— So I thought i should preface this by saying that i am huge fan of your work and charcoal in general. However, I noticed that a lot of your drawings are super gendered(sexy naked girl dead in the woods, sexy sort of naked girl with animal, sexy girl looking upset)I was wondering if you put a lot intentionality in to this or whether it was just something that you felt natural drawing. I was also wondering what part narrative plays in your works. Do you think about the stories behind your drawings?
This is an awesome question, thank you for asking this. I always think it’s funny when I see my work categorized in magazines or on blogs as sexy, racy, provocative art, etc, because the idea of drawing a ‘sexy’ picture is never in my head when I sit down to start a piece. I can see though, how the work might be interpreted as such. My work, as it should be, is a complete extension of myself. When I figure out what I wanna do, I try and draw from things rooted within my life. God knows we dont need another fucking portrait of another naked girl looking sexy on the internet. I get sick of that shit too. Most times it seems like it’s the ‘go-to’ for artists who need something to draw, and something to sell. And I do think about all this, and I try not to make myself sick to the stomach knowing that I might fall into the same category of every other tumblr-based artist that draws a generic naked chick, simply perpetuating this continuation of lack of substance within a piece of artwork.
However, I really dont feel like drawing anything else. Girls and relationships within my life are probably the main reason I draw. Girls get to me. I’m sure if I was gay, i’d be drawing the same stuff, only with dudes. I can lay out all my feelings on a sheet of paper and weave every feeling from desire to disdain in one piece of a girl. So at this point in my ‘art life’ Ive been keeping my thoughts off of what figures I put into a piece, and more on what it’s going to say, because THAT’s the difference I want between my stuff, and every other drawing of a naked chick out there. I don’t care for the female beauty for the show, or the classic resonance bullshit, or the fact that it’ll increase my chances to sell a piece in an expensive gallery setting to some asshole who drives a lambo and wants his living room to look like a fucking greek orgy. I want it in my drawing because the women in my life are the ones who generate my feelings to draw.
— I adore your Magic: The Gathering card art so much, but i was wondering if you’ll do any more art in other sets?
I’m not really allowed to say anything but… if you liked those, I promise you wont be disappointed.
— What advice do you have for people who want to illustrate for Magic: The Gathering?
Don’t change your work to fit your potential client. If fantasy art is what you want to do, and Magic is something you really want to achieve, and you think your personal art could fit into that trading card style, then go for it. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you. Back in school I was under the impression that I had to mold myself to fit every need of every dream client I ever wanted. I wanted to do comics, cards, books, newspapers, gallery works. And nothing is keeping me from achieving those things, however, I have to do it to fit MY style. When you start generating work for clients based on what you think they want to see, you work gets weak and scattered. Suddenly, you are no longer doing art for yourself, and at that point, it’s not even art, its a crappy reproduction of what you think the client wants to see. If you want to start getting noticed for you, start doing work that will fit with the theme of what you want (in this case, it’s dragons, wizards, werewolves) but do it YOUR way. You need to find a balance which shows an art director how well you can meet their needs, but at the same time, your art shows them, ‘I am drawing for myself as much as I am drawing for you’. Just keep working and keep honing your skills, and when you think you’re at a point where you feel really good about your stuff, put it out there in front of the art directors you want to work with.
— Hi! I’ve noticed that your work has a really great sense of lighting and atmosphere. What kind of references do you use (you mentioned photography once), if any?
I take my own photo references for my work, mainly when it comes to the figures in them. A lot of times though, I’ll compile a group of reference photos for the settings, and I find those online (getting photo references of spooky woods in Brooklyn is a little tough). I like to keep my reference loose, so that I’m not just re-drawing a photograph though. In regards to the lighting of the piece, it really depends. Sometimes I’ll photograph my figures in the lighting that I want them to have in the drawing, and sometimes I wont pay attention to getting the lighting accurate and just go off of what I think looks right in my head. Once you get an understanding of how light plays with different shapes, it can make a drawing more interesting if you just jump into it and improvise what the lighting might look like when it’s thrown across a scene. And when you start to figure out how the light bounces around naturally, you can apply it to almost anything, which allows you to free yourself from finding/taking difficult reference shots just to get things accurate.
— Would you ever consider publishing a book filled with your artwork?
— How do you do to achieve the black areas in your pictures if you only use Faber-Castell Graphite Pencils?
You caught me! I dont just use graphite pencils. For the darkest areas I use carbon. It helps to achieve super super darks in your drawings because the carbon doesn’t have any sheen on it and it blends really well with graphite. I tend to use a knife and shave the carbon powder over the darkest areas of my drawings and blend it into the graphite so it looks a little softer.