What's your background?
Since early childhood, I’ve always had some scrap paper and a pencil handy. Always doodling, singing and creating.
I thought I wanted to be a traditional or CG animator in high school, but I learned early on that I didn’t have the patience for all the “inbetweening” work.
That’s when I started gravitating toward comic book art (you can communicate a whole idea with just one panel). I went to Azusa Pacific University in California for design, and I work full time as a UX designer.
My strongest passion is for music - that’s my go to “medium” for telling stories. I create concept albums that tell dark fantasy and sci-fi tales with underlying spiritual themes. My art is heavily fused with this experience as well.
I’m not content to stay in my comfort zone. For instance, I’m working on my knowledge of anatomy right now, so I can build characters completely from imagination and stretch Sktchy references even more than I do now!
What's your medium of choice when you're creating art?
I love the precision of inking and colors in comic book art, but I lament the loss of the rough pencil flows that happen during character creation. I love animation and story so much, and I want to see objects moving all the time. So my happy place is a cross between the two: I mix Prismacolor markers with inks and rough pencils. This allows me to capture just enough balance between detail and flow. Plus, its quick! It helps me complete a thought so I can move on to another idea.
How did you build your creative habit?
My two best go-to routines: gestures and shape exercises. Being able capture your subject matter quickly and with just a few strokes is a powerful tool in your arsenal. And if you can render squares, spheres and cylinders at any angle, you can pretty much draw anything!
But man, have I had to practice and practice. It takes years of doing the same thing over and over. And let’s not forget the many mistakes you make along the way. I’ve had to reframe the meaning of “failure” – these days I want to fail early and often, so I can make corrections and overcome obstacles sooner rather than later. That’s how you get better!
When you find yourself in a creative rut, how do you get out of it?
I have an opposite problem: my overactive imagination won’t turn off (the ADHD doesn’t help). Many times I want to move on to the next concept before I’ve fleshed out the previous idea!
The rut comes when I have to stop and learn the necessary skills to finish an imaginative idea . This is where I’m tempted to give up and binge watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead.
There is a book by Steven Pressfield called “The War of Art.” He confronts a topic that we all face: “Resistance”. We want to just start drawing and magically come out with amazing masterpieces. But what makes a professional artist is a mindset that we work at it every day, through thick or thin. To be a great artist, you have to put effort in when you aren’t inspired, when you’re feeling sick and through distractions. If you can make it to your day job everyday, despite “not feeling like it,” then you are out of excuses − being a professional artist is like going to work every day. You WILL improve as a result. Inspiration WILL come…but not if you aren’t picking up your pencil. In the words of Pressfield, “It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write.”
Also, here is some advice for artists wrestling with their imagination: your reservoir might be dry. Try putting your pencil down and consuming something else - watch a great movie, read your bible, chat with friends by the fire pit − this will take you out of your smaller story and plop you into a much more epic world.
Which of your recent Sktchy artworks most expresses who you are now as an artist?
I was looking through my profile and saw that I’m all over the place! Its obvious that I'm trying out different styles to challenge myself and add whatever knowledge I can to my arsenal. But two pieces come to mind.
This piece (above) is a good example of “my style,” a blend of realism with comic book influences.