a long time I felt that I was failing by not quite having that one, super distinct “thing”... I would do lettering in my illustrations, then I would get hired to do a logo. I would do portraits and poster art, but then I would get hired to do chalkboard signs. I had done comics, and I would be hired to do concept art or storyboards. So I felt I was all over the place and I was doing the whole illustration thing wrong...

Then I decided to embrace it and add that ability to my brand as a positive, because I feel that using many methods, working on a lot of different projects and having various specialties is something valuable and maybe a little bit rare in the illustration world. Plus, I’ve found that I get bored doing the exact same thing over and over.

I love that for a few days I’m doing a mural project, all by hand, standing on a ladder, crouching on the ground, getting messy, and the rest of the week I’m working all digital, at my desk or taking my Macbook and Wacom tablet to the cafe. One day I’m using Adobe Illustrator, making something like custom invitations, then I’m drawing on paper with charcoal pencil or painting with watercolours, then I’m using Kyle Webster’s Photoshop brushes to digitally colour a poster. It keeps me interested and it keeps me learning.

I do think that there’s an obvious sensibility that runs through the work, that’s solidified over many years of working on all these varied projects. Eventually I did learn of some other illustrators who’ve made multiple styles or techniques work for them as well, so it’s definitely viable. I think it’s all about organizing your portfolio clearly so that clients can easily point to what they want from you.

You grew up in New York but now reside in LA. Is there anything you miss from New York’s art scene? And do you find there is much cultural difference?

I moved to L.A. having never visited the West Coast, or lived outside of NYC, so it was a shock. It took me about 6 months to acclimate. It turns out working mostly by yourself from your home studio can make it difficult to meet people in a new city! But luckily I had already been in some art shows in L.A. before I moved, like Hero Complex Gallery and Eat More Art Out. After I moved I started doing shows at Gallery 1988 as well, so that’s been an awesome way to get involved and socialize.

Some freelancers are natural homebodies, but I’m a pretty social person, so I have to get out of the office frequently to stay sane. Personally, I’ve found that for pop culture art, and of course low brow and pop surrealism, the L.A. art scene is hard to top.

Since I moved I was fortunate enough be in some really fun shows:
- an official American Horror Story show
- an official Disney’s Alice in Wonderland show at HCG; a Broad City pop up art show party curated by the women of Eat More Art Out, which I did the poster for, and which was filmed and added to the show’s Season 3 DVD extras;
- an official Rick and Morty art show at Gallery 1988 that broke their records for attendance and sales.

I've met so many welcoming and talented artists out here - it's a very relaxed and fun scene. There was a period like that in NYC where I met really great artists at pop culture group shows that are now friends, but sadly it was fleeting.

Of course NYC is not lacking in great art by any means, but for the pop culture it makes sense that L.A. is the place to be. I do miss going to the Society of Illustrators in NYC, where I’ve met many talented illustrators; they have life drawing sessions, lectures, and they showcase the best illustration talent past and present so there’s always something interesting going on at SOI.

Your work was featured in the Star Trek 50 art book last year, a big achievement! How did you get involved in that?

I was quite shocked when I received a seemingly ordinary email inviting me to participate in the official Star Trek 50th Anniversary art exhibition. First I thought someone may have been pranking me, but then I realized: hell yeah!

We worked on the art well in advance of the actual anniversary, so I didn’t know until much later that the show would travel the globe, and that there would be a book as well – that was all gravy for me.

I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with my family, and went on to be a fan of DS9, Voyager, the original series, of course, and the new films. I had done two Star Trek illustrations prior to the anniversary exhibition: one was a screenprint for Art v Cancer, a charity run by artist Chris Thornley (aka Raid 71) and Julia Hall. The theme was ‘time and space’, so I chose to focus on Time’s Arrow - a great two-part episode featuring time travel, Mark Twain, and Data the android. The second piece was an alternative poster illustration for Star Trek: Into Darkness, which I was invited to do as my first project with the Poster Posse.

I’m guessing that Jorge Ferreiro, the curator of the anniversary show, must have seen one or both of those illustrations, but however they found me I am very grateful to be involved even in a small way with a show that changed the cultural zeitgeist and that strove to change the world for the better through entertainment.

It is not difficult to spot your love for hand lettering. Do you know where that stems from?

Growing up as a kid I read tons of comics and picture books. I also went to art school during the transition from analog to digital art. I actually didn’t own a computer during my time at school, so I had to hand letter my own mini-comics and narrative art. Around that time was also the beginning of the hand lettering boom in illustration.

During my third year the school offered a new hand lettering elective and I knew I wanted to follow that class. It taught the pre-digital methods of designing and drawing fonts; it was tedious at times but I’m very glad I got to take that class. What I learned there was not really what I do now with lettering but it was a great foundation for drawing letters.

I’ve never designed a font, although I wouldn’t rule it out for the future. I don’t use traditional sign painting methods either - which I admire very much - even though I do work on chalkboards and signage as well. For the most part I look at letters just like other subjects I draw - comprised of line, shape, and texture – but with some extra attention paid to legibility, kerning, leading, and details like that.

Is there any medium or style of art that you’ve always wanted to experiment with a little more?

I’ve done a couple of GIFs and definitely need to create more because I’ve always been a huge fan of storytelling in visual art. Whether just through one narrative image, in sequential art or animation. Even if it’s just a super short “story” through movement in a GIF or just a few panels of a comic, I really enjoy what you can accomplish through that medium.

Plus, motion is definitely going to stick around in the illustration world, so I want to keep up. I love making comics as well, but they do take forever, but maybe someday I’ll do one of my mini comics again. I’d also love to give digital 3D modeling a shot – I’ve never tried that so it would definitely be a challenge for me. I know some illustrators use 3D modeling to help with backgrounds for paintings and I think that would be very useful for me.  

You recently took part in a few Adobe Live sessions. How did it feel drawing live in front of viewers, especially as drawing is often a very personal experience?

Doing Adobe Live was definitely a highlight of this year so far – it was an awesome experience. I’ve been using Adobe products since I was in high school many moons ago, and consistently since then, so it’s a brand that’s close to my heart – and there aren’t a ton of those for me.

Luckily, I’ve done a fair amount of art in front of people, so I did have some experience. I used to do chalkboard/ mural art for some retail companies and sometimes had to work in view of the shopping public, and while it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a performative job it certainly felt that way sometimes.

I also did some work for Moleskine; demonstrating to attendees at Adobe Max how to use their Adobe Smart Notebooks. I would draw and talk to people all day, showing them the app and sketching.

The most difficult part of Adobe Live was multitasking, because you are talking to the host and viewers while consistently drawing and while occasionally answering what the viewers were writing on the live chat. Oh and trying not to curse because remember – it’s live! So it’s a fair amount going on at once...

The folks at Adobe were stellar and really made me feel comfortable and at home. All three days the viewers were lovely and had great questions. It was so awesome to interact with people all over the globe – sometimes the internet is a beautiful place. I actually bought a phone holder afterward so I could start recording more art videos or live streaming. I’ve also done some time-lapse videos and definitely will be doing more of that.

 

You currently use a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet to produce your work. As someone who also uses traditional mediums, how do you find dipping out of traditional to digital and vice versa?

I do enjoy switching between analog and digital media. I started using a Wacom pen tablet way back when I had my first staff art job, at Whole Foods Market. My wrist was bothering me from using a computer mouse, and I was terrified of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. The Wacom felt so much more natural and comfortable to work with than a mouse, and I quickly got one for home use, and over the years I’ve upgraded models and been hooked ever since.

Due to the Wacom pen, going from a pencil or brush on paper to my Macbook isn’t a very jarring change for me. Until recently I did have some trouble doing tight pencils or inks with the Wacom tablet, so I preferred doing line art on paper and switching to digital for colour. I did work on a project where I had no choice but to do all the line art digitally and it definitely became easier the more I did it.

I do want to upgrade soon to the Wacom MobileStudio Pro, because that would be an even more seamless transition to draw directly on the screen, and I would save myself the steps of scanning and printing pencils and inks, which take up a lot of valuable time.

I would still do some original art for gallery shows, and I’d still do my chalkboard/ mural projects, which obviously can’t be done digitally (yet!). So even if I get the Mobile Studio Pro I’ll still have plenty of analog work to keep me busy.

Is there a particular philosophy you have when it comes to producing art?

One of my favourite instructors at the School of Visual Arts - Keith Mayerson - always said: “the form fits the function”. That always stuck with me. It’s true in nature, and it’s an important tenet in design of all kinds, especially functional design and in storytelling. When applied to illustration, to me it means that your lines, shapes, colours, and textures should all be conveying the feeling you want to get across instead of just relying on your concept. Which is why I think I’m comfortable having multiple styles and approaches – because what works well for one subject won’t be the best choice for another.

I think form-fits-function is something many great art directors follow, because their job is to find the right illustrator to convey a particular feeling or idea. So they have to recognize that an artist has the potential to create something that fits the project perfectly.

Another great instructor I had was the legendary Jack Potter, and he had a similar philosophy regarding drawing: that every line should need to be on the page and there shouldn’t be any wishy-washy or extraneous lines. I think that’s great because it teaches you to not just to put lines on the page but to think about what’s important to the viewer. Now, I don’t know how well I follow either of those tenets – but I try to keep them in mind.

You’ve had your work published in magazines, exhibited at galleries and you’ve even created some wall murals. What advice can you give to emerging artists when it comes to getting your work in front of as many eyes as possible?

1)    A professional email is good to have (you know, not “pizzaisgreat at gmail dot com”) which is clearly visible on every page of your site. So that’s number one.

2)    Obviously the internet and social media are great - trust me, social media barely existed when I was first starting out. That said I think there’s absolutely no excuse these days to not have a great looking proper portfolio site in addition to Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Behance, etc.

3)    There’s any number of web builders like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly (what I use for my site) that you can use to easily create a professional level site and then link to your social media accounts. Remember to use SEO keywords so Google can find you!

4)    I think it’s important to share your work through groups or projects like “Illustration Friday”, “Little Chimp Society”, “Month of Love”, “Inktober”, “Poster Spy”, etc. – there’s a lot of options out there, so choose what works best for your style or subject matter.

5)    I know it’s annoying, but share your images directly on Twitter and don´t link from Instagram. No one wants to make the extra effort to click through.

6)    Another thing you may not think of when first starting out is business cards. They aren’t too expensive, and even if you don’t have a big networking event (and most definitely if you do) they could help you out. I get asked for cards when I’m working at the coffee shop – you never know when you may need one, and you look like a pro if you have one at the ready.

7)    You also want to get your work not only in front of as many people as possible, but in front of the right people. The thing I’m not great at is emailing and/ or sending postcards to art directors and other potential clients; it’s time consuming, but it’s important. It can be very expensive to buy an AD list, but you can start the old fashioned way and look up mastheads at magazines or researching agencies. Other helpful sites are Drawn & Drafted, which offers lots of resources, including “Dear AD” where you can read Q&A’s from illustrators to real (anonymous) Art Directors, and Illustration Age, which is a blog and podcast as well.

8)    Take advantage of all the free help available on the interwebs!

As well as digital art, you also do a lot of ‘traditional art’ – one thing you do a lot of is chalk wall murals. What is it about this medium that you like in particular?

It’s funny, because my “chalkboard art” is typically neither chalk nor on a board, and I started doing it out of necessity. I began doing chalkboard art at Whole Foods Market a long time ago. We used chalk markers (acrylic paint markers) so they wouldn’t smudge, so that’s what I became comfortable with.

After I left Whole Foods Market and was freelancing I got another retail chalk art client. It was a small chain of juice bars in Manhattan, and it started out as a few small boards that gradually became whole walls in more and more stores. Eventually it was a ton of work for one person and my art became a big part of the brand – unfortunately the client didn’t want to compensate for that so I moved on.

During that time a friend worked at a lovely wine and cocktail bar called Anfora in the West Village and they wanted to do monthly chalk art featuring a different spirit every month. They gave me a lot of creative freedom and I did some work for their other restaurants. When their marketing director moved to Kimpton Hotels I worked on some chalkboards for them as well, along with other restaurant and event clients in NYC.

Eventually I was moving to L.A., and I told Anfora – they had been planning on doing a calendar of my chalk art as a gift to their clients. I loved working with them, so I decided to test out chalk vinyl before I left, and it worked!

I was able to continue doing the monthly chalk art in L.A. and ship it to Anfora in NYC. I told my contact at Kimpton about my new method and started doing boards for Kimpton restaurants in various cities. Since then I’ve done on-site window art and a mural for Kimpton locations in San Diego and Huntington Beach.

I also did a really fun wall mural that was filmed for a Super Deluxe video. What’s fun for me, about the signage I do for Anfora or Kimpton, is having lot of creative freedom. But I need to fit the brand, so that’s form fitting the function. It usually involves combining lettering and illustration in a fun way. Also, I love good food and drinks! As for the bigger murals, I really enjoy working on large scale and would love to do more of that.

You have a pretty impressive client list including Disney/ Pixar, Midnight Oil, SciFiNow, Moleskine, Twentieth Century Fox, Birth.Movies.Death and many more. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to artists struggling to get clients?

I think a great piece of advice that I was given was when I was in art school: do the work in your portfolio that you enjoy doing the most, not what you think will get you hired…Because the work you truly enjoy doing will probably be better than something you think you have to force yourself to do for your portfolio.

It took me a while to fully follow that advice, but it wasn’t long after I did some illustrations just for me, just for fun, that I was asked to join the Poster Posse, which then led to me doing pop culture gallery shows, and getting hired for jobs with Twentieth Century Fox and Disney, and being invited to be in the Star Trek show, which probably led to getting into Birth.Movies.Death, and so on.

So it can be hard when you’re struggling to get work, because we all have rent to pay, but make time for those personal projects, the passion projects, and put them out into the world.

Another bonus piece of advice, especially for the social media age, is to know that it may feel or look like every other artist you know has it all together and they are crushing it and you’re not...but we all struggle.

Everyone trying to make a living making art doubts themselves at one time or another, or is late on an assignment, or is having artist’s block on that project, or is waiting for that client payment to come through so they can buy more supplies...we just don’t always share it on social media.

It’s taken me years to build up that client list – and many years ago I would’ve been jealous of it if it were someone else’s, but it’s mine and now I want more….that’s the trick – appreciating what you have, acknowledging what it took to get it, and wanting to improve and accomplish the next goal until the next.

What lies on the horizon for you? Do you have anything exciting coming up that you want to tell us about?

I worked on interior art for a children’s book a few months ago, which I never really expected to do. The book is a partnership with Crayola and it’s called Chalk It Up: Imagine That! And it involves – you guessed it – chalk art, which is why I was hired.

I haven’t seen the final product yet, but I’m pretty excited to get a copy for my little nieces and nephew. It was pretty challenging for me because it was quite a tight deadline, and I wasn’t used to working on such a long term project, where I couldn’t really switch off to do other things, and I started to doubt my work a bit because I had just been looking at it all the time. It was kind of like running a marathon for the first time in years, which was tough.

Now that I’ve had that experience though, I’d love to work on a book project like an adult colouring book – I think that would be a lot of fun – something punky and the opposite of zen.

Chalk It Up: Imagine That! will be on sale via Amazon and bookstores on August 29 and is published through Simon Spotlight, a division of Simon & Schuster.

I also have some pop culture related art that I can’t reveal just yet but will hopefully drop any day now – so keep an eye on my Instagram feed!

Is there anything you’d particularly like to practise more in your work?

I think it’s important to not get too comfortable. So I’d like to try and find some new ways to challenge myself, maybe focus on more interesting compositions or backgrounds in my poster/illustration work. Figures and portraits tend to be easiest for me so I naturally devote more time and space on that. But the only way to improve something is to keep working at it, so I really should be spending more time on backgrounds and composition.

Recently I was working on a more background-heavy Buffy and Willow illustration that I had to put on the back burner for a bit but I’m looking forward to completing. I’d like to experiment with colour, since I can sometimes get a little safe with my colour choices.

I have a really great collection of art books, and sometimes you need to pause and take a look at the masters, or find other inspiration besides illustration, whether it’s fashion, architecture, or nature, and come back refreshed.

The great thing is, there’s always something new to learn in art – I think you’ll only be bored if you’re boring.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading the interview.

That’s it for this #LetsTalkArt episode. Erin has produced some amazing work over the years and we´re glad to chat about the highlights of her career as an artist. For aspiring artists, we hope you found the advice and insight into Erin’s life as an illustrator useful.

If you enjoyed this article be sure to follow Wacom across their social platforms so you don’t miss the next Let’s Talk Art!
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Be sure to follow Erin on her social platforms to stay up to date with her art and more:
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Let's Talk Art series is written by Jack Woodhams, founder of PosterSpy.
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Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:11:19 +100
Attack New Ideas | How To Breath Life Into Your Passion http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/attack-new-ideas-how-to-breath-life-into-your-passion/1099?c=2213303 Disneyīs own veteran animator Aaron Blaise is used to bringing things to life. For 20+ years he’s designed characters for movies like Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and more. Now he’s spearheading his largest project to date: helping others breathe life into their passions by be...

Attack New Ideas: How To Breath Life Into Your Passion

Disney´s own veteran animator Aaron Blaise is used to bringing things to life. For 20+ years he’s designed characters for movies like Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and more. Now he’s spearheading his largest project to date: helping others breathe life into their passions by becoming a mentor to anyone with a love of art.   

It Begins with Roadkill

Blaise has been drawing for as long as he can remember, and his childhood projects were not your average popsicle stick crafts.  Inspired by John James Audubon, who made detailed drawings of the birds he shot, Blaise pinned dead birds to his walls as models for his paintings.  “I was never a hunter; I couldn’t kill anything.  But anything I found on the side of the road was fair game!” he laughed. 

Blaise loved drawing animals; from the time he was young, he dreamed of being a National Geographic staff illustrator.  The best path to that dream, he thought, was to study illustration.  At Ringling College of Art and Design, he received a strong grounding in the fundamentals.  But he soon realized National Geographic used mostly freelance artists.  With no dream job to turn to, he looked for other options.  

Discovered by Disney

When Disney came to Ringling College of Art and Design to find interns, it was big news: this was their first time visiting non-animation schools.  Blaise submitted his portfolio and won a position in Disney’s highly competitive program, one of only eight interns selected nationwide.  They paired him with legendary Disney animator Glen Keane.  Blaise was constantly at Keane’s side.  “He instilled this fascination, love, passion in animation,” Blaise explained.  “All of a sudden I could take my love of animals and art and fold it into this new art form that includes movement and timing and music and acting and wraps it all up into one.  I just got hooked!” 

At the end of his internship, Disney offered him a job at its new Florida studio.  “We were supposed to be doing Mickey, Donald, and Goofy short cartoons, but we never did a single one,” Blaise said.  “The studio in California realized they needed help with features, so we worked on the Little Mermaid and Rescuers Down Under.  And Glen Keane asked me to work with him to animate the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.”  After that, he worked on Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan—almost every animated Disney movie for two decades.

Brother Bear: From Violinist to Conductor

Blaise moved from animating to directing for the highly acclaimed and Oscar nominated Brother Bear.  “If you think about an orchestra,” he said, “the animator is like the violin player and the director is the conductor.  As an animator, I’d work on a film for nine months and move on to another movie.  But with directing, I’m deeply involved in story, design, casting, recording, environments—every aspect of the film.  There’s a real headiness to that.  Your job never gets boring.”

Unfortunately for Blaise, Disney’s animation studios were oversized, with more than 2000 animation staffers across three studios, and it was becoming difficult to maintain.  “With the full crew on, we were burning about $860,000 a week in salaries alone.  When you’re burning almost a million bucks a week, you’ve got to make sure that when you finish, you have another movie coming in behind it.  We were finding it more and more difficult to do that.”  Disney decided to downsize.

Searching and Finding Answers

Blaise was one of the few retained from the Florida animation studio, and he was transferred to California.  It was a difficult time for him.  “I had some personal things happen.  I lost my wife to cancer.  A lot of things in my life turned upside down.”  Blaise decided it was time to leave Disney to do something different.  And he found an answer back in his home state of Florida.

 

A new company called Digital Domain was starting an animation studio, and Blaise was one of several people hired as creative heads of Studio. He and his directing partner started developing an animated elephant movie called The Legend of Tembo.  They invested a great deal of effort and heart into it; it was a story they were building together from the ground up.  They were two years into making the film when Digital Domain suddenly went bankrupt and Blaise found himself without a job again.  He sold his house and started over.

On the Upward Trajectory

Blaise went back to freelancing to pay the bills.  He got a phone call from a company in London, BlinkInk, asking if he would design the characters, and be co-animation supervisor  for a British television commercial, The Bear and the Hare.  For the commercial, Blaise along with a crew of his ex-Disney collegues created entirely hand drawn old-fashioned animation which was then digitized, colored, and printed out onto thick boards.  Using stop animation technology against real sets, they built a beautiful story of animal friendship.  The commercial went viral.

After The Bear and the Hare, Blaise started a project called "The Art of Aaron Blaise". This one allows Blaise to mentor thousands of people at once.  “The inspiration for it came from me sitting there without a job, thinking back to my days with Glen Keane.  He was wonderful at inspiring people, at giving them the tools they needed to succeed.  I wanted to see if I could start doing the same thing he did for me, but on a worldwide scale.”

Where else can you learn from a master animator and animal artist the tips that bring his art to life?  With art tutorials on animation as well as fine art, he has a website (The Art of Aaron Blaise) and YouTube channel (Aaron’s Art Tips) with a worldwide following.  He hopes to develop workshops, television programs, and more in the future.


Follow Aaron Blaise on social media:

Website - Youtube - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram

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Wed, 14 Jun 2017 11:02:30 +100
Origins of Love for Fairy Tales & Cosplay http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/origins-of-love-for-fairy-tales-und-cosplay/1098?c=2213303 Are you big into cosplay as well and love fantasy and fairytales? Then you might find Skadivore’s tale on how she designs her own costumes and accessories inspiring.

Origins of Love for Fairy Tales & Cosplay

Are you big into cosplay as well and love fantasy and fairytales? Then you might find Skadivore’s tale on how she designs her own costumes and accessories inspiring.

I’m in love with mermaids, witches, vikings, the wild hunt, old mythology, fairies, elves, unicorns and basically everything that’s iridescent.

Girl Living in Berlin

Skadivore aka Pauline Voß is a German illustrator based in Berlin and her passion for everything magical might be familiar for a lot of you.

Like so many girls she grew up with Disney movies, Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm’s Fairytales. But she also played Diablo 2 with her dad at the age of 11 and spent tons of time with trying to be a mermaid or to paint with all the colors of the wind. ♫

“First thing I remember was when I watched Atlantis and I wanted to have that glowing necklace so badly that I built my own out of an LED and carved soapstone. it looked like a brick on a chain.”

But then there was the point where the disappointment in the available merchandise became an obstacle for actually becoming part of that world.

 

“The urge of diving completely into that fantasy world and to actually become part of it is the drive behind creating costumes for me. Painting those is a way to visualize something exactly how I want it to be. To take the beauty of the real world and transform it into what I want it to be is pure satisfaction. It's dealing with emotions and experiences and that can be very powerful.
Back in school I always drew a comic version of someone I wanted some interaction with, e.g. My current crush. And after that something *always* happens. I still believe it has an impact what you draw.”


Pauline working on her Cintiq 27QHD with Express Key remote

The Process

It starts with the design in photoshop on her Wacom Cintiq pen display (27" QHD), because to work digitally is perfect for making adjustments. During the pattern creation she’d go through up to 10-20 iterations that involve designing, drawing onto the fabric, draping, cutting, trying to put it on and again from the start.

She also built her own mannequin with tape and loads of cotton so she can be sure everything that she drapes onto the mannequin on it fits well. After the designing, cutting and pinning, she starts sewing it all together.


Pauline working on her self-made mannequin

“For me the process is almost more enjoyable than the result. Of course it belongs to each other, but sitting down and imagining your character wandering around the world of your desire and actually being able to execute that idea while already being inside that world with your mind, listening to audiobooks or fantasy music while doing so, is like living a very realistic dream, changing reality actually. But there’s too much to learn that’s still on my list.”


Pauline in action on the sewing machine

Of course cosplay and costume making is not only about sewing. Next things she wants to learn are leather crafting and jewellery making.
Watch this realm for updates!

Some links that might be useful for you

● Skadivore’s Fairy Flow Playlist on Spotify.

● Good sewing tutorial channels that’s very helpful when it comes to details: madetosew - DreamLearnMake

● German, but best video on how to create your own mannequin.

Follow Pauline aka Skadivore on social media

ArtStationFacebook - Instagram


Skadivore and her boyfriend in full cosplay

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Tue, 13 Jun 2017 17:46:20 +100
Self Made Artist | 17 Year Old Creator is Taking Instagram by Storm With His ... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/self-made-artist-17-year-old-creator-is-taking-instagram-by-storm-with-his-cartoons/1097?c=2213303 17 Year old Harry Hambley created Ketnipz after he got bored with his former artistic style. Now, his cartoons have gained a following of over 22,000 fans on Instagram and Harry has even started his own clothing brand.

17 Year Old Creator is Taking Instagram by Storm With His Cartoons

17 Year old Harry Hambley created Ketnipz after he got bored with his former artistic style. Now, his cartoons have gained a following of over 22,000 fans (and growing!) on Instagram and Harry has even started his own clothing brand.

Aside from drumming, watching cartoons and drinking coffee with his friends, Harry spends a lot of time drawing, writing down ideas for his new cartoons and taking long walks. He says that “People often think that good ideas are rare and only come when you least expect it, but I find that my best ideas have come from simply doodling aimlessly, and by drawing nonsense until something stands out. It’s a fun process.”

When asked about where the idea of the ‘Bean’ character came from, Harry explained that he used to do commissioned portrait art and realistic illustrations but it eventually became underwhelming for him. After facing a few brick walls creatively Harry decided to distance himself from portrait art and the bean was born. 

The name Ketnipz wasn’t really planned either and was the result of ‘Catnip’ being taken on Instagram. How many of you have spent hours upon hours trying to come up with a decent online name? Sometimes the best names just come without trying.

Harry currently uses a simple set up of a custom build PC, Asus Monitor and a Wacom Cintiq 13" Pen Display, a fairly minimal set up compared to many artists, but it works well for him. When asked what advice he’d give to artists looking to begin their careers, he advised that artists “have drawing by hand down first before you start making, it’s the foundation that you build on, and don’t rush to get the best tech right off the bat if you can’t afford it.” 

In terms of inspiration, Harry says that he is hugely influenced by the work of Pendleton Ward – the creator of Adventure Time and street artist KAWS. He likes their fun and colourful approach to art as well as their refined style. He later went on to explain that he wants to perfect his own style so that each piece has a level of continuity so it remains recognisable.

Posts on the Ketnipz Instagram page average between 3,000 – 5,000 likes and Harry is successfully engaging a large community of fans. However having such a huge online success can be tough, Harry has occasionally received angry emails after Instagram arguments – he says that the internet can sometimes scare him, but most people on it are kind. 

After looking through Harry’s illustrations on Instagram I noticed that a lot of them carry important messages about society and humanity. Which was really quite nice to see. I personally believe that art (when done right) is a great way of engaging with an audience about real world issues, without being to forceful.

I asked him about his cartoons and if he feels like his art is a good outlet to connect with people about important issues, his response: “Definitely! I try my best to present a character that is very body confident and positive, whilst at the same time exploring themes around depression and social expectations. I’ve have had trouble with these issues myself – but by dumbing-down these complex emotions into cartoon form, and through channelling them through a light-hearted character, I was able to better understand these feelings. I hope that people can relate to the bean in the same way that I do, and can find comfort in its simplicity.”

We all know the power of modern technology and social media and it’s really quite amazing to see how Harry has taken Ketnipz to the level it’s at today. Harry plans to focus a lot more on clothing and having a fully fleshed out and respectable brand by Christmas this year. 

Already selling out almost instantly on his clothing, I can only wish him the best of luck! The Ketnipz profile is really inspiring and if you want to enjoy some light-hearted fun cartoons you should go and give him a follow.

To see more Ketnipz follow him on Instagram.

Article written by Jack Woodhams. Follow Jack on: Twitter - Instagram

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Thu, 08 Jun 2017 11:32:03 +100
10 Tips To Improve Your Concept Art Skills http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/10-tips-to-improve-your-concept-art-skills/1096?c=2213303 Concept artist Trent Kaniuga draws monsters for AAA video games from the likes of Blizzard and Riot Games. Coming up with character designs is not easy. Trent takes us through his process from idea to sketch to the finishing touches and gives valuable tips along the way.

10 Tips To Improve Your Concept Art Skills

Concept artist Trent Kaniuga draws monsters for AAA video games from the likes of Blizzard and Riot Games. Coming up with character designs is not easy. Trent takes us through his process from idea to sketch to the finishing touches and gives valuable tips along the way.

If you placed the first few brush strokes of one of his concept art characters next to the final product, you’d be hard pressed to see how a few blobs of color can transform into a complete and very detailed character. Trent shows you his process for a Cyborg Heavy in this time-lapse video with voice-over:

 

 

We also asked Trent to break it down for us as a quick written tutorial for those of you who prefer step-by-step written tutorials. His YouTube channel is an excellent resource if you want to improve your concept art skills. He’s entertaining as all get out, but even better than that he unloads tip after tip as he draws, with lots of great commentary about the games and characters that provide him with inspiration.

Step 1: Sketch Thumbnails

You can grab any brush out of the box, and just start getting ideas down in blobs. Don’t be critical of your ideas. Everything you think of is okay. Just doodle some fun cyborg ideas and number them.

Step 2: Set up your canvas

Pick a thumbnail and set your canvas to about 4800×3500, and drop the opacity on your thumbnail sketch to about 25%. Then, create a new layer on top of that. This will be the active line art layer.

Step 3: Define your blobs

With your blob thumbnail in the background, while drawing on the active top layer, pick a nice pencil and start defining those shapes. Any pencil will be good to use. Try out all of them until something feels right for you.

Step 4: Define interesting details and construction

You can create more layers on top of all of that and just try stuff out. If you don’t like it, you can delete that layer, or erase from just that layer. Dig up references of other cool cyborg designs that you like, and notice how they are constructed. Look at the joints and the connecting points. Apply any engineering knowledge that you have, but don’t get caught up in over-explaining everything. Keep it just believable enough. Don’t do anything with color yet. We will colorize our line art and values later.

Step 5: Color flats

I use a combination of color layers, multiply layers, and darken/lighten layers to get the colors that I want for my flats. I’m not worrying about lighting too much. I’m mostly just focused on the material color. In this case, there is a lot of gray, but I want it to be a cool gray, not a warm gray.

Step 6: Color adjustments

You can adjust your colors after placing them by going to Image > Adjust > Hue and use the sliders to change the colors you’ve laid down. Make sure you’re on the layer with the colors that you want to change!

Step 7: Paint color details

This is where I start the real process of painting. I’ve set my colors already, so I just color pick using the Alt key and add details and some lighting. I can also modify my brushes using the advanced brush options to get the kind of texture that I want in the final look and style of the piece.

Step 8: Get crazy with details

I’m going in further than just a medium level of detail. I want to push myself to do something that gives the viewer something interesting to look at for awhile. There are small mechanical details in clusters, and flat larger areas where the eye can rest. Watch your clustering of details! Too many tiny pieces makes it hard to focus on any one element, and it just looks cluttered.

Step 9: Fake it till you make it

I have no idea how to power a cyborg in real life,  but I know that this arm felt too plain and empty as a flat panel. So I’ve used the same shape language as other areas of his design to fake a kind of armored plating on his arm, and done a similar “shape language” pass across the entire design.

Step 10: Final touches and glow

You can use a layer effect to create a glow, or you can use the built in “glow brush” to enhance your small lights throughout your image. Don’t get carried away with glow and saturation, and make sure your focal point has a unique color to the rest of the image. In this case, I’ve given him a bit more of a purple glow around his eyes.

 

More from Trent

Trent’s YouTube channel is definitely worth following. If you like watching him draw, check out his Hearthstone Video Walkthrough for a really in-depth tutorial, or follow him on ArtStation if you want to see more of his art.

Love that beautiful, big screen Trent uses in his videos? Check out the new Wacom Cintiq pen displays.

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Mon, 29 May 2017 13:38:25 +100
4K on the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/4k-on-the-wacom-cintiq-pro-16/1095?c=2213303 Here are the steps to connect the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 to the Apple MacBook Pro (2016) via USB-C. This connection allows your Cintiq Pro to display full 4K (3840x2160) resolution.

4K on the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16

Here are the steps to connect the Wacom cintiq Pro 16 to the Apple MacBook Pro (2016) via USB-C. This connection allows your Cintiq Pro to display full 4K (3840x2160) resolution. Scroll down for the step by step guide.

The artist

My name is Robert Hranitzky and I am a freelance designer based in Munich, Germany. My strength and focus lies in motion graphic design, animation and art direction for a wide range of projects, from showroom trailers to film projects and opening titles. Passion and love drive me to create beautiful imagery and animation in every project I approach, no matter if it is live action, 2D or 3D animation – or everything combined. Thanks to a constantly expanding network of freelancers it is possible to approach me with nearly every type of project.

I am thankful to be among the few that were lucky enough to have learned from the best in the industry. So I like to give back, share my software expertise and help others become a better creative professional. For the past fifteen years I’ve also been frequently booked as a presenter and speaker at many international conferences, trade shows and creative events like Adobe Max, Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, FMX, Animago and many more. 

Setting up the Cintiq Pro 16

Recently I added the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 to my arsenal of pen tablets. Of course I was intrigued by it’s slim size and huge 4K resolution (actually it is UHD running at a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160). For me it’s main usage will be when working on scribbles and storyboards but also when precise retouching and refining of photos and textures is necessary. 

During my first setup I connected power via it’s USB-C connector to the left side of the Cintiq Pro 16. Then I connected the USB-C cable to my MacBook Pro (2016) and plugged the other end in to the right port of the Cintiq, only to discover, that this way it was not giving me the full 4K resolution. Trying out different ports on the Cintiq Pro I found that only the top left port supports the full 4K resolution. 

Being in touch with Wacom we decided to create a short illustrated tutorial to communicate this procedure more clearly. I decided to create the scene in 3D using CINEMA 4D. I carefully arranged the 3D models of a MacBook Pro and the Cintiq Pro on the virtual desk and created a texture and shader setup that gives the whole image an almost illustrated simplistic look that allows the viewer to focus on how to connect the cables. 

Everything was rendered and then taken in to Photoshop for further adjustments. Last but not least circular crops, text and the general layout was done in Illustrator. 

Hopefully this short and quick tutorial will help fellow creatives to get the most out of this amazing new product. 

Step by step guide to get 4K on Cintiq Pro 16

Here are the steps to connect the Wacom cintiq Pro 16 to the Apple MacBook Pro (2016) via USB-C. This connection allows your Cintiq Pro to display full 4K (3840x2160) resolution. Click here for the full tutorial.

1) Make sure the power adapter and cable are connected to a wall outlet.
2) Connect power to the lower left USB-C port.

3) Connect the USB-C cable to the upper left USB-C port. Only the upper left port works for 4K resolution.

4) Connect the other end of the USB-C to the Apple MacBook Pro. Then press the power button to turn on the Cintiq Pro 16.

5) In Display Settings on the MacBook Pro, select "Best for Cintiq Pro 16".

 

We hope this was helpful.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 15:44:51 +100
Letīs Talk Art with Kevin McGivern | How to Make Digital Art Look Traditional http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-with-kevin-mcgivern-how-to-make-digital-art-look-traditional/1094?c=2213303 Welcome to the fourth part of the Let's Talk Art series. In this interview, we chat with Kevin McGivern from Scotland who has experience in illustration for movies, advertising, games, and more. In this interview Kevin will be discussing the importance of traditional art, the ...

How to Make Digital Art Look Traditional

Welcome to the fourth part of the Let's Talk Art series. In this interview, we chat with Kevin McGivern from Scotland who has experience in illustration for movies, advertising, games, and more. Kevin’s digital art is created with the intention of preserving the look of traditional style paintings, giving his work a unique, visually appealing aesthetic. 

In this interview Kevin will be discussing the importance of traditional art, the many benefits of digital art and how both have helped to shape his career.

The aim of this series is to explore what it means to be an artist and to find out how artists have developed their craft over the years. Throughout the series Jack Woodhams will be chatting with artists from countries all over the world, many of whom have worked for incredible brands such as Disney, Marvel, BBC, 20th Century Fox, Empire Magazine and more!

So let´s talk art...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your art style, although created digitally, has a beautiful traditional feel to it. How long did it take you to develop that style?

As with most artists developing a style is an ever ongoing process. I actually find it difficult to see a particular style in my own work. That being said, one thing I have made a conscious effort to do, is give my digital work a traditional feel.

After discovering digital painting, I was obsessed with the ability to create photo-realistic art. I found it incredible that a program such as Photoshop gave us the tools to create paintings that were photorealistic. This soon wore off though as I realised the reason I got into art in the first place was my love of drawing, as opposed to the endless hours or rendering minute details.

These days, I use textured Photoshop brushes, many of which I have bought from Kyle T Webster's brush packs, that I then tweak to suit my needs. However, the main thing that contributes to the traditional feel is my process is the same as it would be for an oil painting.

I start with a rough sketch, which I then refine to a more complete drawing. I then do a monochrome under painting, distinguishing the light and shadows. Then comes the colour block in, then it’s details, details, details. 


Oasis Art Work by Kevin McGivern

Is there anything you particularly prefer about digital art over traditional art or vice versa?

I often find my traditional art gets a better response online than my digital work. I think non-artists can appreciate traditional art a bit more as they know it was created with a pencil, a charcoal stick or a paint brush and they realise how difficult that is to do. Digital art is more confusing and there is a feeling that Photoshop has a magic button that does all the work for you. The Wacom Cintiq is a tool just the same as a pencil or paint brush. If you can't draw with a pencil, you won't be able to draw with a stylus pen.

I enjoy doing traditional art. Once the piece is finished, you have a physical artefact to hold in your hands. You can create prints of digital work but the one-off nature of traditional work is special.

The obvious advantage of digital art over traditional is the versatility it provides. With the tools available now, thanks to companies like Wacom, almost any kind of 2D art can be created digitally. Also, the major advantage is time. No setting up the easel, paints, cleaning brushes, cleaning palette etc. Also if you need to make any changes, it is MUCH easier to do digitally than repainting a whole section of a painting.

You’ve started to experiment a lot recently with charcoal on paper, with beautiful results! What do you like about charcoal as a medium?

For me, charcoal is pretty much the most basic art medium out there. You are effectively drawing with burnt wood. It is also the perfect middle ground between drawing and painting. You can draw with a charcoal pencil, but you can also create loose “brush strokes” to give a more painterly feel. I actually got back into charcoal drawing (I hadn’t used charcoal since school) in order to help my digital work.

The process of charcoal drawing requires more concentration, as every stroke is important. There is no undo button and once you go to the deep blacks with charcoal, there is no way of erasing. So you have to be sure every stroke you make is correct.

I am always searching for a loose, painterly style in my digital work and I thought working in charcoal might get my hand used to working in that way again.


Kevin Mcgivern drawing with charcoal

You currently live in Glasgow, Scotland. Would you say where you live influences your art in anyway?

Most of my influences come from the internet and so I feel my work would be the same no matter where I would live in the world.

However, having lived abroad for 8 years, I have become weirdly patriotic, so I would like to inject some “Scottishness” into my work at some point.

When did you first start noticing your interest for art and how long did it take you to find your preferred style and method?

I loved art all the way through school, however, thanks to some terrible advice from a guidance teacher who said “If you go to art school, all you will end up being is an art teacher or 'someone like Picasso' (snigger)”.

I only started drawing again 3-4 years ago and quickly made it my career. It was the best decision I ever made. I wake up every day and do what I love. No one can ask for any more than that.

You recently upgraded to a Wacom Cintiq 27QHD. How do you feel your upgrade has aided your work?

A couple of years back, I decided I wanted to upgrade from the Wacom Intuos 4 to a pen display so I could actually draw on the screen. At the time, I couldn’t afford a Cintiq and decided to go for a cheaper lesser known brand. After 18 months this tablet died, unrepairable. I decided this was the time to bite the bullet and go for the Cintiq.

The difference was night and day. Set up was a breeze, pen calibration is spot on and it is the closest thing to actually drawing on paper I can imagine. The slight tooth on the screen provides the perfect resistance to my pen, allowing comfortable pen control.

It now means I have no excuse, if I can’t make great art on this, I never will! 


Kevin Mcgivern working on the Wacom Cintiq 27QHD

With the progression of digital art and the constant changes with the way we connect on social media, how has the art world changed for you over the past few years?

This is a difficult question for me to answer. My art career only really began 3-4 years ago. Until then I had studied Mechanical Engineering at university, worked as a Structural Engineer, moved to Greece and opened and ran a bar/restaurant for 6 years.

It was only after selling the bar and returning to Scotland that I decided to do what I love and try and make a career for myself in art. What I can say is that the influence of the internet and social media has given me the career I have today. Without it, I wouldn't have known any of this was possible. It was only through seeing other artists' work online that I thought “I could do that!”.

Do you feel the way that it’s changed has had a positive or negative impact on your career as an artist?

I can only see it as a positive thing.  The internet has allowed more people to discover art, and see how a career can be forged in the art industry. It has allowed people who would otherwise be in jobs they hate, to aspire to be an artist. It has never been easier to get your work out there. 15 years ago, I could never have imagined painting a portrait of Ricky Gervais, tweeting it directly to him and him retweeting it to his millions of followers. It's crazy!

There are endless ways to promote yourself online, which will different for each person based on the industry they are trying to break into and their personality type.

Without the Internet and social media, my client base would be my local area. Now, the whole world is a potential client. I may be competing with more artists, but there is plenty work out there for everyone, if you are good enough.


"Denial" by Kevin McGivern

Is there a painting you’ve done recently which you’re particularly proud of or that means a lot to you?

I have a couple of recent pieces that I am happy with for different reasons. The first is a piece called “Denial”. This piece was painted as part of a personal project (that I have still to finish!). The series depicts the 5 stages of grief. This piece recently made it into the Spectrum annual for 2017. Getting into Spectrum takes most artists many years to achieve (if ever). And so to achieve this only 3 years after starting to draw again, is something I am very proud of.

The second piece is the painting I did for The Thing Art Book that will be released at San Diego Comic Con this year. The reason I like this piece is it's the first piece where I changed up my process resulting in a style I am happy with (for now!).


Art Piece done for The Thing Art Book by Kevin McGivern

One of my favourite paintings of yours is Red and Snowflake. Can you tell us a little bit about the process behind this piece?

This piece was a commission for a book cover a couple of years ago for a client who was self-publishing their novel. It was the first book cover I had ever worked on and I was quite happy with how it turned out. Unlike the majority of artists, I enjoy painting horses, so this was a pleasure to work on.


"Red and Snowflake" by Kevin McGivern

Every artist has had at least one client nightmare. Have you had any particularly noteworthy or funny experiences over the past years?

I have actually been pretty lucky with clients. I have heard horror stories from other artists, but I can't complain so far.

In saying that, I did have a terrible experience with an agent at one time. Not naming any names, but over the course of a year, they found me exactly 3 jobs, 2 of which took over 18 months to get paid! I have since decided that I will only ever work with an agent that is recommended by other artists.

Besides painting and art, what do you like to do in your spare time?

My biggest love is football. I actually played for Celtic youth team when I was younger and for a long time thought I was going to be a professional footballer. Much to the annoyance of my fiancée, I could watch any 2 teams kick a ball around a field.

I'm also a big movie fan and go to the cinema regularly. I also love how huge TV has become in the last few years. 10 years ago, the idea of the biggest movie stars in the world doing a TV series would be absurd. Now the standard of writing and production in television is so high a DVD box set is no effectively an 8-hour long movie!

I also love to travel and see the world. I have just returned from Stockholm (which was beautiful!) and in September I am going on a 2-week trip to Chicago, Boston and New York.


Kevin Mcgivern´s Set-Up ( #WacomWorkspace )

Besides pop culture you also illustrate a lot of sportsmen. How has sport influenced you throughout your career?

There are a lot of comparisons between sport and art. I often hear comments like “I wish I could draw like that” or “you have some talent!”. However, no one ever says this to athletes.

There is a general awareness that athletes train every day for years and years to get to the level they are at. It is exactly the same for art. In order to get better at art, you have to practice. It is as simple as that.

The trick, in both disciplines, is to enjoy the practice. Don't get annoyed or anxious that you aren't good enough; just know that today you are a little bit better than you were yesterday.

I have always drawn sportsmen. The first piece of art I ever sold was a pencil portrait of Cristiano Ronaldo. So I was delighted to get a call earlier this year from BT Sport, a huge sport TV Company in the UK. They were hiring a select group of artists to promote their Champions League coverage for this season. I often wanted to pinch myself that I was being paid to draw some of my sporting heroes, and then seeing my art on television! 


Champions League Art Work by Kevin Mcgivern

Finally, where do you see your artistic career moving to in the next few years? And do you have any personal goals?

How long have you got?! I still feel I am relatively early in my art career and I have many things I still want to achieve. Getting into Spectrum this year was a big deal for me, but there are other annuals like 3x3, Communication Arts and American Illustration that I would love to be featured in.

In terms of client work, I have had the opportunity to work with some great clients already such as Marvel, Penguin Random House and BT Sport, however, I do have some dream clients who I would love to work with one day such as Rolling Stone Magazine, Mondo, Tor Books, The New York Times – the list goes on. Gallery work is also something that interests me, in particular the pop culture galleries like Gallery 1988 and Bottleneck Gallery.

I would also love to grow my business by selling directly to customers. One day, I hope to be at the stage where I could create my own work and sell it directly. I thing I will always do commercial illustration but a balance of client work and personal work would be great.

-----------------------------------------------

That’s it for this instalment of Let’s Talk Art, I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview with Kevin McGivern.

Be sure to follow Kevin across his social platforms to see more of his artwork. He often has some great prints up for sale on his store so be sure to check those out!


As always, follow Wacom so you don’t miss the latest Let’s Talk Art interview and I’ll catch you in the next one!

Follow Kevin:
TwitterInstagramWebsiteStorePosterSpy

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Fri, 12 May 2017 13:17:00 +100
Letīs Talk Art with Luke Preece | Heavy Metal: Career Kick-Starter for illust... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-with-luke-preece-how-heavy-metal-and-movies-kick-started-luke-preeces-career/1093?c=2213303 Welcome to the third part of the Let's Talk Art series. In this interview, we chat with Luke Preece, a UK based artist and designer who has worked on some really exciting projects during his career. We'll be discussing Luke's inspirations, goals for his career and his unique, ...

Heavy Metal: Career Kick-Starter for illustrator Luke Preece

Welcome to the third part of the Let's Talk Art series. In this interview, we chat with Luke Preece, a UK based artist and designer who has worked on some really exciting projects during his career. We'll be discussing Luke's inspirations, goals for his career and his unique, instantly recognisable style, as well as his relatively new ventures into alternative poster art.

The aim of this series is to explore what it means to be an artist and to find out how artists have developed their craft over the years. Throughout the series Jack Woodhams will be chatting with artists from countries all over the world, many of whom have worked for incredible brands such as Disney, Marvel, BBC, 20th Century Fox, Empire Magazine and more!

So let´s talk art...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You often create artwork for popular rock bands such as Killswitch Engage, Danzig and Alice Cooper to name a few. Is music a primary driver in your creative process?

I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting, but before fully committing to art/ graphic design as a career choice, I played the electric guitar... A LOT. I was obsessed with it, from the age of 11 and I took lessons for about 4 years. At this time, it was the early 90’s and most of the music I listened to (and still do) were heavy metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Faith No More, Pantera, Sepultura, Rage Against The Machine, Down, and Corrosion Of Conformity. Basically, if it was crazy and heavy on the guitar I would learn it. I liked the challenge and found it very rewarding.

These were the days before the internet took off, so if I wanted to learn how to do something I’d watch my favourite band´s music videos and live concerts on VHS and work out what these guys were playing by pausing the tape. The other cool thing about this genre was the artwork for the album covers and the band merchandise. I suppose you could say that without realising, this aspect was seeping into my subconscious and would eventually come out through my artwork in later in life.

Naturally, I wanted to start my own band. So I’d jam with a bunch of like-minded friends after school, and during weekends, playing covers.

When I reached my 20’s I thought I could do this as a career. Unfortunately, I learned the very hard lesson that trying to make it in a band is probably one of the hardest ventures ever.

For the last couple of bands, I played in, we put in a lot of work and played as many shows as we could supporting bigger acts, all over the UK. I did all this whilst trying to hold down a day-job as a Graphic Designer as well.


One positive thing that came from this were the relationships I’d built up working with people in the music industry. Which would play a bigger part in my future.

The band stuff came to an end, but I was still creating artwork and graphic design. As long as I was being creative in some way, all was good.

What's your favourite gig poster that you've created, and why?

Whenever I’m asked this question I normally end up saying the latest thing I’ve worked on – which would be DEEP PURPLE + ALICE COOPER.

However, on this occasion, I’d have to say I really enjoyed creating THE KILLTHRAX TOUR poster I did for KILLSWITCH ENGAGE + ANTHRAX. Firstly, because I’m a big fan of both bands, but especially because I love Killswitch Engage.
Being able to work with bands is one thing, but working with the one’s you really admire is another.

The whole thing came together quite naturally. Killswitch Engage did a cover version of Dio’s track ‘Holy Diver’. The song features lyrics like “Jump on the tiger” and “like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue” amongst others. I thought I could make use of a tiger for the imagery. Anthrax tend to use a pentagram alongside their logo. So if I could somehow mould a tiger and a pentagram together that might work.

Also, I should say that I hardly ever sketch out these ideas at this stage. They normally just sit in my head for a week or so before I actually pick up a pencil or grab the Cintiq. It sounds kind of stupid but just coming up with the idea takes longer than actually creating the artwork itself.

Once I’m happy with the direction, I grab as much reference as possible. Pinterest is great for this kind of thing.

Sometimes, I do the mock-ups straight into Photoshop on the Wacom Cintiq but on this occasion, I created a rough sketch in my sketchbook with pencils and a brush-pen. Luckily, this got approved by Garageland straight away.

I scanned in my ink drawing, downed the opacity to around 10% and painted over the top on a separate layer in Adobe Photoshop. Once the black line work was done, I then removed the mock-up and decided to have its mouth covered in blood with it dripping into the band logo’s. I originally had the Anthrax Pentagram on the beast’s forehead but decided to swap this out for an inverted cross instead because I felt it looked better.

We decided to do 2 versions in the end. One against a white background and the other against black. These screen-prints will be 18” x 24” and are being sold by Garageland at the show at The Marquee, Tempe, AZ on March 20th. They will also be available online on the same da.

Besides your obvious love of heavy metal music, you're also influenced by film and TV. What do you find yourself being drawn to most in pop culture?

Being a child of the 80’s and 90’s I find myself being drawn to a lot to the films of that time. Also, this was arguably the best era for film, in my opinion.

I remember seeing the original Star Wars for the first time - the one they later renamed A New Hope. It totally blew my mind as a kid. I’d never seen anything like it. I wasn’t around in 1977 as I was born in 1980, but I had an older brother who I’d watch this stuff with on VHS.

British television during the Christmas break was the best too, because they’d show loads of classics like Indiana Jones, all the Star Wars films, Robocop, The Goonies, Terminator 1 and 2, Aliens, Flight of The Navigator, Tron, The Last Starfighter... I could go on. I would record these on VHS and watch them again and again.

As far as TV shows, I’d watch lots of cartoons like Mask, Transformers, Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Hero (Ninja) Turtles and Transformers. Live action stuff like Streethawk, Knight Rider, Airwolf, Blue Thunder, The Amazing Spiderman series from the 70’s, The A-Team, and more.

I should probably also mention that I enjoyed comics like The Dandy, The Beano and 2000 AD as well.

I also have fond memories of going to the local video shop to rent films with my step-dad. It may have smelled of damp carpets, cigarette smoke and the plastic video cases, but it was so exciting to me. I’d just stare up at the shelves looking at the art on the video boxes being completely mesmerised. It would be like “let’s get this one because this guy is wearing a leather jacket, shades and has one glowing red eye. He looks awesome”. I’m talking about the film ‘The Terminator’ obviously.

I remember seeing Aliens when I was way too young to watch it at a friend’s house. It gave nightmares for weeks. What a film though!

Obviously, all this stuff is massively nostalgic to me but there have been some fantastic movies lately as well. I’m really enjoying what they’re doing with the new Star Wars films. Also Mad Max was brilliant! I recently watched Arrival and I thought that was great!

These kinds of movies I’m sure all inspire what I work on and hope to work on in the future.

Your artwork features lots of heavy black line art and vivid colours. Is this a style that you've had for a long time?

It’s not really a conscious thing. I just draw stuff how I draw stuff. I pretty much always work in black and white when doing my mock-ups. It’s normally quite loose at that stage. I then submit this as a proof to whoever I’m working with.

Sometimes, it’s drawn straight into my sketchbook and other times in Adobe Photoshop on my Wacom Cintiq. If needed, I can make changes at this stage before I render the art out fully. After this is approved I get to work on the black line work, going into as much detail as possible. I like to make sure the whole thing works in tone first.

Colour is the last thing I work with. Also, the beauty of working digitally is that I can do a few variations on colour choices. Sometimes when doing screen-prints we might choose more than one variation so this works really well.

It’s not until you take a step back to look at your portfolio and you realise you have a certain way of doing things. Also, I’m definitely my worst critic. I look back at something I did 6 months ago and ask myself “what was I thinking?! This is terrible”. I’m my own worst enemy sometimes. However, I do think it’s important to question ‘does this work?’ or ‘should I change this or that?’. If you don’t, how would you ever improve or evolve?

There's been an increase of interest in your work recently, how does that make you feel?

It always feels great when people say nice things. It’s definitely a more recent thing though. I spent a few years creating artwork and having it go nowhere. It was more a case of me not knowing where to get noticed or who to approach.

It wasn’t until I started seeking advice by talking to other artists I admire and reaching out to various galleries when things started to change. I started pushing things online a little more as well. Instagram is a great tool for this and it’s where I get the most traffic online. Developing a website also helped. I created a few pieces of Star Wars fan art and that was the starting point for when it all went a little crazy.

After that PosterSpy approached me. Then I received an email from Garageland asking if I’d be interested in working with bands on some official gig posters in the US. Obviously, I jumped at the chance! I’ve more recently started working with Hero Complex Gallery which has been really exciting.

A lot of artists worry whether their style will be appreciated. Do you think about this or do you prefer to create without thinking about the public reaction?

I try not to think about it too much. Not everyone is going to be into my style. But if people like my stuff and they want to pick up a print, or whatever, then that’s great.

The one thing I struggled with for years was trying to come up with a style that was consistent and my own. I’m influenced by a lot of other artists... Pushead, Mike McMahon, Steve Dillon, John Baizley to name a few... and I didn’t want to unintentionally rip anyone off, I guess.

I didn’t want to be a poor man’s version of ‘insert name here’ kind of thing. I’d like to think I’ve found a nice balance between illustration and graphic design and managed to make that my own. Saying that, I’m not ashamed to wear my influences on my sleeve either.

Based on your experience, is there anything you recommend for artists trying to get their work seen?

First, make sure you have a really strong portfolio of work and a nicely designed website that represents your best stuff. Less is more... don’t fill it with clutter. As long as the work is your strongest, you stand a better chance of getting noticed. I used to have a blog, which served a purpose for a while but it didn’t look that great. It can make things confusing when people are trying to look at your work for the first time. You can build your own website quite easily nowadays with web services like Squarespace. I built mine that way and they offer slick templates that you build upon and cater them to your needs.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from other artists and the people you want to work with. You’d be surprised at the number of nice people who are willing to help and offer encouragement. Not everyone will respond though - some will just tell you that they don’t like your work or you might even get ignored. Don’t let this discourage you though. I still get dismissive emails even now. Ignore it, it doesn’t matter. For every negative there will be a positive.

Thirdly, try to attend events when you can. Face to face networking with people you want to work with. If your work is good and you make a good impression something might come of it.

Finally, don’t expect these things to happen overnight. I know it’s frustrating as hell but be patient. If your work is good something WILL happen. It took me a while to learn that. I still haven’t achieved half the things I want to do.

If you ever find yourself struggling for ideas, how do you overcome the 'block'?

I have an awesome wife, 2 great children and a weird cat. Those guys definitely help me to relax and unwind. I go to the gym when I can and I’ve always got my guitars and music. Me and a couple of friends get together to jam from time to time. We normally just play Black Sabbath covers REALLY loud at a local rehearsal studio. Sometimes, just watching a movie or listening to music helps spark an idea. Especially when I’m working with a band on something. I’ll listen to a load of their stuff and a lyric in one of the songs might stand out to me. That can sometimes help relieve the ‘block’ as you say.

As well as using a Wacom tablet for your work, you also use a traditional sketchpad to jot down initial ideas. Do you find this is essential to your workflow?

I carry 2 sketchbooks with me most days. One A4 and one A5, plus a mixture of brush pens, graphical pens, pencils and other stuff. I love using my Cintiq... I mean, it’s where I create the majority of my artwork, but sometimes I just need to draw on paper to get an idea down. It’s also great if I’m away from the studio. So, in answer to the question... I’d say yes, it’s essential.

You've been a long time user of Wacom products, 12 years almost. At home you use a Wacom Cintiq. Can you tell us about how important this tool is to your work?

By day I work as a Senior Concept Artist/ Graphic Designer for a video game developer. There, I use a Wacom Cintiq 22HD and it’s a fantastic bit of kit. The screen feels so natural when creating artwork. At home I use an older model, the Cintiq 21” DTZ 2100 with an iMac. Again, this a great screen. Yes, it’s an older model but it really is a testament to Wacom that this screen is still going strong after all these years.

The way I look at it is this - just because you own the latest kit and have the latest software doesn’t make you an expert at what you do. That takes commitment, effort and experience. It works great for me and I don’t have any reason to update it right now. That doesn’t mean I won’t be looking to upgrade in the future. The latest Cintiq Pro models do look great.

Before this, I used Wacom pen tablets. I still have an Intuos 3 in fact. However, once I started playing around with the Cintiq, I couldn’t go back to a regular tablet. Drawing straight onto the screen feels so much more natural to me. I know people that have tried cheaper brands and models, but they are never as good as the line of Wacom products available right now. They are simply the best at what they do.

You're going to be taking part in an art show at the Hero Complex Gallery on May 19th in Los Angeles. What do you gain from taking part in collaborative exhibits?

Most people will probably know how respected HCG are. So, when I got invited to take part in an exhibition I was extremely flattered and excited. I’m hoping this will bring my work to a larger audience too. They work with some of the best creatives from around the globe so being asked is truly awesome. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss what I’ve been working on just yet. What I can say is that it’s probably one of my most ambitious pieces to date. I can also say that they will be transforming the gallery for a one-of-a-kind experience for this show.

HCG are an absolute pleasure to work with too and give really constructive feedback. The problem working on your own sometimes is that you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off. Adam at HCG has been great for this. Really positive and encouraging throughout the entire process.

My screen prints have been produced by the guys over at Seizure Palace. Chances are if you’ve bought a really nice screen print recently, it was probably printed by them. They’ve done an outstanding job. They came out great!

So, if you’re in the LA area from May 19th be sure to head over to the Hero Complex Gallery and check out what I’ve been up to.

I think the show is lasting for 3 weeks and I know that they have some other fantastic artists involved as well. I’m in really good company. For more information on the show head over to www.hcgart.com.

How does it feel being involved in the official The Thing art book created for Printed in Blood? The book features hundreds of posters created by artists all sharing their love for the John Carpenter classic.  

Being asked to create exclusive artwork for an ‘art of’ book is a first for me. So, when Printed in Blood asked if I’d like to contribute to The Art Of The Thing Book to celebrate its 35th anniversary, obviously I jumped at the chance. The other thing that makes this so cool is that John Carpenter and Eli Roth are both involved in the project.

I’ll be honest, I was way too young to watch this movie when it was originally released in 1982. I didn’t watch it until the late 90’s when I at a friend’s house. I do remember thinking how awesome and grotesque all the imagery and effects were. The practical effects are just stunning. It really is a masterpiece of the horror genre. Also, Kurt Russell is a total dude in the film.

The book is a weighty hardback made up of 400 pages and is absolutely crammed full of fantastic artwork by some of the best artists ever. I saw the list of creatives involved and I’ll admit it was hard not feel slightly intimidated. The book is being released in early July by Printed in Blood and you can pre-order your copy online.

Also, as an extra bonus I’ll be exhibiting my artwork with Creature Features Art Gallery in Burbank, California on April 8th 2017 along with a load more artists from the book. I’ll also be selling a limited run of x 10 giclee prints. These are being printed at A2 and will be available to purchase at the show. All information can be found at Creature Features Facebook page.

Do you have any personal goals that you'd like to achieve, regarding your work?

Obviously, there are a few more licenses and bands I’d like to work for in the future. Star Wars and Metallica are definitely at the top of that list. Also, there are more galleries I’d love to work with like Bottleneck, Dark Ink and Mondo to name a few.

For now, I’ll just keep on plugging away as I am. I’ve already accomplished so much in such a short amount of time and I’m excited to see what the future brings.

For some time, you worked at 2000 AD on some projects for Judge Dredd. This is a dream job for many artists. How did it feel working on such a huge cult title?

Back in 2004, I’d been made redundant from a job and bumped into my long-time friend creative Pye Parr in our local pub. He was already working in The Nerve Centre for The Mighty Tharg as a Graphic Designer. It came up in conversation that they were looking for someone to help design an entire line of Graphic Novels. I went for the interview at Rebellion, in Oxford, and got the job the same day! Maybe I just got lucky, who knows...

Whilst working there I got to work on some pretty awesome stuff. Like designing the now famous Judge Dredd Case Files series, creating cover art for Alan Moore’s Future Shocks, plus a whole line of graphic novels and merchandise. I also helped designing the weekly comic 2000 AD and The Judge Dredd Megazine.

The other great thing about that job was, I got to meet a lot of amazing people who have shaped the world of comics that we know today. Pat Mills, Dave Gibbons, Jock, Henry Flint, Simon Davis, Alec Worley, Boo Cook to name a few. Some of us still keep in touch which is great. I have a lot of respect for their commitment and amazing talent.

I worked at 2000 AD for 9 years, but in the end I’d got to the point where I felt couldn’t really do any more from a graphic design perspective. It was time for me to move on. I wanted to experience new challenges and take what I’d learnt and put it into something else. Little did I know that in years to come I would be the one getting commissioned by Tharg (Editor Matt Smith) to create covers for the weekly comic. I’ve recently started working on another Judge Dredd prog cover which will be unveiled later this year.

At the time I never really gave it much thought. I needed a job and it just so happened to be at the Galaxies Greatest Comic. I’d read 2000 AD over the years and I knew how cherished it was by a lot of people all over the world. It wasn’t until I left that I realised how awesome it was. I look back on that experience extremely fondly now. I’m very proud to have been and continue to be a part of something larger than little old me.

How often do you draw per week and do you feel consistency is important?

I draw everyday mostly as it’s how I make a living. It pays the bills and supports my family, so for me it’s a necessity. I tend to take a break at weekends but if I’ve got a deadline to meet then I’ll put in extra hours in the evenin

gs and weekends. It does help that I love my job so I have no problem with being creative all the time. I am very lucky!

Currently you're working on some Topps cards for Star Wars: Rogue One and Lucasfilm. How did you first get into this and was it difficult designing the cards?

Last year, I reached out to Topps to see if they had any illustration work that I might be able to work on for the Star Wars license. They got back to me and said they liked my work and asked if I’d like to do a set of sketch cards. I chose to do 110 cards, 10 of those I would get to keep as artist proofs which I could sell to collectors. I did have to go through the approval process with Lucas Film and luckily all my cards made the cut apart from a couple of spoiler cards.

I’ve actually finished my set for Rogue One and another set for the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars this year. I will admit that as fun as it is drawing official Star Wars imagery on tiny cards, it can become a bit of a grind getting them finished. Especially when you have to create 4 duplicates of every card to make up the full set.

Sketch cards will probably be something I’ll dip into every so often in the future maybe. I love the franchise but it won’t be the primary focus. I’d rather have the opportunity to create a one-off piece for Star Wars which is officially licensed in the form of an art print.

You're working more on poster designs for movies. Was there a reason you decided to do that or just a natural progression?

I guess it was a case of taking what I’d learned over the years as a graphic designer and seeing if I could marry that with my illustration work. A lot of other creatives, galleries and websites like PosterSpy opened my eyes to this way of working. I found it really inspiring and enjoyed the challenge.

Creating gig posters, for example, was a great way of taking the two things I love (music and art) and putting them together in the form of a poster. Also, the idea of someone wanting to own my creations felt very rewarding. It’s also kind of replicates that feeling I’d get from when I used to play in bands and people would enjoy the music you’d created. You can’t beat that feeling, it’s awesome!

Finally, what advice would you give artists looking to improve their work?

Work hard, be good at what you do and NEVER give up. It took years for me to get to where I am now. The best thing is I’m just getting started.

 

Hopefully you enjoyed reading the interview.

That's the end of this month’s Let's Talk Art instalment with Luke Preece. It was great to chat about Luke's influences, style and plans for the future regarding his work. Big thank you to artist Luke Preece for taking the time to chat, follow him on the social media to discover more of his artwork: 
Twitter – Instagram – Website

 

Let's Talk Art series is written by Jack Woodhams, founder of PosterSpy.
Twitter – Website 

Follow Wacom on social channels to stay up to date with the series and to be informed about future Let's Talk Art articles.
Facebook – Twitter  Instagram – Website – Youtube

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Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:34:18 +100
Wacom at Design Indaba 2017 http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1092/sCategory/2213303 Sponsored by Wacom myself (Caroline Vos), Carmen Ziervogel and Ree Treweek were delighted to attend this years premier design event, the Design Indaba 2017. We experienced a cast of the world’s best creative minds, sharing inimitable inspiration, new perspectives and universal...

Wacom at Design Indaba 2017

Sponsored by Wacom myself (Caroline Vos), Carmen Ziervogel and Ree Treweek were delighted to attend this years premier design event, the Design Indaba 2017. We experienced a cast of the world’s best creative minds, sharing inimitable inspiration, new perspectives and universal solutions. 

Welcoming us at the entrance was SellyRabe Kane’s dream like installation of Dali’esque sculptures. Like a Burning Man installation - the mood was set for a creative get together.

No Heels of Fancy Outfits

The event was incredibly well attended. Lots of young folks and what seemed like a massive amount of students thronged at the breakfast stands lining up for their dose of coffee before the conference got started. The vibe was casual chic, everyone prepared for a day of hard workshopping - no heels or fancy outfits - people were here to listen and take notes. The conference was prompt and everyone was invited in for the start of the talks. 

Technology led the conference - everything well organised - fingerprint scanning for attendance, designer recycled bags for our goodies, charging stations, VR booths and the Red Room Photo booth ushered us into the main hall.

We entered the conference area quickly but the first floor of the conference area was already full and we took our seats on the upper level.

Conference Highlights

Non-caffeine Stimulation

The talks were fascinating and as the host, Michelle Constant explained, we would need our stamina. We were in for a long day with free coffee flowing and plenty of stimulation other than caffeine. We kicked off with South African designer Duo Dokter and Missus. This was, it turned out , our favourite event of the day. The Johannesburg design team blew us away with their slick co-ordinated dance and Video routine. Their presentation was abstract and perfectly in line with their ethos and product style.

Carmen Ziervogel: The husband and wife team presented their video with live dance collaborators reminiscent of a modern Bauhaus style with African inspiration. What I found interesting about their work process, is that they respond to personal and political climates, such as the Xenophobic attacks which happened in their home town, Johannesburg, a few years ago. Their response was to create products that made their customers feel peaceful, using cool neutrals and softer shapes instead of their usual bold, bright African colours and geometric lines.

The importance of creating products for their aesthetic value alone also stood out, not just catering for consumers needs, but their own creative needs too.

Sensory explorations in South Africa

Kaja Dahl (Norwegian product and funiture designer) presented next. Her product spoke for her - a stunning design created from organics and inspired by her sensory explorations in South Africa, was selected as the event gift for all the speakers. I was more than jealous as it looked absolutely gorgeous. The applicator is natural sea sponge with solid perfume cast onto it, which softly transfers via the wearer's skin temperature.  This physical, ritualistic application and ancient natural applicator speaks visually of her process as well as making the sensory feeling tangible.

Taputti and the Sea is her bespoke fragrance: She uses intuitive sensory research to choose her scents, which have the ability to mix and match according to mood,  based on natural objects such as local seaweed and rocks. 

Dialogical Design

Arjun Harrison-Man London-based designer and activist, co-founder of Studio Hyte) introduced the audience to "dialogical design", a way in which human interaction online can make a difference to the lives of differently abled people, especially in the context of activism. His philosophy is to make the subject and the audience as important as each other, as he says "systems can't feel compassion, humans can", creating more ethical ways for the viewer to interact with the system. His project "Rights not Games" embodied this spirit, allowing differently abled people to speak up for themselves online and be heard.

We took a quick lunch break, charging our phones and Wacom products. We had Wacom Smartpads with us that we used inside of the conference hall to scribble notes. We were sponsored lunch packs and took a break to refuel before heading back in for the second half of the day’s talks.

What3Words

What3Words is an amazing little app that brings an address to everyone, everywhere via 3 words. If you are wondering why this would be necessary, well, 75 percent the world suffer from poor to non-existent addressing. The world is divided into 3  by 3 square metre cubes by founder Chris Sheldrick  - assigning each cube to one unique 3 word combination. This allows emergency access and deliveries to rural communities without an address and even has the capabilities to pin down a mid ocean location - which makes me think nautical rescues could be easily aided by this app. It was also mentioned that the app was found to be useful, in case of emergencies, for festival goers attending large events where exact location in a sea of people is difficult for medical teams. Through the app you are able to pinpoint and communicate your exact position more succinctly than any other method. We have all downloaded it already. My home address is quite strange - you should definitely check it out!

Ayse Birsel - Design The Life You Want to Live

Using design as a tool to conquer whatever challenges life throws her way Ayse suggests we do the same. She gave a unique and interactive talk that I found very inspiring. I loved watching her doodles unfold on the screen as she talked  through her holistic approach in using design to live life uniquely and successfully. Challenging the audience to share their role models, I  was able to question who my heroes are, and how I am in more ways than I realise, similar to them.

Cycled Vintage Furniture

A playful yet emotional talk was given by Nigerian Artist Yinka Ilori. This was by far one of my favourite presentations. He makes beautiful art work from up cycled vintage furniture.  I really felt connected with each of his designs as he talked about the inspiration and lifestyle behind them - as though I was physically connected - by my derrière on each chair!  Inspired by Nigerian parables and fabrics from Africa he brings his aesthetic to the world stage, with long list of impressive accolades. His talk was really fun, colourful and emotive.

Grand Finale

The grand finale for the talks was the launch of "Little Diamond”, the big brother to Danish/Icelandic Artist Olafur Eliassson’s “Little Sun”. An art piece that translates as light for those without the facilities to pay for kerosene lighting in poverty stricken areas throughout the world.

At the end of the talks we strolled outside to enjoy some socialising before heading off to have a look at the “Most beautiful object in Africa” and “The Emerging Creatives” exhibition. The vibe was festive and Mumm Champagne was served with a side of Chilli Tacos! 

Emerging Creatives and Most Beautiful Object in Africa"

After a short break we made our way to the Emerging Creatives exhibition stopping to admire the collaborative work of South African ceramicist Andile Dyalvane (his collaboration with fellow speakers at Design Indaba, gt2P). gt2P ( Great Things to People ) is a Chilean design group that spoke at the Festival of their projects inspired by their local culture and traditional materials and techniques.

We were shown impressive furniture and decorative pieces constructed from stone and Volcanic rock as well as a technique for casting ceramic bowls shared with Andile Dyalvane and brought to our own shores in Andile's creative instalment at the Artscape theatre entrance to the Emerging Creatives exhibition.

The emerging creatives exhibit was a showcase of young designers recently graduated from art institutions throughout South Africa.

Here we found a number of artists very excited by wacoms products. Some young designers that caught our eye were Jack Fox (Keya Murphy) , creating black and white line art and participating in street art, music and video concepts.

Robin Erispe creates punks skater art by with a powerful punch, vibrant and entertaining tattoo and comic inspired lines and colour.

Embossed illustrated work by storyteller Lauren Nel creates stories and and art work for the blind and equally for those with sight as the stories are entertaining and visually captivating for all.

Ink inspired art by young creative Mario Nobrega, a young Graphic Designer as well as photographer, caught our eye with his booth.

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Fri, 17 Mar 2017 16:11:00 +100