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Interview with UK Artist Craig Shields

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Craig Shields is an extraordinary 22 year old graphic designer from the UK. With a long lineage of artists in Craig's family he feels comfortable with a pencil in his hand. Currently attending his last year at a University for design, Craig is now thinking about what path he will take when he graduates.

In this interview Craig discusses how his stint in the University has benefited him as an artist. He also describes how he created one of his amazing pieces for the latest Depthcore art pack. So let's get into another awesome interview!

1. Welcome to Psdtuts+ and please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you're from and how you got started in the field?

Hi, my name is Craig Shields, I'm 22 years old and I live in the city of York, UK. I’ve always had an interest in art, since an early age. My mum was an artist, and her mum, and her mum before that. It runs in the family I suppose.

It was natural for me to pick up a pencil and draw something eye catching. I used to get in trouble for always doodling in my books at school though. I was obsessed with making my own little characters and art became more of a habit than a hobby, I only did it because I was bored in class.

It wasn't until we got the Internet back in 2004, that I came across Depthcore. I was amazed. Digital art was new to me, inspiring and I wanted to create my own. One thing led to another: I got a copy of Photoshop, and got creating. All those years later, here I am. Not to mention I'm now a member of my inspiration, Depthcore.

2. In your bio you stated that you are in your last year of design school. Describe how design school specifically helped you become a better artist.

Yep, I’ve still got one more year to go, and then I'm done. The course I take is probably not the best course for me. I was under the impression that in Graphic Design we would have been learning some Photoshop techniques, and some illustration work would have been involved. But no, all we get given is briefs from websites to complete.

Briefs that don't interest me or get me excited. A lot of the work is bookmaking. Stitching page after page together. I find it boring and I also find it hard to incorporate my skills into any of the work we are given. As negative as it all sounds, I think it has made me a better artist because I’ve learned a lot about what I don't want to do in the future, pushing me to work harder at what I like doing.

3. You have pretty much chosen designing to be your career in life. Who and or what initially made you want to pursue this field?

Like I said, it runs in the family. I love things that stimulate me visually. The internet has been my main source of inspiration. Everyday I find something that makes my work look like crap. It's not a bad thing. I've always found that thinking my own work isn't good enough just makes me want to do better next time, and try something different. It's always been like this for me, its my workflow.

I enjoy a lot of what I do, even client work. Being able to create something and make someone other than yourself say they like it, makes me happy. I strive to be the best I can in each piece I do, like most other artists out there.

4. Your design style varies from each illustration you do. How much do you really experiment with new techniques when you are about to create a new piece?

I call it exploring. I hate sticking to the same style. I like to test myself and see what I can and can't do - push myself. It really helps to keep me going and stops me getting bored quickly, lol. I refuse to read tutorials, I'd rather find out how to create something my own way, in my own time. Its more enjoyable for me to explore different techniques sometimes with good results, some bad.

Freestyler

5. In terms of designing what would you say is your biggest strengths and weaknesses? And when creating illustrations how do you play to your strengths and away from your weaknesses?

My biggest strength would be my determination to better myself as an artist. As corny as it sounds. Reading more design related material, such as: magazines, books, blogs, websites, etc. Talking to other artists too. Seeing what they're doing, how they go about things and then wanting to do the same for myself. Like every designer out there, I want to be better.

My weaknesses....erm. I drink way too much Red Bull - lol. It keeps me up all night, but does nothing for my imagination. I lose my sense of direction when making something. Unfortunately, I sometimes have lots of work to do so I have no option but to stay up all night. I think I have a problem...

Urban Environment

6. "Hocus Pocus" is an astounding illustration that you created for Depthcores latest pack entitled "Her". Explain to us what lies within all this beautiful chaos. And please walk us through the process of creating this illustration.

Thank you! The concept revolves around love at first sight. The man can't explain why he feels the way he does about her. He just does. Its magical, surreal. Almost like she’s placed a spell on him.

I started off with the models face. She's beautiful but I wanted to add a creepy twist to it. Adding textures and painting little details on to her gave her this look. The hands were added next. They were positioned to give the impression that a spell was being made. A combination of dark and grungy textures made the background, and various other paint textures to create a sort of spider-web pattern around her head.

Vibrant green marks were made with my Wacom to represent your typical spell and also inject some much needed color into the image. Finally, some foreground shapes were blurred to give a sense of movement and depth.

Hocus Pocus

7. What do you plan on doing when you graduate from design school?

I'd like to continue freelancing, or I'd like to get a job as a junior designer at a small design studio. We'll see, it all depends on this next year and what happens. I'm just going to take it day by day.

Digital Arts Magazine Tutorial

8. Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?

No problem, thank you for the interview. For everyone reading, enjoy yourself and what you do.

Where to find Craig on the Web

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