Meet Colin Dowden
What’s your background?
I was born drawing. Well, that's not strictly true, but it's always seemed that way to me.
School was a long, slow, boring process interrupted by these fantastic things called art lessons. After four years at art school in the UK, I started working in an advertising art studio. I then graduated from that to art directing for advertising agencies where I started specializing in storyboards. I've been doing that for a long time whilst, at the same time, trying to hone my more artistic drawing skills.
I now live in Australia and discovered Sktchy a couple of years ago, which was a real creative revelation. Who knows, I might die drawing or at least it just might seem like that.
What do you look for in a reference photo on sktchy?
At first I used to go for the most absurd pic which I could possibly find. I then would try, just for fun, to find the most boring pic available. I went through a period of choosing the first pic at the top of the pile whatever it was ... that was a real challenge.
These days I somehow know if it's a winner. It normally just chimes in with whatever medium I've decided to draw in on that day, whether I'm in a "digital" mood, "watercolour" mood or a "scribbling using coffee granules using my only my toes soaked in onions and vegetable oil" mood...whatever.
What’s your medium of choice when you’re creating art?
I genuinely do not really have a medium of choice. Anything goes in my book. The bottom line is, it has to involve drawing in some way, shape or form.
Lately I've been finding that digital allows me to do everything I want to do (and more) without the dirt and smells associated with traditional media. But...sometimes I love getting dirty, filthy and smelly...maybe that's just a personal thing.
Quite often I will start using charcoal or acrylic or watercolour and just drop the pic into the computer just for a few final touches. It has to be said that I love the feeling of power I often get when I put pencil to paper knowing that anything could happen next.
What’s one quirk in your creative process?
I try not to just copy and will attempt to do something which pulls the original out of the normal in some way. Maybe distortion or an unusual colour scheme or something odd which happens to occur to me whilst creating the image. Often I will get to the end of the painting and decide that it needs a shaking up and drop in a couple of odd splashes or something without visual logic. This makes the whole thing fun for me.
Any words of advice for fellow artists?
Which of course brings me to fun. Fun is what it's really all about. Likeness, draughtsmanship (or draughtswomanship for that matter), perspective or whatever medium you happen to be using – they're all important considerations, but none of these things are as important as enjoying yourself. You are after all the main person that you are creating these things for. Definitely not "likes," "wows" or being "picked" by Sktchy, nice though these things are.
Finally, I can't emphasize how much your drawing skills will grow if you can manage to find yourselves in some kind of life drawing situation. I personally love life drawing and you know what – it really is fun.