DrSpazmo Artist Interview
You can check me out at Dr Spazmo Illustration on Facebook or you can see a full range of old to super old art on my website: http://www.dr-spazmo.com. You can also follow me on twitter @drspazmo.
Q: Tell us more about DrSpazmo? Tell us how your art career as evolved. A: I grew up in the tiny Gold Rush town of Sutter Creek, California. I knew from an early age that I was an artist. I have always just kind of digested the world visually. I think we all start out that way as children. I just have just remained fascinated by the way the world looks. Drawing and painting has always been a way for me to understand the world, express myself and have fun. My mother is a very good artist so I grew up thinking drawing and painting was a pretty normal thing to do. I drew caricatures and airbrushed T-shirts at Sea World In San Diego while I was going to school at SDSU. After graduating I worked painting murals and billboards for a while in San Francisco then started doing caricatures and humorous editorial illustration for magazines and periodicals as a freelancer. I did that for a few years before starting my career as a commercial illustrator. I worked for an illustration and design studio in Santa Monica for a few years then moved to Oregon and worked in a foundry doing wildlife and figurative sculpture in clay for bronze casting. After a while I was back to California again where I got involved in the printed t-shirt industry, tattooing and then again more t-shirts. So as you can see I have moved around quite a bit trying to investigate the art making process from many angles. I have even left out quite a bit to keep the word count down. Now I reside in Biggs California with my wife Katie two step children and all our animals. We have two parrots, four dogs, two cats and a whole legion of ruthless chickens. I'm pretty much the fifth dog- they are always at my feet.
Q: What drew you to the Blizzard Diablo contest and why did you select the character in your design? A: I have been entering the Design By Human Daily Contest for a little while now. When I saw the Diablo 3 contest was going on I had to enter! I love making dark and creepy art.
Q: How did you create your master piece for the Diablo Contest? A: I used Photoshop for the entire process of making my design. I have an extra large Wacom tablet now and absolutely love it. I have recently started doing even my rough sketches digitally. I started with a pretty loose sketch then on a new layer I tighten the drawing and add more detail. When the drawing is complete I begin adding the color underneath. I put each color on its own layer because I figure it makes it easier to color separate and therefore, in the end, make a nicer print. It also makes it easier for me to keep track of how many colors I'm using.
Q: Your design uses some strong graphic lines and bright colors, was that intentionally done to stand out from the crowd? A: Yes Definitely. I actually did an initial version of this design that was just black and white. I wanted the drawing to be real strong and impactful so I made it a huge all-over design without any colors to distract from it. When I saw all the other beautiful designs other artists had entered I felt inspired to do a design in color also. I almost did a full color painted design but decided my original Mephisto would look pretty sweet in color. I was a little concerned that I would get way involved in the painting of a new design and probably neglect other projects that I needed to start. I'm glad now that I went that route. I ended up liking my color version of the design way more than the original design.
Q: Where you influenced by any of the amazing Blizzard artists or elements from their games when creating your winning design? A: Yes. Those Blizzard artists are amazing and inspirational. I love all the art connected with the Diablo video game. Mephisto is my favorite character. Those big-ass horns on his head are great! He makes that dude with the huge traps from that movie Legend look like a sissy!
Q: You have a DBHCollective store, how is that working out for you? A: I'm just getting rolling with my collective store. It is a blast. DBH has such a great set up for their artists. I love that many of my designs will find a home there. I'm hoping that after this contest I will get a lot more traffic in my Collective store. I not very well-known right now. Not too many people know to find my art there yet.
Q: What digital program did you use to make your design and what tips do you have for aspiring artists? A: Like I mentioned earlier, I used photoshop for this design. I have a traditional background. I translated everything I understood about the painting process from a traditional approach into a digital approach because I was working in the commercial illustration industry as the big shift to digital art occurred. I would like to say it was a fantastic thing but it really took me a while to recover. I did not like making art on the computer at first. I hated making art that had no original feel and you could not hold in your hands as you were creating it or even when its finished. But over time the computer has grown on me. The computer and I get along very well now and, sadly, I don't do nearly enough traditional work anymore. My advice to aspiring artists is to learn how to draw and paint traditionally before learning on the computer. I feel it is very important to develop your touch in the real world. It is much harder to develop the same kind of basic hand touch on the computer. You are at the mercy of the sensitivity of your equipment and not your potential. Learning to work in traditional media will help you greater respect the work you create on the computer.
Q: Let's talk about self promotion. How did you gather votes and get so much attention on your entry to the contest? A: I am not super good at self-promotion yet. I try to make my art speak for itself so I don't have to say much. That has alway been my modus operandi. I'm learning that is not really the best approach for internet marketing so I'm trying to become more visible through my Dr Spazmo Illustration Facebook site and Twitter.
Q: We had many great entries into this contest, which one stood out for you and why? A: I think my favorite is Ruthless by silentOp. It's a very hard choice though. There were so many strong designs in this contest. I felt there were many more strong designs in the Diablo 3 contest than in the Dark Night Rises contest-and there were far fewer entries. What I like about Ruthless is the very strong and nicely balanced drawing heavily grounded to the bottom of the shirt. The placement of the image on the shirt is perfect. The dark bottom and light top of the shirt is very interesting and wearable. VERY COOL!
Q: Finally, congratulations on landing a large cash prize. How do you intend on spending it? A: Thank You DBH and all you DBH artists and humans. My family and I have been saving for a few years to go to Hawaii next summer. We are all booked to go but are barely pulling it off. This cash prize will be a great help.