3DTotal: Hi Brad – and thanks for talking the time out to talk to us! Now I usually kick these interviews off by asking a bit about an artist’s background and training, and from what I’ve read of your blog, it sounds like you’ve had one of the more unconventional routes into the 2D art industry. Could you tell us a little about how you came to be where you are today? Brad: Hi Jo! I’m grateful that you guys even asked for an interview, so the pleasure is mine, thanks for having me!
Let’s see ... yeah, “unconventional” is definitely one way to describe the journey I’ve taken to reach where I am now! [Laughs]. I wish I could say that I went to this or that art school, or received training from such and such instructor, but that’s just not the case. In fact, I have the equivalent of a ninth grade education and was ejected from high school.
“I’m self taught” is the Cliffs Note’s version.
I’ve illustrated my whole life, but really became serious about it in my late twenties, when I was just basically doing portraits of my friends’ RPG characters from our weekly Shadowrun and Legend of the Five Rings game sessions. I started shopping my portfolio around to game companies and was confident that they would immediately hire me because my friends thought I was good enough.
I was promptly, and thankfully, given a good boot to the behind by several art directors who kindly – and some not so kindly – informed me that I had a long way to go if I expected to have my work published with them. That was the first in a long line of very important, and necessary, failures that would guide me to better my skills.
After a brief run doing freelance illustration for various table-top RPG companies, I decided that the money wasn’t enough, so I had better get into the video gaming industry and go to college for 3D rendering. I’ll spare you the boring details and tell you that it essentially boiled down to me being unequipped to handle the academics. That - in combination with the fact that I was getting outclassed by teens putting the finishing touches to their second short film when I was trying to figure out how to render a cube - ended up being exactly the epic failure that I needed to push me into a bottomless obsession to better my 2D skills to the best of their ability...
After coming back home I literally locked myself into an apartment for eight years and practiced. When
everyone else was out partying, I was drawing. When everyone else was out on dates, I was drawing. When everyone else was getting somewhere, getting married and getting paid, I was drawing. Towards the middle of that eight year period I was even taken in by some friends of mine in LA when they saw how hell-bent I had become and how far I had let myself go! [Laughs]. And it’s to people like that – my family and friends – that I really owe all my little victories and successes to. Their kindness and charity, along with the experience I gained from my various failures, gave me the means to improve my skills on my own and brought me to where I find myself today.
3DTotal: Can I ask you about what projects you’re working on at the moment? Or if you’re not allowed to talk about them yet, is there something you worked on in the past that really stood out? Something that you’re particularly proud of? Brad: I’m really excited about what I’m working on right now. I wish I could outright say what it is, but due to cloak and dagger NDA contract agreements I can’t. However, I can say that it’s related to a certain sanity-blasting, dead yet dreaming entity that lies housed in an epoch-old, dead city beneath the waves ...
When it comes to something I’m particularly proud of… hmm, let’s see. I’d have to say “Containment Breach Sub-Level 5”. It has a lot of elements I’ve wanted to incorporate into an image for a long time, like the first person camcorder idea and mad-science theme. I feel like the mood I wanted to convey translated pretty well, too; the reaction I’ve gotten from it has been really satisfying. I’ll never get over how great it feels to have people give me their
time and tell me how much they enjoy it, or any other work for that matter.
3DTotal: Now it was interesting looking at your online gallery, because I’m used to being inundated with loads of amazing images when looking through an artist’s profile. While your images are certainly amazing, there aren’t actually that many to admire at the moment! I gather you’ve just taken a large amount of your older work down, so I guess the question I want to ask is: why? Was it just down to the quality of the work or were there any other reasons? Brad: Hey, thanks for the compliment, Jo! I’m glad you like them!
I’ve actually just recently taken a bunch of older work down from my DeviantART gallery. You wouldn’t know it, but I have an enormous amount of work, but it’s simply not reflective of my current skill level and personal standards. I decided a long time ago that my personal standard would always be “quality above quantity”. That’s become even more important now that there are actually people who say they are a fan of my work and me. That will always blow me away! Me? Having fans?! [Laughs]. I want to give only what I think is my best, and I think any fans I may have or get, deserve only that. Sure a few of them are “Okay”, but “Okay” doesn’t really cut it for me.