One of the few things that can sometimes irk me about drawing is the assumption that I’m in some way lucky to be able to draw- like it was some sort of magical gift from a passing wizard on the day that I was born or something. Here’s the thing: I couldn’t always draw- any more than your dentist always knew the correct way to pull your teeth out- or Garry Kasparov had the moves to be a chess grandmaster from the word go.
Drawing is a skill, just like any other- and it can be learned. Some people pick it up more quickly than others- and some people get really, really good at it (these are the people that usually spend a lot of time practicing), but there’s no big secret that we’re keeping from you- you just have to practice. If you want to learn to draw (or you just want to get better at it) there is no substitute for practice. The more you draw, the better you’ll get. That’s it.
I recently heard that some artist or other had claimed that the reverse of this is true- and that you can either draw, or you can’t- that no amount of practice will ever help you.
I’ve got to tell you, I found that pretty amazing. Almost as amazing as this guy:
Now tell me he didn’t learn to draw.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t learn to do something that you want to do- because that will only be true if you decide to listen to them and stop trying.
Love your image of Walter White, captured him at his most evil. hope you get permissions to publish the image.
(I think this was fan mail- but as soon as I published it, thinking that I could reply, it became a post from myself! Sorry about that, mystery fan!)
thecosmonaut asked: Hello, sir! Is it possible for me to purchase your Walter White print anywhere?
Not at the moment, no. I’m thinking about doing a limited run, but I’d have to get permission first. If I do decide to do one, I’ll let people know, here.
Glad you like it!
beccaleccaspecca asked: Hello! I've found the questions I wanted to ask :) How long have you been illustrating? How long does it take to design the thumbnails for a book? How long does it take to complete the final piece? Who inspires your style of illustration as some is extremely unique! What kind of techniques do you use? Do you have any qualifications in art? Where do your ideas come from? What's your general process? Thank you so much for your help and I'm sorry there are so many! I'm very inquisitive! :D x
I’ve been drawing pretty much all my life, but I’ve been doing it professionally for about 20 years- and full time for the last 15.
Thumbnails depend on the project, really. I’m currently doing 16 full page illustrations for HarperCollins and the thumbnails for that took me a couple of hours- but they could take at least a day if they were more complicated (these weren’t particularly complicated- most of it takes place in the woods, so it was mainly about positioning the figures).
Again, the length of time it takes to complete something generally depends on what it is. As a rough guide, I like to leave a full day for each rough (which comes after the thumbs) and another day for the final piece. Sometimes it takes a bit less, sometimes it takes longer- so it all averages out. If it takes a lot longer than that, it’s generally down to me procrastinating over some minor detail that nobody else will ever notice! Generally speaking, I tend to finish in plenty of time though- which is a lot better than telling a client they can have it on Tuesday, but delivering it on Friday instead.
Pretty much all of my work is digital now- even the thumbnails. I work in Manga Studio, Painter and Photoshop and do all of my drawing on a Wacom Cintiq. Before that, I drew everything on a Wacom tablet. I use a lot of texture layers at various opacities and different layer styles (multiply, overlay and colour burn, for example).
Apart from ‘O’ Levels in art and design (yes, I’m that old), I have a BTEC in General Art and Design, but I’m basically self taught. I had planned on doing illustration to HND or BA level after the BTEC, but real life ended up getting in the way. Ironically, the one part of my BTEC that I always used to skive off was computer illustration- because I didn’t think I’d ever need it.
I’m not really sure where my ideas come from, to be honest. 99 times out of 100, my brief is pretty tight and I just draw whatever the client asks for (although a lot of the time, something better will pop into my head as I’m doing it and, if the client agrees, we go with that instead). When I’m drawing for myself, I often just doodle until I come up with something that I feel like finishing. The Walter White pic is a good example of this. It started out as just a normal portrait- but then I liked the idea of hiding most of him away- and then I thought about adding the skull. It just evolved as I drew it- which is my favourite way to draw.
I wrote about my general process here, a couple of years ago: http://matttimson.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/ridiculously-inefficient-character.html
I’ve started cutting out the insane process of drawing, smudging and redrawing lines with negative space gubbins- although that’s exactly what I’m doing for my current job, because that’s what the client likes and that’s what we did last time.