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Loopydave: illustrator interview

"Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 8" contributing artist Loopydave lets us know his inner workings as an illustrator, sharing some of his amazing work...

"Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 8" contributing artist Loopydave lets us know his inner workings as an illustrator, sharing some of his amazing work...

3dtotal: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career so far?
Loopydave: I currently live and work in a small town, where, through the magic of the internet, I can create, deal with clients AND enjoy the clean country air as well as the occasional pile of horse droppings outside the local shops, and the threat of devastating bushfires in summer.

I studied graphic design and worked as such for a number of years, but, when I learned you could work longer hours and earn less money drawing things, I thought, right, that sounds good, so it's illustration for me! I've been fortunate to work on a large variety of things – book illustration, character design, movie posters, toys, trading cards, advertising, kid's comics, and more.

3dt: What inspired you to enter the digital art world?
Loopydave: I've drawn, sketched and doodled ever since I can remember, and started playing around with paint programs out of curiosity when I worked as a designer. The potential was pretty obvious, particularly when I started as an illustrator and clients wanted a digital file anyway. I still love the feel of using a pencil though, sketching up all my work on paper before digitally painting.

3dt: What is your earliest artistic memory?
Loopydave: I moved around a great deal in my childhood. I have sisters for siblings and I tended to spend a lot of time by myself, so I can't really remember a time when I wasn't drawing. I was always ‘that' kid at school… the one drawing on every notebook, and any spare paper I could find. My maths teacher once commented to my parents that "David's grades would be better if he spent as much time working in my math class as he did drawing." Funny thing is, I don't really have any call for trigonometry these days, but I'm sure all that drawing paid off – so there you have it, Mr Metcalfe.

3dt: What is your current workspace like?
Loopydave: My studio is in a converted garage with a long computer desk against one wall, and seven large bookshelves overflowing with art books, and reference material in a space clearly designed to hold far less. Like most illustrators I know, I have a fine collection of toys and knick-knacks scattered haphazardly through the room, as well as a couple of replicate skulls, and a life-sized mannequin called Harriet.

3dt: What has been your biggest artistic challenge so far?
Loopydave: The biggest challenge for my career as an illustrator has never really been the actual art side of things, but all the other things that go with it – paperwork, quoting, chasing payment from clients, promoting my art and so on. If illustration was more lucrative, I'd love to employ someone to do all that for me, but until then I'll just have to keep bungling through all that stuff!

3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
Loopydave: I guess my ambitions are to continue to make a living as an illustrator and to improve at my craft. I had a book of my art published through BrandStudio Press, something I always wanted to do, and I have had the chance to work on some really great projects, but I have no grand design to rule the world one illustration at a time or anything.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
Loopydave: Kind of hard to answer as that list changes and expands on a regular basis – there is a whole galaxy of talent out there and it's so hard to narrow it down. At an early age I was drawn to artists with humor and strong storytelling skills like Norman Rockwell, Wallace Tripp, Albert Uderzo (Asterix & Obelix) and so on, and I think that those qualities still have a strong effect on me today. I discovered fantasy art in my teens – Boris, Frazetta, Luis Royo, Hildebrandt Brothers and the like, who have thematically and technically influenced me too.

I love artists from illustration's glory days – Arthur Rackman, Pete Hawley, Gil Elvgren, Robert McGinnis, and JC Leyendecker. I see the 'fingerprint' of slightly lesser known guys like Dan Decarlo, Dave Stevens, Joe Staton, and Chris Archilleos in my work. There are so many amazing illustrators that I've come across online these days too, most of which make me feel like I really need to work harder on my art.

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
Loopydave: Despite having particularly shapely elbows, I lack the required genetics to make it as a fashion model, so you won't see much of me in that way. As a personal project, I'm currently working on a Mad Magazine-style illustrated book on sci-fi tropes, and I'm sure to be posting illustrations of other stuff online as I draw and paint them.

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