Thursday, March 09, 2006
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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 was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. I went to different schools because my dad was in the Air Force, so we traveled around quite a bit.
I ended up in California because I had enlisted in the Navy back in 1992 for the college money of course. When I completed my 4 year contract, I enrolled into San Diego Community College in hopes to make it into the art industry. My art teachers, when they found out I liked to draw comic book related illustrations tried to steer me away from that path. They told me that ‘cartoonists’ don’t make money, only Graphic Designers, and Fine artists do. I didn’t want them to crush my dream, of drawing in the comic book industry, so I quit the college and pursued my art journey by drawing everyday. So to sum it up, I’m self-taught.
What helped me to become the artist I am today was determination. And the love to draw, and make people react to a drawing by triggering memories they’ve not thought about in awhile.
How do you go about designing a character, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
When I design a character, I like to think of their ethnicities, physiques. I try to find a ‘story’ about them that people can relate to, even in a superhero design. I scribble a lot to find the energy I’m looking for. Then I’ll overlay it a couple of times to pick out the shapes that I like and then light table the final.
What do you think really helps you out in designing a character?
Adding a splash of real life into them.
From your own experience and maybe from some people that you know, what should we put in our portfolio and what should we not?
A portfolio should have your strongest, finished illustrations. It should also have range, such as sequentials, so editors can see your storytelling. If you want to show that you can ink it, and color it too, then you should show each process.
Also include character designs. It’s best to show a variety of shapes. Include turns of the characters if you’re interested in making it into the animation field.
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
Marvel Comics; Venom #13 (fill-in penciller)
Dark Horse Comics; El Zombo (inks)
Image Comics; Wildguard:Firepower oneshot ( pencils and colors for backstory), Amazing Joy Buzzards (backcover artist)
Pennyfarthing Press; Decoy Anthology (penciller)
DC Comics; Teen Titans Go (cover artist (issue 16 to present), and interior art for issue #22), conceptual art, Principal for the Day brochure for school districts.
Sony; God of War (storyboards), Twisted Metal (color seps), conceptual art
London Marketing; conceptual art
Jada Toys; Chub City hand out comic (layouts and colors)
Bandai; D.I.C.E. (production art)
Axiom Comics; Fatboy and Harvey (cover artist)
Massive Black Inc.; conceptual art (designs and colors)
Zowie Tiki themed pin-up
Speakeasy Comics; Hero @ Large (cover artist)
Sharon Scott; character development
Is there a character design you have done that you are most proud of?
I haven’t a favorite yet. haha
What are you working on now? (If you can tell us)
I just wrapped doing conceptual art for the Hellboy Animated. I am currently working with Disney doing conceptual designs for a couple of cartoons.
Where is the place you would like to work if you had a choice?
I’d like to work inhouse with a studio, but for now I just do the daily grind at home.
Who do you think are the top character designers out there?
Man, there’s way too many to choose from. I’d love to see more comic book artists doing some designs. Their styles are refreshing.
How do you go about coloring the character, what type of tools or media do you use?
I use Photoshop 6 to color all my work. When I color I use the lasso tool, and the marques tool.
What part of designing a character is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?
I don’t think there is an easy way for me to design a character. However, for me to see/feel life in a character before I draw them I have to know a basic synopsis and some character descriptions; age, height, physique, personality, and etc…
What are some of your favorite character designs and least favorite, which you have seen?
Some of my favorite designs were in some older cartoons. Just to name a few at the top of my head, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, and Mummies Alive.
What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?
I love to draw people. Why? HAHA I guess it’s because it’s the one subject that I can relate to.
What inspired you to become a Character Designer?
When I first started drawing I had always loved the mainstream comic book style of art, and I loved Disney’s take on characters. As I grew older I started to believe in less tells more. When I started posting on the art forum www.deviantart.com some viewers would leave comments saying that I had an animated style. I wasn’t sure what they actually meant, but to me they were saying that I was drawing cartoony. A couple of years later, I found out it was that my work wasn’t overly detailed.
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
The most important thing I learned was that everything is a shape in totality.
What wisdom could you give us, about being a character designer? Do you have any tips you could give?
Stick to your style. The industry is hungry for something new. It’s only a matter of time before they try a new formula.
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted? (Email, Webpage)
email: email@example.com or they can reach me through my online gallery: http://cheeks-74.deviantart.com/gallery/
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?
I do have sketchbooks and prints available at the conventions. For those who can’t make it to the conventions you can contact me through email or website to purchase these items.