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The use of nature and animals is sort of a signature style for 18 year old designer Richard Roberts, a fairly young designer who has excelled in the field of photo manipulation. Richard goes through the process of designing one of his best pieces and urges us not to be so impatient with our art.

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

My name is Richard Roberts, I currently reside in Milwaukee, WI, United States. I am an 18 year old freelance graphic artist and Theotherstream is my online portfolio. I am also a member of and design for Depthcore, which is a International Digital Media and Modern Art Collective. I have been designing for about four years and I would say it's my number one passion in life.

My philosophy has always been to be myself when it comes to design and just do my own thing. If I were to describe my style I would say it's simple yet very strong elegant art. I really have a fascination for excellent composition and flow and I work on those elements being very strong in my artwork. As for the future, I just want to continue being myself as an artist and keep experimenting with different things. When I was about 14 I played some video games and a friend showed me Photoshop and I fell in love with it ever since.

2. By looking at your portfolio, I've noticed that animals and nature play a big role in your illustrations. What exactly draws you to using them in your art? And what type of element do they bring to your work that cannot be duplicated by anything else?

I find mixing animals and nature with abstract shapes and other kinds of illustrations very appealing and unique to itself. I find when I mix them in with abstract shapes, photographs, and other illustrations that it brings out a very interesting feel. For example, my pitch for Omega Code's fan book you can see I mixed abstract elements and shapes with deer antlers that I have flowing through the main symbol. Overall ,I feel this adds to the illustration giving it a unique result.

3. "Girl Meets Nature" is an amazing illustration that showcases some impeccable blending skills. Can you give us a short description on some of the techniques that were used to make the transition from animal to human so seamless.

"Girl Meets Nature" was an interesting project and I really enjoyed illustrating it. The goal of the piece itself was to combine a fashion portrait with nature. I started off by illustrating some antlers above her head and that formed into illustrating some animals to add to the overall effect. I went about doing this by getting some references of a deer and swan and then began to digital paint them using my Wacom tablet. The composition and flow here was very important, I worked on forming a very interesting flow throughout the piece.

My object placement here was key. Originally the illustration was for the most part black and white. My blending here had a lot to do with the fact that I colored everything myself, which lead to good lighting and blending for the end result. When I was thinking about the colors I wanted something that would really compliment the concept I was going for so I chose nature like colors, different shades of browns and tans. I chose a light yellow/tan color for the main light source and transitioned that over to dark browns leading into the right side of the illustration.

4. In your opinion what skill set should the ideal designer posses?

I think the ideal designer really needs to have a lot of patience. I see so many designers who rush their work. Some of the best designers spend not days on their work but weeks even months. In the past I used to stop working when my works were good. But I learned to be patient and work until the work in my eyes were amazing and not just settle for good.

The best advice I could ever give someone is really push yourself to have some self discipline and be very patient with your work. As a good friend of mine said once "sleep on it bro, take a look at it tomorrow when you have some fresh eyes." That's probably the best advice I have ever received. Try not to push your artwork, rather let it come to you over a few days/weeks, the end result is always better!

5. You are a very talented designer who has mastered the art of photo manipulation. What techniques should a designer master if they want to perfect this type of art?

There are many forms of photo manipulation's out there. I would say an important factor in mastering it and being successful is to find your own unique techniques and style. Factors such as: lighting, shadows, colors, blending, composition, flow and depth are all key in designing a successful piece. All of these come with time and practice and a good eye for what looks right.

6. How would you describe your career up until this moment? Has it been difficult or fairly easy for you? And why do you think it has been like this?

I would say things have been going very well so far. I have been doing some commissions and hope to share those projects with you soon, check Theotherstream for updates. My journey so far has had so much time invested into it. I haven't really viewed it as hard or easy but more of my determination and perseverance for wanting to improve myself as a freelance artist. I have put a huge amount of hard work and years into where I am now. My passion is design and to be a very successful freelance artist and I feel I am on the right path.

7. Your art almost always features some amazing stock photography. Give us some of your favorite websites to grab stocks from. And what exactly makes them so special.

My main source for stock photography is Dreamstime. The images are not free but it's a very cheap site with very high quality photos at good rates! If you're on a budget and are looking for great photos, then I would definitely check Dreamstime out.

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

Never let anything get in the way of your goals. If you put in enough time and effort and you really want something, you can get it. Be yourself and try to form your own original style. Thank you for interviewing me, the pleasure was mine!

Where to find Richard on the Web

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