Below are a few questions I am asked often. If you still have a question, feel free to shoot me an email.
1. How did you get started in illustration and/or concept art?
I get asked this quite a bit and something I must say before I explain my journey is that everyone's experience is different. There are countless ways to enter into this field. I knew I wanted to be involved with entertainment from a young age. I grew up watching a lot of animations and movies and knew I wanted to be involved somehow. I went through a lot of interests; puppeteering, animation and concept art. I loved animals growing up. I drew them constantly and was always reading and watching everything I could about them. I was obsessed with how they moved around and evolved. In college, I really found my voice as a concept artist through my mentors. They really encouraged me to bring natural history and science into my design. I would say that was when I knew I could do it. Before then, I'd always talked like it would be more of a dream.
If you'd like to know more about my career, I suggest listening to my interview on the Oatley Academy ArtCast. I was interviewed by Chris Oatley and Ejiwa Ebenebe. It was such a fun interview and we talked for hours! I talk about how I got my start in the publishing and entrainment industry and how I approach creature design. They've released two parts of the interview to listen to for free. You can start with Part 1 on the Oatley Academy Website
2. Who are your inspirations?
Disney was a big inspiration growing up. I wanted to be an animator when I was a kid. Yes, Terryl Whitlatch is a huge inspiration of mine; particularly her Wildlife of Star Wars book. I also look to Ian McCaig and his work on Episode 1. Claire Wendling is an amazing artist I also look up to. Crash McCreery was and remains to be a benchmark for me in terms of technical skill. Stan Winston and his team have always been big in my life. Anything out of Weta Workshop was a big inspiration as Lord of the Rings came out when I was in Jr. High / High School.
3. What do you find is the biggest challenge when designing a creature?
I want to make something memorable. I want my designs to feel iconic and like something you could remember. It can be hard to balance that with flash. You want it to be unique and different but you want your audience to be able to describe it later. That's always the goal and I think it always will be.
4. Is it important to have a style?
It's important to be consistent. Style will come and as long as you experiment and try new things, that style will become more and more unique!
5. Do you have to work digitally to be a concept artist?
Yes. Absolutely. Do I always work digitally when I'm on the job? No. That said, at some point, I move into photoshop to complete work in some way. You must know how to work digitally to work as an entertainment artist and to an extent, to work as an illustrator today.
6. What advice would you give to a young artist looking to break into the field of concept art and creature design?
Draw as many animals as you can. Draw them all the time and learn about them and their behavior and evolution. Animals and plants will astound you with their solutions to survival. Nature is the best designer and we have a lot to learn. Draw from life - humans, animals, anything that interests you! The only way to get better is to practice. You don't need fancy tools or fancy equipment. Really, you just need a pencil and paper and motivation to practice every day. It's like a sport or any other muscle memory - you get good my repeating it 1,000 times. Be nice to everyone you meet, you never know who will get you a job. Go to shows, conventions, events and wherever else you can mingle and meet with other creatives. Build on genuine relationships and make actual friends. Work hard but take care of yourself. You must put your health and happiness first.
7. Do you have any suggestions on animal anatomy books?
8. Do you sell your magic card proofs?
I do! You can find them here, in my store.
9. Will you sign my Magic Cards?
Yes! I'd be more than happy to sign them. The first five cards are free. Anything after five is $2 a card. Message me with the form below to set up mailing information and payment. Please note that you must pay for the cost of shipping both ways. We can work out details through email. Thanks!
Still have a question? You may message me via this handy contact form. Please note that it can take a few days for me to reply to these sorts of requests.