1. Design & Illustration
  2. Inspiration

Interview With Roy Bourkel


Adversity and loss have definitely fueled this resilient designer to create some amazing artwork. Becoming a designer was pure coincidence for Roy but he took advantage of his talent and is now creating some extraordinary artwork. With a very unique style that doesn't quite sit on one particular technique Roy can illustrate exactly what he is feeling. In our interview Roy discusses how he overcame some obstacles in his life, which in turn made him a much better 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, my name is Roy Bourkel, and I am from Luxembourg, a tiny, but lovely country situated in the mid-west of Europe. I always used to be a 'draw-a-holic' and when I found a 4.0 version of Photoshop in my fathers belongings I really started to get into digital art.

Q Who, and or what made you want to become a graphic designer?

That's an interesting question, because when I think about it closely, it was pure coincidence. Actually I planned to become a doctor, in my desire to change something in this world, but when my dad finally lost his fight against his cancer, I gave up on that thought and decided to do, what I love the most, creating!

Q How have you developed your design style over the years? And how has it changed since you started getting serious about digital art?

When I started I had a lot of trouble getting along with the new, weird environment. It's just hard for a traditional artist to move over to the digital 'dark-side'. But it was a good step in the right direction; I made huge improvements only in the last year. 8 months ago, I injured my head, my right arm and hand were paralyzed and there was a possibility that I'd never regain my abilities, so I decided to become dual-handed and trained my left hand. I worked hard and at the moment I am working on new techniques and tricks. Looking at my stuff gives me the feeling that I am drifting in a more conceptual art branch. And I like that.


Q You are only 17 years old, do you plan on being self-taught in digital art or are you going to attend a design university and get a degree?

Well, I am sorry that I forgot to update my info. I am 18 now, and I am planning to study art and design and get a degree. I can teach myself a lot, but you can never learn enough, don't you agree? And in my opinion, knowledge results in creativity.

Q "BIOLUMINESCENCE" is an astounding illustration that you did for SlashTHREE's latest design pack, please talk a little about the creation of this piece and its concept.

Thank you! The way Bioluminescence was created is pretty weird. It all began when I started to train my left hand. I had all those cool copic markers laying around and a lot of time. First, I had to start with easy elements to get a feeling with the left hand. Then after a week I had a whole bunch sheets filled with conceptual stuff, and I took 34 of them, with useful elements and started to digitalize them and continued my work in Photoshop.

To actually understand the concept behind 'Bioluminescence' you have to know the original title 'Bioluminescence: 2013'. I am not naive, but I thought about the Mayan calendar and imagined the possibility if it'd actually happened. What could our world look like? Life is the strongest constant in nature and even when our race will be long gone, a lot of life forms will still remain and some of the most resistant inhabitants do live in the depths of the sea. Now to combine this with colors and weird forms? Exactly, bioluminescence!

Then I made a first attempt, but I didn't like it at all, so I decided to start from the beginning, but with the same 34 images I had. I changed the name to only focus on the colors and there you go.

Q Your portfolio features a few great typographical pieces that you have made. Are there any differences in the approach you take to a typographic piece, opposed to a non-typographic piece; and if so why?

I don't think so. I always plan and think a lot, before I start working. The only thing in a typographical work, that could be a little different, is that I focus a little more on technical aspects like symmetry, forms etc. , but that's not always the case. For me it is another way of creating artworks.

Q What would you say is your biggest flaw when designing? How do you try and correct it?

I am never satisfied. I strive to become one of the best and I just can't focus on finished stuff, I have to go on. It's both a curse and a benefit. My weakest spot is also my greatest, so I don't care about it at all.

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

No, thank you, for taking your time to let me share my thoughts with one of the best communities worldwide. If I may give our readers one advise, I'd like to tell them, that you should just never give up, never lay down your pen and just continue. Don't ever argue about what you do, or what you don't, just do something and keep on working and you will see, the results will come!

Where to find Roy on the Web

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