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Howard Winterson AKA Dyst Interview

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Read Time: 7 min

Howard Winterson has mastered the "abstract" craft of artwork and anyone can easily see it in his work. Howard is extremely talented at creating vivid stories from simple two dimensional and 3D shapes. This master of the abstract also carries an endless supply of wise words that range on many interesting topics concerning design. Lets get into another great interview!

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

Hello, my name is Howard Winterson, commonly known on the internet by my pseudonym Dyst.  I'm from Virginia, in the United States. I started in the field a long long time ago, technically about five years ago, making tags for a forum board.  At the time the signatures were formulaic (I still remember the process: Render > Clouds > Liquify, then do some text with every layer style, such as stroke and outer glow, possible).

I quit shortly after, then came back to it three years ago.  I gradually went from making signatures to getting into large art, at some point I realized it was less restricting to make a tag by doing the work in a larger canvas, and then sizing down.  After a while my interests shifted into large artwork and I started going into where I am.

Q A lot of your art consists of abstract imagery, why do you prefer this style over all other ones? Why are you sticking to this one instead of branching out and experimenting with others?

Abstract artwork to me is a very raw form of technique and creativity, giving you one of the broadest scopes of creativity being able to create and expand on your techniques.  I think it's a lot of fun.  I have some artwork in a few unreleased exhibitions that aren't quite as abstract as the work you see from me typically.  I also seem to bounce from abstract to every once in a while interpreting a concept into my work, which is fun too - but I think my comfort zone at the moment is abstract.

Q When you are creating these abstract illustrations of yours, do you have a set image in mind? Or do you just randomly experiment until you reach a point where you are satisfied?

I always have a set image in my mind, sometimes I'll "sketch it out" with unshaded single color circles and polygons; however, this is not how it always was.  I've just started doing this from about three to four months ago. I used to just make the shapes first beforehand and then compose them as I went along.    There are times where I'll add things where I wasn't thinking I would add something there,   I'll do some improvisations here and there, but most of my work I plan and work off of a basic composition that I set for myself.

Q "Risktaker" at first glance would seem like an illustration made with a 3D program, but in its description it says none of that was used. Please walk us through how you created it, and came up with the idea.

Incidentally enough when I first started making Risktaker I was going for a minimal piece that would show a basic shape breaking.  After trying to do that for a while I realized that it just didn't look very good to me so I started trying some other stuff, and eventually decided to scrap what I had and restart but instead of it being minimal, I'd try my best to illustrate an explosion with the same techniques I was using for the other piece.

It's all pen tooled, sometimes warped shapes, mostly just pen tooled sharp little shrapnel kind of shapes.  It's one of the pieces from me that I am most proud of, took a bit of time and the image I ended up with is a lot of what I was going for.

Q What are some of the most important rules you follow when designing?

I always have to stay in an artistic mind, and an open mind.  The second my mind shifts to a more analytical setting I have a lot more difficulty creating the composition in the first place, or difficulty coming up with a proper technique to make something look good.  I need to make sure I'm in a comfortable setting, nobody is playing loud music, and my desk is relatively clean.

I do like some of my own music to be playing sometimes, so long as its quiet and something "background music" enough to not distract me from working.  If something doesn't work out I try to improvise it in a way that it will work, but at the same time I think it's wise to know when you need to delete or change some work to make it sync with the rest of your work.

Q From looking at your art I can notice that you barley use any stocks of people, or any other images. Why is that? And why do you prefer creating these abstract illustrations from scratch?

I have trouble finding stocks, that's the easy answer.  I'd love to start getting into photo-manipulations and such, but I feel troubled getting the stocks that I want.  It's not out of my mind completely though, you may be seeing some photo-manipulations and the like from me pretty soon, I've gotten into a setting where they're much more possible.  I really enjoy looking at photo-manipulations and so on.  I've done a few works where it's some effects involved with a stock but I have lost interest in those to an extent. I feel like a lot of my techniques don't work well with that kind of style.

Q In what ways do you think you have evolved as a designer since the first time you have used Photoshop?

It's been a while since I started.  I think my understanding of the tools inside Photoshop have evolved. I think that some of the best advice I could give is to play with just about all of them.  All the different kinds of adjustment layers and filters are there for a reason, and they can be used in one way or another, with each other, with a bit of creativity from the artist's part.

I'm always learning new ways how to use these different Photoshop features in conjunction and it can come up with some very interesting and fun results.  I've learned a lot more about myself from my work. When I first started Photoshop work, I was extremely inpatient with my work, and as I worked more I realized that patience is one of the most powerful tools that every artist potentially has at his/her disposal - the more you have of this, the more time you can spend making your work what you want it to be.

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

Thank you for the interview opportunity Emil!  I want the readers to know that in my opinion, doing graphic design can be interpreted in one of two ways - you can either be designing, where your fulfillment is to make things that look good from your standards and from others - or you can just be making art, which can be interpreted in so many ways, but in the end it comes down to how happy you are with it, and your own interpretation of it.  Both of these are awesome, and fine, and to artists like me and several others, the essence of our way of creating.  I hope you enjoyed reading this.

Where to find Howard on the Web

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