Q1:Let’s start with the common question, if you can kindly introduce yourself.
Hi. My name’s Charlie, and I’m an American comic book artist and freelance illustrator. I get paid to paint ridiculous things, and I love it.
Q2: How did you get into the field of your work?
I’ve always loved to draw, and I’ve always loved pictures that tell stories. That’s what comic books and illustrations are, so I’ve kind of been naturally drawn to the field since I was young. Once my draftsmanship reached a point where people began to offer me money for my work and services, I began to promote myself and seek out creative opportunities that interested me. Illustration’s an incredibly demanding field, and it takes some extreme persistence to thrive here. Especially for a traditional artist.
Q3: Do you have any current favourite artists, photographers who may of influenced you to become the artist that you are?
Most of the artists that inspired me as a painter have long passed-away (Norman Rockwell, JC Leyendecker, NC Wyeth, Rembrandt and the old Dutch Masters), but today’s comic book industry is overflowing with brilliant and talented artists. Two comic book artists that have impacted me the most are Jae Lee and Alex Ross. That kind of talent sets the standard for what can be achieved in the pages of a comic book.
Q4: What are the main tools of your trade?
I’m a traditional painter that works mainly in gouache. I like to work on Strathmore 500 series illustration board because of its heavy weight and it holds up well against all of the water that I put on the page. My 2 main brushes are Winsor & Newton Series 7 sables (#4 and #5), and I use Winsor & Newton gouache.
Q5: How was it for you to learn the process of that? Did you teach yourself, take classes or learn from other existing artist’s tutorial
Learning how to draw was pretty easy for me, because I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Learning how to paint was a lot tougher. I only began painting in 2008, and I’ve never had any formal instruction with it, so most of my time when I first started was all about learning what not to do. I’m actually still learning new things every time I paint a picture. For some reason, I also thought that starting off with water colour and gouache would be the easiest for a beginner, but apparently that’s completely wrong!
Q6: Do you think its possible for you to describe the process of your art style, what are the dos and don’ts, the important aspects you set yourself to achieve your style of design? Do you prefer to be known as a comic artist, a painter or ‘artofmadness’?
I prefer to think of myself as an illustrator, because no matter what field I’m working in, I’m really just telling stories with pictures. My particular style is pretty photo realistic and I use a lot of photographic reference materials to “build” my pictures. I also like to draw from life using physical props. It’s very easy for someone that paints like I do to fall into the trap of using photographs as a crutch or of relying too heavily on the reference material in front of you. The trick is to remember that the reference material works for you, it’s not the other way around. I try to use just enough detail so that the audience knows what they’re looking at. After that point, I’m free to flex my own creative and stylistic muscles and see where the picture takes me from there.
My actual process is pretty simple: I sketch out a rough free-hand thumbnail of what I want my page or picture to look like (solving most of the composition questions before I even get started painting), I photograph or collect the elements in the picture, sometimes I’ll draw a complete full-size tonal sketch to be sure that everything works harmoniously on the page (I usually skip this step if I’m already convinced that the picture will work), then I’ll use a mechanical pencil to lightly sketch the picture onto a piece of illustration board. If I’m working in black and white or monochrome, the process ends at this point once I’m finished painting. If I’m working in full colour, I’ll first paint the entire picture in black and white, and then paint it again by applying the colour directly over the black and white under-painting. And that’s pretty much it.
Q7: What are the biggest struggles you encounter as an artist?
You mean aside from finding consistent work? Ha ha, I think most artists have that problem. My own biggest struggle has been finding a balance between the hours I spend painting at my drafting tables and spending quality time with family and the people that I love. Being an illustrator entails very long hours of solitude and isolation, and juggling those two very different aspects of my life can be a big challenge sometimes. I’m lucky though, because I’m surrounded by some of the most supportive people ever.
Q8: Do you have any other future plans that don’t involve art? Would consider working outside that field and into something new?
I don’t know if I can even imagine my life without some form of artistic outlet, and I’ll continue to do this stuff for as long as I’m physically able to. If I were ever financially secure enough to be able to walk away from it though, I’d gladly spend the rest of my life trying to make up for all those lost hours with my family and the people I love. I guess overall that’s really my biggest goal.
Q9: Do you have any personal mottos, quotes or existing quotes that motivates you to do what you love doing? Can you share it with us?
Someone once told me that if I was really serious about making a living with my art and improving beyond the level that I’m currently at, that I’d need to do it every day, especially when I didn’t feel like doing it at all. That’s still some very profound advice that’s always stuck with me: do it every day, even if you don’t want to!
Q10: To round off the last question, where can your fans and new fans find updated news and progress from you – where can we find you?
Thanks to the internet, I’m all over the place these days! My most frequently updated sites are on deviantART http://artofmadness.deviantart.com
I can also be reached directly through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for taking the time to interview me and for featuring me on your site!