Monday, March 21, 2011

Andrew Mar Interview Snippets

Andrew Mar is a current student majoring in illustration at Academy of Art in San Francisco. I love his work for his expressive character designs, his understanding of light and color atop his dynamic perspectives (I'm a sucker for them!).

Horizon's Uncertainty - Society of Illustrators piece 2011

Noah's Deli - 2011

Excerpts from Squatbot and Uncensored Outpour - comic sold at APE
(May even be copies left. I snagged one of each.)

Malcolm - Sketchblog - 2011

The Spartan and the Squatbot - 2011

When you start a piece, how long do you spend in the sketch phase? Concept? Inking? Photoshop? etc.
       ^^ Are there any steps you skip or do differently or that I haven't mentioned?

Sketching and concepting usually go hand in hand. A page will be filled with different ideas for characters' costumes and poses or scenery or props mixed in with the illustrations' thumbnails. 

Typically for Photoshop/Painter, I'll often do the thumbnails and such directly into the computer. It skips the mess of having to bring it into a scanner and cleaning it and such. After that, I'll figure out the basic colors/values under the line drawing. Once that's roughed in I'll start to paint on top of the lines and finish it from there. When I do thumbnail in my sketchbook though, I'll scan it and blow it up to the proper canvas size. Sometimes a little stretching, warping and noodling is required since I don't really think too much about canvas dimensions and such in the early stages.

As for traditional, I'll thumbnail and concept in pretty much the same way before bringing it to full size. Inking depends on how loose or tight I want the rendering to be. It also takes longer because there is little to no room for error.

What do you feel was most helpful when getting started in Illustration while studying at Academy of Art? What is your training like? (As in do they require life drawing or any specific classes? Do you feel that this helped benefit your start?)

The most helpful thing while studying here was what the Director of Illustration told me on the first day at orientation: "Fucking up is the most important thing you can do here." What I took from that is that to create with confidence. School is your safety net in that not succeeding is vital to your education. The instructors are there to help pick you up when you fall. Your peers are here to support you when you fall. 

The training here is pretty traditional. We are required to start with charcoal drawing from still lives, figure models, learning about basic perspective, color, and design. I feel like life drawing is key to creating a believable world later on. People that say that they find it boring and stuff aren't getting that base foundation they'll need for when they want to design stuff from their head. It just won't look right.

Currently, who are the artists that you look to most for inspiration and what is it about these artists that you love? (Artists can be anyone, not just limited to illustrators)
What do you feel has been the best means of self-promotion?

^^ Business cards? Having a good web-presence? Email? Sending out promo art samples?

Right now I'm looking at a lot of Aurelie Neyret, Bill Presing, Tom Scholes, Lois Van Baarle, Man Arenas, and Sergio Toppi. Aurelie, Bill, Lois, and Man all have an amazing character design sense. They way they simplify and caricaturize the human form is really inspiring. Tom Scholes does a lot of environment paintings. They way he utilizes color and light to tell a story with just an environment make my eyes tear. The market is saturated with character artists right now and looking at his work helps me improve my environmental work to give me an edge. Toppi is there because I worship the way he handles ink and design. There is just something unearthly and alien to the way he can use a few strokes of ink to show you exactly how that samurai is holding a sword while riding on a horse into the sunset. All of these artists I look at, I try to learn from their design sense, their execution, and their problem solving/composition skills.

I haven't much experience in self-promotion so far, but I would think having a good web-presence is fairly vital in this modern society where so much is lived through the internet.

Are there any side-projects that you're working on to help get yourself out there and/or keep busy?

I do my comics on the side! I feel like it's a good way to vent and relax. In the beginning of my college days, I thought I wanted to do comics for a living, but I realized that I would end up hating comics from the stress and frustration if I depended on it for my living expenses after graduation. I feel that my comics are very therapeutic and I never want to stop doing them. I changed my focus towards preproduction for animation and film because that would land me a steadier job, keeping me relatively comfortable so that I can make comics as a hobby rather than a job.

As someone struggling to find her own voice in the audience, if you had one suggestion or piece of advice that you've discovered along the way, what would it be?

Throw caution to the wind. Never care about what the audience will think because in the end, the end product is yours and it is what it is. If they like it, they like it. If they don't like it, someone else will like it. It kind of goes back to what my director told me: Not trying is worse than failing.

Do what you like, and an audience will find you.

I advise you all check him out. ;)

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