Wacom eStore - official Onlinestore Wacom InfoChannel http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel?p=4 2018-05-25T18:47:08Z 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

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

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

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.

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:

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

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 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.

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 16:11:00 +100
Tutorial | Sculpting Demo for Beginners with the Wacom Intuos 3D & ZBrushCore... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1091/sCategory/2213303 Digital sculptor and character designer Joern Zimmermann, working at Ubisoft, did us a favour by creating a sculpting demo for beginners. He will take you through sculpting a demon head. Starting from a base head mesh that comes with ZBrushCore and using a couple of basic tools.

Sculpting Demo for Beginners with the Wacom Intuos 3D & ZBrushCore Bundle

Digital sculptor and character designer Joern Zimmermann, working at Ubisoft, did us a favour by creating a demo for beginners with our Intuos 3D and Pixologic´s ZBrushCore.

This article is written by Jörn himself and from his perspective. The demo is also available on Youtube.

Important to Know Before we Start

In this tutorial, we’ll sculpt a demon head. Starting from a base head mesh that comes with ZBrushCore and using a couple of basic tools. There is a section with a quick explanation at the beginning of video part 1.

You start out in symmetry mode along the x-axis by default. You can toggle the symmetry by hitting the X key.
Make use of the Subtool panel. It helps you organize the different parts of the mesh and easily work on them individually.
You can inverse the effect of a brush by holding the ALT key (e.g. carving into the mesh instead of building up material).
The Dynamesh functionality (in the Geometry panel) redistributes the geometry evenly on your mesh by ALT+ dragging on the canvas (outside of the mesh) - no limits to your creativity!
The finer the details you want to add, the more resolution you’ll need (by increasing the Dynamesh resolution or subdividing the mesh).
It’s best to start out with a low-resolution mesh and start blocking-in the basic shapes. You can increase the resolution and add smaller details, as you go along and once you’re happy with the basic forms.
Check out the tutorials from Pixologic, they explain everything in detail in short and understandable videos.

Blocking Out the Basic Shapes

To start, we open up the LightBox by pressing the button on the upper left or by hitting the , key. Double-click on the DemoHead.ZPR.

Then open the Geometry panel in the right shelf and head to the Dynamesh section. In this stage, I usually set the Blur to 0 and disable the Project feature. Hit the Dynamesh button and we’re ready to go.

To select a brush, simply click on the brush icon top left, select one from the bottom shelf or just hit B and open the floating panel. We’ll begin by modifying the shape of the DemoHead using mainly the Move, Smooth and maybe the ClayBuildup brushes.

Just play around and try to find a cool shape. You can always undo each step or duplicate something you like in the Subtool panel and explore from there. If the mesh is too deformed to properly work on it, simply re-Dynamesh (ALT-drag on the canvas) and continue with a clean mesh. Just go crazy until you find something you like.

Adding Parts

Since we want to sculpt a demon head, we’ll need horns and pointy ears :-) We can add them by inserting primitives - spheres in this case - with the IMM (Insert Multi Mesh) brush.
Once the new parts are inserted, ZBrush automatically creates a mask on everything but the new parts. This is very handy as you can now directly work on the new parts while the rest of your model is protected by the mask.

Or you can go to the Split section in the Subtool panel and hit „Split Unmasked“ and you’ll instantly have a separate subtool, created out of the inserted parts.

In this case, we’ll do exactly that for the horns. The ears, we’ll leave on the mesh. Clear the mask (ALT-drag on canvas - when a mask is active, this clears it; without mask this re-Dynameshes the model). Now Alt-drag on the canvas again and the ears are part of the head mesh.


The fangs are added exactly like the ears and horns. We’ll split them apart and adjust the form of the mouth to make them fit.
With the Move, hPolish and DamStandard brushes, we’ll block out the basic shape of the teeth.

Adding the First Details to the Face

After inserting eyes with the IMM brush, we can start adding some detail to the face. With the ClayBuildup, DamStandard, Smooth and Move brushes, we can define some facial features and add wrinkles and skin detail.

Detailing the Horns

Once we’re happy with the basic shapes, we can add more Dynamesh resolution. With the DamStandard (using the ALT key here to make creases instead of carving into the mesh), TrimDynamic and hPolish brushes, we work on the form of the horns and sharpen the features to make them look more solid and dangerous ;-)

To break up the shapes and make them more interesting, we can mask parts of the mesh and work separately on it. This way, with the Move brush, we create overlapping segments.

Let’s finalize the horns by adding some micro detail. We’ll use alphas to easily add them all over the place. Under the brush button top left, you’ll find a button for the mode in which the alpha is applied and a button to select an alpha. 
In a nutshell, an alpha is a texture applied in 3D - geometry applied directly on the mesh. Just pick different alphas and test out the different modes to see how they work.

Here, we’ll add the details in two steps: first we add a bump effect over the complete mesh of the horns, using the Spray mode. Following-up with some crooked lines that we apply via DragRect mode and holding ALT to carve them into the horns. Increase the Dynamesh resolution if needed.

Remove Unnecessary Parts

Since this will be a bust, we don’t really need the shoulders. We mask them out and hit CTRL+W to make them a separate polygroup. Polygroups serve to organize your mesh. Basically, you can show or hide each polygroup separately, without needing to have them as separate subtools.
CTRL+SHIFT+clicking on the part of the mesh we want to keep, we’re hiding the other parts. Now going to the Geometry panel > Modify Topology and click Del Hidden - and the unwanted parts are gone. And re-Dynameshing once again to close the holes - done.

Detailing the Head

Time to add details to the head. Increasing the Dynamesh resolution to suit our needs and using mainly the ClayBuildup, DamStandard and Standard brushes, we add more and finer details to the head. Play around with the Brush Size and Z Intensity sliders (top shelf or press + hold SPACE to open up a floating panel) for the right control over your brush strokes.

Finally, we also add some micro details to the head. Using different alphas, we first add a layer of pores (low Z Intensity recommended). Following-up with a striped alpha (which we turn 90° in the Alpha Menu) to add a ribbed structure for some highlights. And, as a last step, using another alpha to add some structure to selected areas.

And that’s it - we turned the nice and innocent DemoHead into a nasty Demon! ;-)

I hope you’ll have fun following along and creating your own sculpts - happy ZBrushing! 


Video Part 1:

Video Part 2:

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 15:10:37 +100
Interview | Letīs Talk Art with John Keaveney http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/interview-lets-talk-art-with-john-keaveney/1090?c=2213303 This time I'm chatting with London based illustrator John Keaveney who often combines traditional painting methods with digital finishing techniques to create his stunning work. In this interview, we'll be discussing illustration training, the importance of social media and se...

Let´s Talk Art with John Keaveney

Welcome to the second interview in the #LetsTalkArt series. 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 I (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!

This time I'm chatting with London based illustrator John Keaveney who often combines traditional painting methods with digital finishing techniques to create his stunning work. In this interview, we'll be discussing illustration training, the importance of social media and self promotion as well as the evolution of style and technique.

So, let's talk art...

Your art style is very unique; you tend to combine traditional and digital styles. Can you tell us more about your workflow?

Lots of research is done and reference material is gathered before I start my sketches. I break my ideas down to decide which are the basic elements I want to include and I try and fit them into a composition. Sometimes I'll go through a couple; sometimes I'll go through 5-10 initial concept designs. Once I’m decided on my composition I begin working into detail. I use a range of techniques and mediums to create my final illustrations. I paint with acrylic or gouache paints to create a traditional textured aesthetic, once I’m happy at this stage, the artwork is scanned into the computer. I digitally add tones and work into the piece further, colour is applied in Photoshop.

Working digitally helps me have control over the final process. The Wacom tablet I use has been designed to feel as natural as possible, which supports my traditional style. The benefits of digital painting are helping me to produce work faster, being more flexible and allowing me to enhance my paintings or correct proportions and mistakes.

When working on new art, how do you best discover the best composition or style for the piece?

I use pencil and paper or Adobe Photoshop to sketch concepts. I tend to look at cinematography for inspiration. When I was a student I would study artists that I admired to learn how they approached their work.

Usually the subject matter decides the approach to composition. When creating a new artwork I always ask myself, what’s the story? Who is my target audience? My job as an illustrator is to portray a story through illustration and making it engaging with my work. I generally focus on the protagonist as the focal point.

In 2010 you graduated from Portsmouth University, England, would you say that studying at University helped to excel your skills as an illustrator?

The illustration course at the University Portsmouth is respected for its emphasis on professional practice and contextual Research in Illustration. The course helped me with exploring different materials and techniques I would never use otherwise. But I developed my existing skills through specialist workshops which included print workshops, Adobe workshops, etching, printing and photography. Whilst at University I was able to explore themes such as, narrative and sequential illustration, ethical and social positioning of the artist, and exploring literary sources for inspiration.

The third year of University was focused on self promotion, which encouraged us to challenge ourselves, push boundaries and realise your potential as visual practitioners. We had professional illustrators David Lupton, Sara Fanelli and other working illustrators discuss their working career. A significant experience, that provided us with a basic understanding of the commercial world of illustration.

For any artists reading this who may not be able to go to University, what advice would you give them in regards to progressing their talents?

For me it was a great experience. It was a place to make friends, advance my skill set and learn to be independent. University courses allow you the opportunity to explore techniques and mediums you wouldn’t else be able to do whether you find you enjoy them or not!

The internet has created an explosion of opportunity for digital designers and artists. Today the high amount of accessible tutorials and guidance access is everywhere. Video tutorials are accessible in an instant on YouTube, Instagram, social media and for free.Self-taught skills are great, I’ve taught myself a lot of techniques over the years including airbrush and sculpting. But being at University surrounded by other students in the same position as yourself helps push your creatively and communication skills. The knowledge you can obtain from others experiences can really boost your skills. I feel a University degree helps you get your foot in the door if you plan on working in an art related industry. At the end of the day, it’s up to you and which what path you want to go, and how much effort you put into it. I think it’s defiantly possible to become a successful illustrator without a degree.

Throughout your career you’ve worked in many different sectors, from pop culture to fashion to storyboarding. Is there a sector you prefer or would like to work more in?

Over my career, I have professionally worked as an in-house designer and illustrator for design agencies as well as taking on freelance projects form my home studio. I’ve learnt a lot so far over my profession. I originally thought the best carrier suited to me would be a concept artist but as my style developed over time I realised I was more suited to working at a slower pace on detailed pieces. I have become quite a perfectionist.

Right now I am where I always wanted to be, creating alternative Licensed and official movie Posters and being a freelancer, deciding which clients I want to work with is great.

I am passionate about film and cinema so having the opportunity to interoperate my favourite characters and films couldn’t be more awesome. I often get to choose the characters or subject matter when creating a new piece. I feel my best work has come out of being passionate about the subject.

Talk a little about your process, how do you create your art?

I paint in greyscale and then add colour digitally. Traditional paint can be unpredictable, from using textured brushes to watercolours. They have various densities and blending properties, so each requires a different treatment.

When working in Photoshop, there are great advances to drawing and painting that counts. Drawing on my Wacom effortlessly I can paint knowing that I can fully control the process. I have the ability to easily able to go back in my history tab, effortlessly colour enhancing my works. I use custom brushes that have the appearance of a traditional paint brush. When drawing traditionally, you'd need to spend a lot of time carefully building up layers to make such an effect. You know exactly what you want to do, it just takes a lot of time.

In the past year you’ve had some of your work sold via Bottleneck Gallery in New York, including some officially licensed prints. How did you get to that point?

Having worked for Empire Design (Award Winning Design Agency) for a few years has been one of the biggest helps in my career. Whilst working at Empire I designed and created concepts campaigns for Official movies & TV. I was lucky enough to work on some amazing campaigns. Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, ParaNorman, Alan Partridge, James Bonds Skyfall, Drive, Stoker to name a few.

After working at Empire I had a desire to keep creating poster artwork, this time focusing on cult classics. Movies and Pop culture have always appealed to. There is a community of poster collectors out there and I think that's partly due to companies like Bottleneck Gallery, Grey Matter Art, Mondo and PosterSpy. The release of alternative posters is growing, a large community of artists and movie fans that follow this movement. I entered a few creative briefs, including a PosterSpy competition designing a poster for ‘Star Wars The Force Awakens’. My artwork gained recognition online through social media which went viral. The gallery contacted me interested in collaborating on such projects and the rest is history.

Being part of the Bottleneck Gallery has been such a great experience, to have this extended network of friends. Having my work sold online next to artists like Drew Struzan, Tomer Hanuka and Laurent Durieux such talents and a great honour to be amongst them.

For artists looking to collaborate with galleries or to sell their work, what advice would you give?

I would research the gallery or design agency website you plan to approach. See if your work is a match to the other art they sell, or maybe your style might fit in. Being polite and friendly, showing that you are someone that they’d see having a good working relationship with. Your work must be up-to-date, have a web site, not just a social media account of available work. Show current work not artwork that was done 5 years ago in high school. They would want to see what this year's work looks like. 

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back. Not everyone will get back to you. I’ve being the same position, and it takes time and perseverance. Keep the work flowing and explore different ways to grab people’s attention. Most importantly make sure to listen to feedback, have an open mind. Speak to the illustrators you aspire to and ask them advice.

What’s your favourite illustration that you’ve created in the last 3 years?

Tough one, usually it tends to be whatever I'm working on currently. I guess I would have to pick the campaign poster I designed for the film ‘Stoker’ collaborated with my partner whilst working at Empire Design. The mood in that piece is really close to what I shoot for in all of my work and the drawing seems to speak well for itself. 

The poster is fully hand drawn illustration. It’s not often you get to draw a fully illustrated official poster. As more often than not posters these days are created in Photoshop. I was included as part of the film trailer for ‘The Making of the International Teaser Poster’ showing me and my partner drawing the poster over the trailer, fun experience! Seeing my artwork printed onto Advertising posters/buses on my way to work in the mornings was a bit surreal. Furthermore the work we created was shown at the Curzon cinema Premiere. Whilst at the Premiere I got a chance to speak to the talented Old Boy director Park Chan-Wook. I managed to meet up with him after the premiere. He mentioned he loved the poster artwork we created for his campaign. He was totally humble friendly guy!

Another favourite piece of illustration I created recently was Marvels Captain America for Bottleneck Gallery/Grey Matter Arts. It was a dream; I’ve always loved comics as a kid, so I had a personal connection to the piece.

In 2010 you were an exhibitor at the New Designers exhibit in London, one of the most important events for student and graduate artists. How did you find this experience useful?

Very useful! I went 2 years, first as a student, second year I was invited back as a graduate for the ‘One Year On exhibition’. The New Designers exhibit was a great experience to meet other students and graduates in exactly the same position as you. 

It was a great opportunity to interact with design companies and get advice. I received useful guidance from The Association of Illustrators. Explaining the best ways to get an agent or and get your work out there. Helping you recognize your own abilities and give you the tools to develop them. New Designers is a great place to sell yourself, offering networking and connections that might help you get a job in design or freelance projects.

For graduates or emerging artists, what is the 1 most important thing you tell yourself as an illustrator to stay motivated?

I am motivated by film trailers and upcoming releases. My licensed poster for The Force Awakens was purely motivated by my excitement for the movie and being a big fan of the franchise. I keep myself motivated by choosing subjects that excite me. 

It’s hard at times to keep the motivation up, if I’ve hit a wall I have to take a break and make sure I’m looking after myself.  I make sure to get enough exercise which will not only improve my physical health but also reduce stress, enhance my mood and overall well being, which will aid my creative practice. Whenever I hit a problem with my creative process I try a different approach, try experimenting with different angles. Being positive and actively articulating your ideas with a partner improves your overall well-being.

Some illustrators find too much exposure to artwork hinders their own creations, how do you feel about the enormous amount of work available to view online?

Creativity comes from everywhere, everyday life, from a photo or a conversation you had that day. Originality is difficult at times, most artist have been inspired the way they perceive the world around them. The artwork I see online pushes my creativity to produce work that progresses my work.

A lot of the time we subconsciously take in what we see.  Every major influence of mine is present in my thought process, whether I'm intending it or not.  A lot of art is created from personal experience, memory, observation, and imagination but I think we can’t help but be inspired by online research, trends and movements.

You currently use an Intuos Pro Graphics tablet for your work, how does the tablet aid your workflow?

I've used Wacom products for about 9 years now. It’s being an essential tool and wise investment. It speeds things up enormously. Whenever I’m conceptualizing ideas or creating storyboards the Wacom tablet has being ideal for quick sketch creations. I have been using the tablet for so many years that it feels natural to work with. The Intuos Pro has advanced over the years creating it even more of a comfortable experience. The pen pressure sensitivity has improved and feels more accurate than ever. 

Using my Intuos Pro I have a huge advantage over my workflow, especially for detail-oriented image editing. When using it with Photoshop, the pressure sensitivity applies to my brushes helps my work look and feel almost traditional. I’m able to blend colours, add effects, and apply retouching techniques efficiently creating maximum productivity within my workspace. I sometimes use custom brushes to recreate authentic looking textures. Combing my traditional work, doesn’t deter my productivity, but allows me to have much more control over the final outcome.

You have worked on some ‘pin up’ style illustrations for pop culture characters. What draws you to the pin up style?

I appreciate the female form and the glamour of pin up art, it’s a beautiful subject. I love vintage pin up art and Pulp. It’s a big inspiration to my work. I like to create pin ups that have a vintage feel with a modern edge. 

With the huge landscape of social media and the overwhelming amount of art that’s available online, do you feel like it’s becoming essential as an artist to utilise these platforms? 

For me creating a social media account has helped immensely. I’m not the best at self promotion; I’m usually laid back and reserved. But social media helped me find my voice and has been a great tool for me to communicate to my supporters and other members of the art community. The potential for social media is huge, and if your work is good, people will begin to follow you. Depending on where you are as an artist, you can at the very least have a way for followers and clients to contact you directly. It’s created a platform for artists to showcase what they could do and connect directly with their peers.

Creating a presence online with social media helps exposure, your artwork shown to the world. These social platforms have led to the vast majority of work for many artists.

As a freelance illustrator, how important is self-promotion and do you have any advice for artists looking to promote their own work?

Self promotion is massively important as a designer or artist; arguably the most important brand that you ever work on is your own. Being able to demonstrate your compassion, creativity and dedication. After graduating from the University I spent a few years working on my portfolio and starting to get my work seen by clients to gain commissions.

The Internet is probably the first port of call for most clients these days when sourcing an designer or illustrator. Promoting your work on website portfolios, blogs, inspiration sites, interviews, Twitter, are your useful ways to promote your work. Sites like PosterSpy, Deviantart, Behance and AOI portfolios are also excellent portals for clients to find creative talent too.

With self-promotion it’s important to be rememberable. Be yourself, and embrace your work and show it to as many people as possible. Don’t be afraid of failure, I’ve taken many setbacks and lost many gigs over the years, keep up the passion and it will pay off.

You currently work as a freelance illustrator, how do you get motivated to work from your home studio? 

Good music is a must! 

As an artist working in the isolated environment, it is important to be able to share thoughts and ideas with other artists, friends and family. 

I like to set myself goals, and meet targets. Whether it’s planning to paint 4 pieces this month, 2 paintings this week. Try and reach those goals, it’s good to push yourself.

Getting out and having time to reflect, it helps to step back from the studio; you never know when inspiration will strike.

Lots of motivation and inspiration comes from what is around me. Surrounding my workspace with books, or artwork I admired that either directly influences me. Creating a calm environment is vital to an enjoyable and productive workspace, not only for you, but for your work.

Illustrators often find it difficult to find their styles and although you have worked in a traditional style a lot, you’ve also experimented with other methods. Would you say you tend to lean more towards one angle or are you happy to try any style? 

I’ve gone through many styles over my career. Developing and learning along the way. When working with some clients I see myself as a chameleon, I adapt to any circumstance to suit the needs of a clients brief. In the future my style might change, depending on where my work takes me. I’m still experimenting all the time, I recently took up airbrushing. 

I enjoy combining traditional and digital together, getting the best out of both. I’ve always strived to develop my skills by trying different techniques but making sure to have a distinctive style. When it comes to the themes of my paintings, they also change, as they are the reflections of significant narrative of the work.

Are there any artists who particularly inspire you?

Without doubt my partner is first and foremost my biggest influence that inspires me to be the creative person I am today. We met at College 10 years ago and we’ve worked together strongly throughout the years, she’s supportive and marvellously talented!

I try to be inspired by other mediums like films, comics and music. Of course I have my favourite artists, I’m deeply in love with the works of Bob Peak, James Jean, Alex Ross and Jason Edmiston for example but the list goes on. Some of these artists have marked my carrier in one way or another I've always been interested in poster and comics, not only as a form of entertainment, but as a medium that I could use for my own visual illustrations.

You were very much a 90’s kid, what was your favourite part of growing up in that era and do you feel like it’s inspired your art in anyway?

My favourite part of the 90’s were classic TV shows like, Batman The Animated Series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-men animation/Spider-man and Fresh Prince of Bel Air of course! I honestly have no clue what children watch today. I feel like the variety of cartoons and animations of the 90s influenced me today and which projects I want to work on. 

At Art Foundation I took up Animation and at one point I was planning to study it at University. But one thing led to another and I found that Illustration was the path to go down. I respect all the traditional animators of the Disney era who’ve created movies that have inspired generations. To me, the creativity and fantasy of the 90s and 80s originality can’t be compared to today’s blockbusters. Fantastic storytelling, that something films these days are missing. Man, I miss the 90s.

Wacom has been working hard on their product development, especially with competitors popping up. Do any of Wacom's upgraded products with improved technologies interest you? And why?

Wacom products are catered for professionals and home.  These range of products are designed for different circumstances depending whether you’re a enthusiast or a professional designer/illustrator. They offer a range of products, each with its own suitability depending on your budget. For example The Cintiq Touch-screen tablet seems to be becoming popular with professional designers but I haven't got my hands on one yet!

I’ve tried other tablet devices, but none of them has the same precision and reliability as my Wacom Intuos Pro.  The tablet I use feels natural and like second nature to me. Something I feel other competitors haven’t achieved. As an artist it's incredibly important to be able to rely on my Wacom tablet for the precession and speed. I feel other tablet devices haven’t achieved the same quality and reliability. To me is essential to creating professional, detailed, digital design.

Finally, what is the ‘dream project’ that you’d love to work on? 

I’ve done a lot of artwork that I’m proud of, that I thought I’d never achieve if you told me when I started my journey. 

I would love to continue doing Official Posters. I would love to do a solo exhibition that speaks to the world in a very profound way, shown in a prominent gallery, in a well respected art community.

That brings us to the end of this month's Let's Talk Art, be sure to follow Wacom on social media to be informed about the next instalment. I'd like to say thank you to illustrator John Keaveney for taking part in today's interview and for sharing his techniques and experience with us. Be sure to follow him on the below links for more great art:

Twitter - Instagram - Website - Poster Spy

Let's Talk Art series is written by Jack Woodhams.
Follow Jack on twitter for series updates: @jswoodhams.


The brand new Wacom Intuos Pro is available to purchase now!

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:00:53 +100
Interview | Carli Davidson on Shooting Shake http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/interview-carli-davidson-on-shooting-shake/1089?c=2213303 How about a photo series of dogs shaking that promptly went viral on Facebook? Got millions of clicks on her web site? Led to two best-selling books, national acclaim, and international renown?

Carli Davidson on Shooting Shake

Where does inspiration come from? For photographer Carli Davidson, the seed was planted while she was wiping down her kitchen wall – again – because Norbert, herbeloved Dogue de Bordeaux, had bedewed it with spit - again - during a particularly long and satisfying shake of his jowly head.

 “You spend enough time cleaning up drool and eventually you’re going to want to know – how exactly does this happen?” said Davidson, author of the best-selling books “Shake” and “Shake Puppies”. As the titles suggest, the wildly popular photobooks catch dogs and pups, freeze-frame, looking adorably weird in mid-shake.

That “how” question dogged (sorry) Davidson until one day, when she had finally saved up enough cash to spring for some good high-speed lights for her studio, she cast about for a subject to shoot.

“I’m thinking, pop a water balloon? How boring,” Davidson said. And then the Norbert question returned: how about having a dog shake his head in front of the camera?

How about a photo series of dogs shaking that promptly went viral on Facebook? Got millions of clicks on her web site? Led to two best-selling books, national acclaim, and international renown?

“It was crazy,” Davidson said.

The sweet smell of wet dog success

Just how crazy became clear when, while in the airport in St. Petersburg , Russia, Davidson overhead the man sitting behind her ask his friends if they’d heard about these amazing photos of dogs shaking their heads.

“I turned and said ‘Those are my photos,’ and he didn’t believe me,” Davidson said.“So I showed him the shots on my iPhone -- really, this is me.

Not too bad for the one-time wild child, a regular in high school detention who managed to get kicked out of detention for selling the room monitor’s belongings through an open window.

“You’re not going to use that story, are you?” Davidson asks, then laughs. Yeah, pretty funny coming from the person who describes herself in a post on her Facebook as “…covered in strange tattoos, have a penchant for cursing a lot, andoften dress like a 15-year-old boy. Professionalism is not my thing.”

Rescue me

But animals are.  Davidson, who grew up in a small town on the Hudson River justnorth of New York City, says her earliest memories are of being outdoors.

“We lived near a nature preserve and I was just obsessed with animals,” she said. “Iloved being around them and wanted to learn everything I could about how theylive and what they do.

As a child, Davidson hung around the nature preserve and pestered the staff until she was allowed to help feed and care for the resident wildlife rescues. When she was old enough she was officially hired by the preserve and worked as a camp counselor.

At the same time, Davidson’s interest in photography took root. Her father, a Madison Avenue art director, always had a camera in his hands. By the time she was5 years old, Davidson was shooting photos. When she was in high school, her fathergave her his Nikon F2.

Never one to do things the easy way, Davidson skipped out on college and hopscotched around the country, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Olympia, working as abouncer, an assistant in a tattoo parlor, and a photographer for the state legislaturein Washington. It wasn’t until she settled in Portland, Oregon and started working with the animals at the city’s zoo that her future took shape.

“First I volunteered, which turned into two full-time internships where I was caretaking the animals, primates and marine life, working on their diets and training and enrichment, which was such a cool experience,” Davidson said.

Bump in the road

Life in Portland was pretty great -- and then came the accident. Davidson’s truck got totaled and the neck injury she sustained meant she could no longer do the heavy lifting her zoo work required. Just a few weeks away from closing on a house, she knew she had to get some cash flowing.

She managed to get a small loan, secured some studio space and started shooting pet commissions. 

“I wanted to be in the studio every minute and I realized that this was what I wanted to do – nothing else,” Davidson said.

A growing clientele giving her a steady income from work she adored, and Davidson had found her true calling. Then she bought those high-speed lights and the rest became dogs-gone-viral history.

Lights, camera, action!

So how does she do it? The first thing step is using her knowledge of animal body language to get her canine clients comfortable.

“We’ll get down on the floor and play, just hang out for as long as it takes,” Davidson said. “I let the animal direct the shoot, tell me when they’re comfortable to go on set, and then let them do what they want.

For her “Shake” series Davidson uses a Nikon D4, which shoots 10 frames per second, and synchs the studio strobes to 1/13,000th of a second. As each wet dog does what comes naturally, Davidson looks through her lens, presses the shutterand makes time stand still.

Once the photos are shot and uploaded into Adobe Lightroom, Davidson’s go-to for processing is the Intuos Pro, with its its pressure-sensitive screen, customizable screens and precision stylus.

“The Intuos Pro is always on my desktop – I haven’t used a mouse since I first used aWacom tablet during a summer job in 1996,” Davidson said.

The work she does in Photoshop, creating paths and layers, adding effects, would beimpossible without the Intuos Pro, Davidson said.

I can’t ever borrow a computer now because using a mouse is just so clunky, ”Davidson said. “Wacom has spoiled me.”

As for what’s next for the photographer whose love of animals has led her to fame, it’s more of the same. An avid supporter of local pet rescue groups, Davidson volunteers her time at various shelters. She and her husband have also begun tofoster dogs in their home, though with mixed success.

“We were fostering this really sweet schnauzer – Saul the schnauzer – and then weadopted him,” Davidson said, and laughed. “That’s what’s known as a ‘foster fail’.”

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:44:41 +100
Interview | Let's Talk Art with Doaly http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1088/sCategory/2213303 #LetsTalkArt, a brand new artist interview series. Today we share Doaly story, advice, art and more!

Let's Talk Art with Doaly

Welcome to the first Let's Talk Art, a brand new artist interview series. Written by Jack Woodhams.

Back in 2014 I set up Posterspy.com, a show and tell website dedicated to alternative poster designers. I'm a designer myself, (I don't quite consider myself an artist) and through my experience running a platform for artists, I've met and made friends with many creatives.

The aim of this series is to explore what it means to be an 'artist' and to explore how artists have developed their craft over the years. Throughout the series I 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!
In this interview I chat to Doaly, an artist from Birmingham England who has had the chance to work on some really brilliant projects.

So, let's talk art... 

What made you want to become an artist? What were your earliest influences? 

I wouldn’t say I ever set out to become an artist, I studied graphic design at university and majored in multimedia design. I’ve since had a successful career in the web industry but I guess like any other creative you want to try and learn new and different things. I always had a passion for drawing as a child so I naturally picked it back up as a hobby while trying to learn and get better.

Movies were always a big part of growing up, as my parents owned a video store, I wasn’t old enough to watch most of the films but I’d spend hours looking at the box art and posters, which were plasters all over my bedroom walls thanks to my two older brothers. Based on the artwork I’d make up my own stories for the films I couldn’t watch and that’s why I gravitated to creating movie art. I enjoy the art of story telling and wanted to tell these stories myself in my own way. My earliest influences would be the likes Warhol, Dali, Lichtenstein, Seurat and Picasso from studying art history at colleague, I still refer back to a lot of these art movements in my work today. 

Would you say your surroundings influenced your art in any way? 

I would say my surroundings helped develop my imagination, Bham was a more industrial area when growing up and I was a big day dreamer as a child and still am if I’m honest. I’d constantly be imaging going on adventures to far away lands and batting dragons. I don’t really battle dragons anymore but I still have an imagination that works overdrive. 

Do you feel the poster art movement is celebrated enough? Or do you feel that it's still quite 'underground'?

I wouldn’t call it underground anymore but at the same time I wouldn’t say it was mainstream, there’s an avid community of collectors out there and I think that's partly due to IMAX releases of posters and the growing community of casual fans of the movement, they might not know all the names of the artists but they like what a illustrated poster brings over its Photoshop/photograph based counterpart. 

You work a lot around Film, TV and pop culture. How does your love for pop culture transcend into your work and do you feel you're a better artist because of your passion for it?

I wholeheartedly believe that if you can find a love, connection or understanding for the subject you are trying to capture then it will show itself on the page. I feel my best work is based on the properties I have a real passion for and it’s why I revisit them because of that passion.

You are currently part of a global art collective The Poster Posse what do you feel about being part of a collective and how has it aided your creative career? 

Being part of the Posse has been one of the biggest helps in my career, to have this extended network of friends who understand what you’re going through with your work and there to give advice and an honest critique of your work has been invaluable. It’s a great buddy system that pushes you further with your work, I don’t think I’d have developed as much as I have without the support of the Posse.

Besides the obvious love for film and tv. Do you have any other less obvious passions that aid your work?

As well as TV and film I’m a big gamer and love to unwind at the end of the day when I really should be sleeping, I have also studied Jeet Kune Do which has helped develop a discipline with my work as well as a mind set that with practice I can learn and get batter as long as I stick with it.  

You currently use a Cintiq and have also owned Wacom pen tablets in the past. In what way are they are vital to your creative process?

The Wacom tools allow me to quickly get my ideas down and develop them, I often hand sketch ideas when I’m on the move but when I’m at my desk I jump straight on to sketch and develop my ideas. It also allows me to easily try out different mediums to draw and paint with.  

You recently had your fan posters for Planet Earth II picked up by the BBC. What encouraged you to create these in the first place?

After watching the first program I was instantly inspired by the beautiful cinematography and story telling, I wanted to try and capture that one episode in a piece, I also wanted to create awareness about the planet we live in and the animals we share it with. As a designer or artist you’re not saving lives but through your work you can create awareness and help worthwhile causes. I’ve been lucky enough to lend my artistic talents to worthy causes and intend to carry on doing so.

Your style varies greatly from project to project, do you find it easy to dip in and out of styles? 

I always try and use the style best suited for the subject matter and I love to explore new techniques. When thinking of ideas I often paint them in a particular style in my head and they very much become key to that piece itself. So when it comes to execution, I’ve pretty much drawn every line in my head, I just now have to recreate it on the computer so its never that had jumping between styles.

Is there a particular style you prefer to work in?

I often get asked what my style is and it’s not something I can answer as of yet, I would say there’s a few I gravitate towards but I would say what I choose to draw and compositions I create are a better definition of my and not the style I draw them in. 

The poster art community has grown a lot in the last few years and it seems studios are starting to take notice of the artwork being produced. What do you predict for the future of this movement?

I still think there is a place for the photography based movie poster but I think audiences want more than just a few floating heads, alternative posters are getting bigger with reversible sleeves on Blu-ray boxes and limited run posters for opening nights. I see there being an alternative approach for most mainstream movie posters. If illustrated became the mainstream then in time another movement would come along to oppose it.

The poster community is full of artists with different styles, backgrounds and from countries all over the world. Who are your favourite contemporary artists and why?

There is a massive list of contemporary poster artists and I can say I admire something from most artists, to name a few: Oliver Barrett, Matt Taylor, Francesco Francavilla and Gary Pullin. These artists have expanded what I thought was possible to create with simple lines and shadows, it’s not always a case of what you draw but what you choose to leave out to allow the mind to fill in the gaps for you.

Do you have any plans for the future regarding your artwork? 

I want to keep exploring and trying out new things, I also want to work in more fields, I love movies but there are other stories I went to tell through my work so I guess I’m looking for those new opportunities where I can push myself creatively.

A lot of your work is digital, do you feel digital art gives you more flexibility over traditional methods? 

I would definitely say its more flexible working digitally as I’m still not able to press cmd Z on my sketch, but I like to gravitate to an approach which is routed in an organic style, I want people to still see every stroke in my work. I don’t want to loose myself and have my work become too polished to the extent when you cant tell its been drawn or painted.

You recently created an official print for Rick and Morty which went up for sale via Bottleneck Gallery in New York. The print sold out almost instantly, how did that feel?

It was a great feeling, I love the show and I wanted my piece to speak to the people who also loved the shows original sense of humour, so I’m really glad that people appreciated what I put on paper. I already thinking of what next to do for the show so I hope my next piece is as well received.

Many artists find it difficult to consider their work 'finished' at a particular stage. How do you know when your work is complete? 

Deadlines often play a part in that but its when you feel you cant ad anything else to the piece that would make it anymore whole than it is right now. Over time I always want to go back and play with some pieces but that comes with learning more and seeing things with fresh eyes.

Being an artist isn't always easy, and sometimes artists find themselves lost and confused about their work. What helps to keep you focused and motivated? 

I think being lost and confused it part of being an artist, there are definitely times where I’m not sure what to do next or where to take my work. For me its best to take a step back from the work and do something completely different, go out and get some fresh air and get away from the screens. Its these breaks whether they’re just to go out and get some lunch or even a day away from work that gets the creative juices going again.

I sometimes think it’ll be great to take a few weeks off but after a day or so I’m eager to get back to creating something. The worst thing you can do when your in a slump is just stare at the screen, break the routine and do something different.

Your work was exhibited last year as part of the Star Wars an Art Odyssey at Le Cafe Pixel. As a pop culture fan was this a dream exhibit to be part of? 

It truly was an amazing experience to have my work exhibited in such a beautiful gallery space, what made it extra special was that I knew every artist in the show and to admire their final work on the wall. It’s not often you get to go  to the spaces that exhibit your work so this was something extra special for me.

I also got the chance to meet up with members of the Posse who I hadn’t previously met in person, so that was the icing on the cake.

Although you've worked on some really exciting projects, was there ever a time you weren't so fortunate and doubted your skill if so, how did you move forward?

Even though I’ve worked with some great brands and properties I think there’s always going to be a time when you doubt your own skillset. But for me that’s why it’s great to have such a supportive network of fellow artists that you can talk through the hard times with and you’ll find comfort in the fact that you’re not the only one that goes through this.

If there’s ever a time I’m feeling down about my work I look to be inspired by others, its that inspiration that lights the creative spark in you and I guess I’m fortunate that I can happily play around with styles to keep everything fresh for me.  

For any aspiring artists reading this who wants to work in the entertainment industry, what advice would you give them to get their work seen?

I would say the Internet has made the world a very small place, if you’re passionate about working in the industry then produce the work you’d like to be doing and share it online. Upload it to design/art blogs, use your Instagram and Twitter to share and tag the studios, they love people being passionate about the films they make.

Finally, do you recommend any publications for artists to follow for aspiring artists out there looking for inspiration?

I personally subscribe to imagine FX, but the net is vast and infinite and there are many blogs out there that curate amazing work, I also follow xombiedirge.com, pixalry.io and fromupnorth.com to name a few.

More coming soon!

That brings us to the end of this month's Let's Talk Art, be sure to follow Wacom on social media to be informed about the next instalment. I'd like to say thank you to artist Doaly for being such a great interviewee and I'm sure you can agree that his work is simply outstanding.

You can find Doaly on the below links:
FacebookTwitterWebsitePoster Spy

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 18:45:32 +100