How did you become an artist?
I was born. Lol. Seriously, since I could hold a pencil I’ve been drawing and it took off from there. Being an artist isn’t about getting paid to make art, being an artist is about finding a way to express yourself with art. That’s it. Even if you have to do what I did and teach yourself, you can do it. There are books and the internet and your fellow artists to gain information from. When I was teaching myself, there were just books and other artists. If you’re asking how I became a professional artist, the first time I was paid for my art was when a friend at LEGO asked me to fly to Denmark and give a talk on making characters in 3D. Right after that, I bought Manga Studio – I think I was the third of the fifth person to buy it in the United States. At the time it had very limited color features that were not well documented, so I wrote a tutorial on how to use Manga Studio to create colored comic book art. The product manager for Manga Studio saw it and gave me a job right there and then. The rest, as they say, is history.
Where do you get inspiration?
I have no idea. I’d like to say from life but I tend to create works of fantasy so I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, though I do try to base my creations on reality in some way. Sometimes I see a squiggle on the ground and my mind turns it into a creature, sometimes I have a very specific goal – let’s make an elf or Wolverine or something – it all fluctuates.
What’s your hardware setup?
At home, I moved on from a Wacom Cintiq (original model) to an XP-Pen 22 ePro. At work, I still use a Cintiq though. My PC is a little old. It has four internal drives, 32 GB of ram, an Intel i7 6700K at 4 GHz, and it’s also hooked up to a second monitor where I tend to place references while I make my art.
What do you like best about Clip Studio Paint?
I enjoy the feeling of drawing and inking in Clip Studio. It’s what made me want to pick up Manga Studio and when Manga Studio became Clip Studio, I was happy to see that great feeling didn’t change – even if some of the tools did.
How long does it take you to make a single illustration?
This question always seems odd. The amount of time it takes you to make X thing will always vary depending on the thing and the circumstances of the time. In some cases, I can make an illustration in a day. In some cases, it takes me a week or more. It depends. If I’m drawing everything myself and not just inking it can take a little longer, as I often second guess my poses. Since it’s been a few years that I’ve drawn anything, I would think it could take even longer, as self-doubt can creep into my hand.
Would you consider Clip Studio Paint an industry tool?
Yes. Next question.
Are there any other experiences/learnings/message that you'd like to share?
As long as it’s not hurting someone, do what you love. Life is too short not to. Also, if you’re trying to get a job in the industry, show your work. You may be scared that your art isn’t good enough or that you’re going to be rejected. Well, let me tell you, you WILL be rejected but that’s ok. A portfolio isn’t a portfolio if nobody sees it and failure is your friend. You learn nothing by doing things correctly. Only through failure do you actually learn to be better than what you are. So get out there and fail. Fail as often and as early as possible, so that when the time comes to get paid for it, you won’t fail as much if at all.
How can we be more supportive of our fellow artists (as colleagues/fans/friends)?
Stop using phrases like, “This sucks”, or “That’s garbage”, or “Why didn’t you listen to your mother and become a doctor?!” (that last one may be wildly specific to me). The point is, that’s not helpful. Learn HOW to critique and how to accept critique. Nobody’s art is perfect. For every Mona Lisa, there are a dozen sketches in the trashcan. Be open and willing to hear that you could be better and be better at explaining why you think someone else’s art could be better. Also, if you see art you like, share it. Talk about it. Dissect it, so that you can understand how it was made and why it appeals to you.
Where can we follow your work?