Saturday, September 4, 2010
Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
I’m a traditionally trained animator who has worked both as a 2D and 3D artist. I have also been drawing comic strips as long as I can remember and started my current webcomic, Team Spectacular when my son was born a micro-preemie. While my wife and I were going through this difficult and stressful time I found the need to document his story. There are a number of preemie blogs but not many telling the story from a dad’s point of view and zero from a cartoonist’s eye.
How do you go about designing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
I always start with a story. No matter what the image is for. The drawing needs to inspire a beginning middle and end when the viewer looks at it. I then look for shapes, poses and interesting view points. I do a lot of thumbnailing and I’m never afraid to throw out a good drawing if it doesn’t work in context with the story. The same goes with colour, I try and find ways of improving my story with interesting hues and values.
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?
I spend as much time with my family as possible. They inspire all my work. My day job is an animator at DreamWorks where I work hard so I can go home at night, put my kids to bed and start my REAL job working on my comics. I spend around 3-4 hours at night (except on date night with the wife) working on my comics.
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
I’ve been at DreamWorks for the past 15 years. Yup that means I’ve been at the company since nearly the beginning. As a traditional animator I’ve worked on Prince of Egypt, Road to Eldorado, Spirit, and Sinbad. On Sinbad I was one of the “hybrids” that did both 2D and 3D animation. Which led me to animate on SharkTale, Madagascar, Over the Hedge, Flushed Away, The Bee Movie, Monsters Vs Aliens, Monsters Vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space, How to Train Your Dragon, The Dragons Olympic commercials, MegaMind and I’m currently working on the How to Train Your Dragon DVD special.
Is there a design you have done that you are most proud of?
That’s a difficult question; as I start a project I always believe it’s going to bmy best work. As time goes by I start seeing all the things I could have done differently. Before I know it the project is done and I wish I could start again.
What projects have you done in the past, and what are you working on now? (if you can tell us)
I’m always working on my webcomic; Team Spectacular and having so much fun with all its fans. My book “Single” has done so well for me over the past few years, I’m currently working on its sequel (plus a bonus short story due out this summer).
Who do you think are the top artists out there?
The list is gigantic. I can tell you a few who influence me….Gabriele Pennacchioli, Rodolphe Guenoden, Arthur Adams, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Jim Borgman, Scott Chambell, Dik Browne, Sergio Aragones…the list goes on and on.
Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?
I love the feel of pencil and ink on Bristol board, but with my hectic schedule I now draw all my comics with Corel Painter. I have a tablet PC and the ability to draw anywhere and anytime has helped me meet my deadlines. To colour my work I use scratch board, sponges and oil pastels in Painter. I try and keep my colours to 3 or 4 while playing with their values. It helps with my speed and stops me from getting colour confused.
What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?
It’s all fun. Drawing maybe hard and frustrating some days but I still enjoy every minute.
What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?
To be creative you have to be inspired, you have to see what’s around and find ways to manipulate it and reinvent what’s already out there. The only way I can do this is to live. I get up from my desk, play with my kids, go on dates with my wife, and hang out with my friends. They all inspire my creativity and make me a better artist.
What are some of your favorite designs which you have seen?
I love the freedom and storytelling that Alex Lopez, Juan Berrio, Pascal Campion, Mickael Roux gets out of their work. I love the shapes and unique style of Nico Marlet. Andre Franquin’s book “Idees Noir” is probably the top of my list for comic work and design. Every panel Franquin created was unique and gorgeous.
What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?
I love drawings and stories that are based in fantasy but has some sense of truth and reality to it.
What inspired you to become an Artist?
I was always reading comic books and comic strips. I couldn’t believe what all these people could do with a pencil and some ink. It was magic to me and I just needed to figure out how they did it.
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
The biggest thing is not to rush (which I work on every day). It’s tough in the business to find time to sit back look at your drawing, analyze what’s right and wrong and then fix it. Working at DreamWorks I’ve found the best artists think before they draw, come up with a plan, then execute.
What are some of your favorite websites that you go to?
I love the webcomic PVP, Atland, Legend of Bill, Goats and Girls with Slingshots. Each one is completely different but they all have heart and tell great stories.
What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
Be smart. You’re an artist but you also have to be a businessman. Learn everything you can from your fellow artists but also listen and learn from your friends who have their own businesses.
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
I love getting email and can always be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or at
my website www.team-spectacular.com
Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?
Sure do. You can check out a few of my book on my website
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