INTERVIEW BY IDEA-ILLUSTRATOR MAGAZINE
1. Please introduce yourself?
I'm an illustrator living in Toronto, Canada. My passion in life is learning. I'm a half-time vegetarian, can't whistle and am watching my ecological footprint. I started Leaking Faucet Studio in 1999 and it's been busy ever since. I first did my BA in computer science, attempting to minor in philosophy and geography, only to return a few years later to complete a diploma in illustration.
2. Which 2D software is your master tool to create artwork? Please tell us why you chose these software?
I only use Adobe Illustrator to create my work. I like keeping everything in the vector program because it's easier to make changes to the art, move things around and to scale things. Working with clients, changes are always to be expected and being accommodating will make a happier client.
3. What are the most common problems involved in your illustration process? How do you solve these problems?
Problems, I wouldn't say my problems stem from the technical side, but more from the conceptual side. Most times, I not only producing the final art but also coming up with the concept for the image as well, so coming up with idea is usually half the battle. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes longer to nail down a good concept then others, and at times it seems like no good idea is coming at all. In these cases, I usually go for walks, read news and generally stimulate my brain, hoping something will spark an idea.
4. How to be good digital artist, tell us some suggestions.
I think being a good artist in general is what you should strive for, whatever your medium is, whether it is paint or the computer tablet, it's merely the tool you use to create your final art. That said, if you choose the digital medium as you tool, I suggest not abandoning the pencil and paper. I work out all my art on paper first, sketching the composition and drawing out all the elements. I then scan in the drawing to use as a template for my final art. The reason for this is because drawing by hand a sketch is faster then trying to render on the computer. What happens in a lot of cases is, if you're drawing a figure and the head doesn't look right on paper, you erase it and redraw it in minutes. However, if you spend an hour or so drawing the head initially on the computer and it doesn't look right, you feel inclined to use it still, just because you put a lot of time in to it. This is a bad approach to creating a great image, the amount of time you put into something does not equal the best image. You need to plan it out on paper and work up the best solutions, then go to final to avoid using elements because you simply put a lot of time into drawing or rendering it.
5. What are your sources of inspiration?
My inspiration comes more from the world then from other art that I see. I'm constantly flying around the planet, visiting different areas, cultures and environments. I love to see how different people approach issues and carry their lives in different ways. In the end, I believe it's the contrast that really inspires me. My work is about contrast, the use of hard edges and soft edges, realism and graphics, bright and dark colors, thick and thin, etc., to draw attention to and emphasize the concepts that I'm conveying.
6. How to create an illustration/artwork that has a strong unique style?
A strong and unique style is a hard thing to teach, but what I would recommend is, in order to achieve a strong style, you must be ready to receive criticism and are willing to constantly change and improve your work. You can't be stubborn and believe that your work is already perfect, you won't grow this way and you need to constantly push yourself. I work with the mentality, that every new art that I create should become my new personal favourite. Listen, watch, discover, digest and grow.