“Draw all the time” – Dave’s advice for aspiring illustrators. When he’s not drawing him and his wife put together puzzles, “cool ones though, from eBoy, Jon Burgerman and others”, read more….
Can you give some advice for aspiring illustrators?
I hate to trot out such a tired cliché, but success really is a matter of luck; the harder you work, the luckier you get. Really, though, draw all the time. Show your work to anyone who will look at it. Be polite, say “Thank you.” Basically all that stuff you actually did learn in kindergarten.
What are your hobbies outside of design?
This is going to make me sound ridiculously old, but I put together puzzles with my wife. Cool ones, though, like eBoy or Jon Burgerman designs.
Would you tell us how you got started in illustration?
Like just about every illustrator, I’ve always liked to draw. Also like a fair number of illustrators, I didn’t immediately think about pursuing it as a career. That came later, at Truman State University, where I graduated with a BFA in Visual Communications. My first job out of school was designing t-shirts for college fraternities and sororities. It was fun for awhile, but I needed to sharpen my skills, so I went to Portfolio Center in Atlanta. Since then, I’ve worked in NYC, DC, Cleveland and LA (where I live now) on everything from t-shirts and board games to online games and animation for television.
What do you think of your time at school and university?
I loved being at Portfolio Center. It was the first time in my life that I was able to focus purely on art and pursuing it as a career. My teachers really took the time to get to know me and help me improve my skills. They were also working professionals, so they knew the business and helped prepare us for what to expect. I mean, nothing completely prepares you, but it was an excellent start.
What was your inspiration for your business card design?
My business card is essentially a marriage of all my corporate identities. It’s a stylized self-portrait, my own fonts and my logo, a monster named Clarence.
Can you tell us what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m working at Cartoon Network on the show Uncle Grandpa as a Color Stylist. On the side, I’ve been working with various freelance clients on projects ranging from new product design to font design. When I’m not doing all of that, I work on my projects for my company, Savage Monsters Industries.
How do you manage your work time?
If anyone has an answer as to how one does this effectively, I’m all ears. I still haven’t figured it out.
What kind of projects are your favorite and how do you typically start a new one?
I always like making products, like stickers, t-shirts and business cards. It’s fun to work on a design, send it off to the printer or fabricator, then get it in the mail. It’s like giving myself Christmas.
Depending on the project, I might look through my art books for reference (I have more than I care to admit), draw in my sketchbook or on the computer. Or I may just procrastinate and worry about it for awhile. That works too.
Are there any tools you couldn’t live without?
Well, I work on a MacBook Pro hooked up to a Cintiq, when I’m at home. But when I’m out and about, I always have a Moleskine, archival markers and a bunch of stickers.
What are your favorite online sites?
Besides Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, and such? Hmm, I tend to fall down Tumblr rabbit holes and get caught up in conspiracy theory sites (you cannot tell me that junk isn’t interesting). For artsy stuff, I hit drawger.com, lederniercri.org, and various friends’ sites and blogs. I also stream music from cannibalcaniche.com.
Where do you go for design inspiration?
I love travelling and finding pockets of cool street art or unusual museums, like the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, with the best collection of totem poles I’ve ever seen. I’m still thinking about that one. I’m also the weird dude, lurking at bookstores, toy stores and galleries, trying not to buy more stuff.
What are your best methods for finding/attracting clients?
Honestly, after years of working, it’s still a mystery to me. It’s a combination of having an online presence, reaching out to potential clients, checking online job postings, and being in the right place at the right time. But again, this is where developing a wide network of friends and associates and being polite serves you in good stead. Nobody wants to work with a jerk. Manners count.
Thanks again Dave, see more of his work at http://savagemonsters.com/