Jeremy Love, concept artist and Sketch Workshop guru behind the designing spaceships section of Robots & Spaceships, shares his portfolio and
words of wisdom...
The artist behind the excellent 'How to design spaceships' tutorial in the Sketch Workshop: Robots & Spaceships workbook, opens up to 3dtotal about his career choices and inspirations, and reveals what it's like to work within the industry...
3dtotal: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first became interested in illustration and concept design?
Sure thing, I spent the first 19 years of my life in New Zealand's North Island, until moving to Australia in the mid-90s. I actually wanted to be a book illustrator from an early age and remember being in awe of Frazetta
and Boris Vallejo
covers. At the time, it was the only job that I was aware of where I could paint fictional art. I was inspired heavily by so many films and games of the 80s, but the idea of creating art for them had never occurred to me.
For years I had this crazy idea that if I simply painted 10 illustrations (acrylic on board) I could post them to a publisher and magically be handed a career in cover art. I hadn't realized how much I needed to learn and I threw away every attempt. I've been working as a concept artist since 2005, so I'm happy with the way things turned out.
3dt: You seem to have had quite a range of creative experience, from air-brushing as a sign writer to working as a graphic artist, and then discovering 3D; how do you think this has shaped your current
I'd say massively, both creatively and mentally. I never attended university or had any formal training so it took me longer than most to discover this line of work, but I'm totally grateful for every job I've held. Each career turn has taught me something useful, whether it be work ethic or client relations. For example, airbrushing taught me how to mix colors and use masking. I use pretty much the same approach in Photoshop
. Even 3D rendering uses the same principles of rendering in layers. As a sign writer, I needed to be a jack of all trades in everything from mechanics to metal, timber and plastic fabrication. Even electrical and neon installation. This all helped build my knowledge of what makes things work and what materials best suit each application, which I think is crucial to being successful as a concept designer.
Graphic art and sign writing taught me a lot about the importance of composition and what information is displayed. There's only so much info you can cram into a sign or advert before it becomes fruitless, especially when it's only going to be viewed from a passing car over a few seconds. The practice of leading the eye into and around a sign then out again, helps me with layout. I remember finishing an airbrushed sign and feeling satisfied, then having my boss come along and spray huge blobs of pure white highlights all over it. I was devastated, but he told me to stand back 10 meters and squint at it. That's what people will see, he said. I still hated him for it but he made a valid point. I've seen many young digital artists painting concepts, zoomed right into the image, painting the tinniest details, which only serve to make noise, while missing on the overall impact of the design.
Lastly, I've been told I work very fast, which I guess is a product of working to tight deadlines for years. There are huge material overheads in sign construction, so time is definitely money. Clients usually need their goods way before they ask for them and don't like to wait!
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