Design Rob Shields has found much success in his style of artwork, his dark inspired illustrations have landed him many features in some of the top Photoshop magazines. In our interview, Rob gives us some insight into how to get your work published; we also discuss his specific style of design and what he is looking to do with it in the future. So check out this interview with another amazing artist.
Q Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you're from and how you got started in the field?
Hello, I am a self-taught freelance illustrator working for the past few years in Philadelphia, USA. I’ve been making digital art since 2006 and began to freelance full time at the end of 2008. I tend to create emotionally driven artwork that is delicate and dark. To see my latest work and find out where my images will be on display please visit my website.
QGive us a look into your general brainstorm process when starting a new project.
I’ve actually begun to re-imagine my process lately. In order to give my imagination more freedom I’ve begun to create basic sketches in Photoshop using a blank canvas and my Wacom. Whenever an idea comes to me I will sketch it quickly without worrying about how it might be finished or what it currently looks like. Using this sort of cafe napkin approach to brainstorming I’ve changed my emphasis from technique driven pieces to more concept driven work.
QAlmost all of your art focuses on having one human stock in the center of your canvas which is then decorated by group of fascinating effects. Why do you choose to keep using this style instead of trying something new out?
Well its no secret that I have a fondness for portraiture. I like the human image and the process of building a complex personality for the subjects that I create. Recently however I’ve begun to move away from this style and concentrate on different things. For instance, I’ve been slowly building my digital painting skills in order to create more fully realized narratives as opposed to single character studies. I’ve also rekindled my interest in typography and abstract art. My goal is to concentrate less on style and devote more energy to the feeling I want in each piece.
Q"Odd Blood" is one illustration that simply stands out in your portfolio because of its strong colors and the dark atmosphere that you set. Please tell us about the process of creating this piece.
Odd Blood is actually my last personal dark portrait. By this I mean it’s the last dark portrait that I set out to make without anyone else asking me to do so. I had the image of the girl that I really loved and I wanted to create something with it that would be both colorful and dark. I decided to keep the composition simple in terms of experimentation so that I could spend more time playing with the colors of the piece. The title comes from the Yeasayer Album which at the time had just been released and was on a few of my play lists.
QYou have been featured in several popular Photoshop publications like Advanced Photoshop Magazine & Digital Arts. What would your advice be to other designers who hope to get some of their work published?
Well first of all research the magazines. Find out what kind of images are being published, how your work stacks up and where it will fit in best. When you feel you are ready contact the magazine. You can email but if you have a little extra money sending a promotional package is the best way to introduce yourself and your work. The most important rule is don’t be annoying. Sometimes it will take people several weeks to respond if they respond at all so don’t take it personally when you don‘t get a response right away. Keep the emails to a minimum, always be polite and be sure to show only your best work.
QThe majority of your illustrations feature dark colors with a glimmer of bright colors riddled throughout the piece, what exactly draws you to create these dark pieces?
There is something very romantic about the dark. It’s perfect and endless. I have a great nostalgia for the dark; it’s the oldest story I know. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I do not associate sadness or evil with the dark. I find comfort there. Its very calm and very open to everything, the perfect place to create something that isn’t there.
QWhere do you plan to take your designing career in the future? And what do you hope to accomplish in the next couple of years?
In the future I would like to create a progressively more organic art form. I am very much attracted to digital painting and hope to leave photo manipulation behind within the next couple of years. In the more immediate future I plan to unveil a new secondary design identity which will be a collaborative effort focusing on many aspects of design that are outside what I‘m currently doing.
Q Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thanks so much for the opportunity to be interviewed. My final thought is just a small piece of advice to all aspiring designers (and myself). Don’t copy other designers, become better than them.