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Read Time: 6 min

Zach Bush is a self proclaimed perfectionist, and we can not help but see perfection in his artwork. Zach has an amazing gift for creating realistic, detailed and original illustrations that not a lot of designers can really match. In this interview Zach will give the readers some sound advice on how to improve, and progress as an artist. So let's start the interview!

1. 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 Zach Bush. I just turned 23 and graduated from Radford University in December. I guess I am kind of a late bloomer when it comes to graphic design. I never was interested in the field until the summer of my junior year of college, when a guy from my church asked if I would be willing to design web templates for his company. He offered to pay me and purchase Adobe Creative Suite, but in turn I would have to teach myself through online tutorials. I can honestly say if it weren’t for him I would have kept my art on paper.

During my junior year I switched my major to graphic design and I think I really found my inspiration when a friend from class showed me I was blown away by what the artists were creating using computer programs! I surfed the web some more and realized that there was so many amazing graphic artists out there. First, I became discouraged because I compared my early work to better artist out there; but then I finally just decided to quit crying and find online tutorials to learn new techniques. I have been learning new techniques and styles ever since then.

2. When looking at some of your art I am stunned by the amount of detail put into the paintings. How much do you really focus on detail and realism when painting?

When creating personal works, those are the two most important things I try to incorporate. I don’t want people to glance at my work for two or three seconds and get bored. I try to make it so the viewer has to study each piece.

3. "Chaos of 2012" was created and featured in Slashthree's pack Order vs. Chaos. In your opinion how does this design represent the provided theme?

Well, we were allowed to focus on one of the two, so I chose chaos of course. I just asked myself what would be the most chaotic thing that could happen on Earth that could affect everyone. Although a meteor has been done over and over again, it suddenly hit me that the moon could do some major damage. So if it ever occurs, you can thank me for the visual if you aren’t alive long enough to see it.

4. "Survival Vs Intelligence" is another design featured the Slashthree design pack. Please walk us through how you came to create this breathtaking illustration. Also, how long did it take you to complete it?

Oh man… this was definitely one of the most exciting, yet difficult illustrations I have created. I had this idea in my head for a very long time and finally I just asked my friend if he and his girlfriend would be willing to do a photo shoot. They both immediately agreed. We then moved all the furniture in the tiny little dorm room aside and did the shoot.

The first rough I created on my computer was the girlfriend made of fire and my friend made of water. I spent many hours on it, but never liked where it was going; so I left the project alone for a couple weeks. I didn’t want to give up on the piece, but I just didn’t like it. I pretty much started over and decided to do Survival vs. Intelligence after receiving input from friends.

All the metal was created using parts from car and motorcycle engines. The two main tools I used to make everything look like it went together, were the warp tool and a pen tablet for painting. I used around 300 layers all together but finished with around 180. I am not sure exactly how long this took but if I had to guess I would say around 30-40 hours, which includes the brainstorming and rough.

5. How do you factor your photography into your designs?

Every time I use photography in my work, I try to make the image itself just as interesting as if it where left alone. I find it very hard most of the time to work with photos that don’t already have a wow factor in them. When I use stock photography, I search for the ones that have not been used over and over and try to manipulate it enough so it looks completely different from the original image.

6. Could you give us a complete list of all the tools you use for your designs, from your camera to tablet, also including why you like using those specific instruments.

For my designs, I usually use Photoshop, a Nikon D40 camera, and a Wacom Intuos3 Pen Tablet. I also sometimes use Cinema 4D for perspectives, as well as Illustrator. I use Photoshop more than anything else because you can do so much with that program. Since purchasing my tablet, I never use my mouse when designing anymore; mainly because of the pen pressure feature that the tablet provides in Photoshop.

7. From photography, to matte painting, to photo manipulation, what would you say is your favorite form of art to create and why?

My favorite is photo manipulation; but if I were better at matte painting, I would probably choose that. I am a perfectionist when it comes to creating my own art, which is why I believe I am most successful when creating photo manipulations.

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

Thank you Emil and Psdtuts+ for the interview!

The best advice I can give is if you truly want to improve your skills, get good critique from other artists who won’t candy-coat, but at the same time not discourage you on what they think you need to do to improve. If you just ask your friends, who aren’t artists, most of them will look at anything you do and just be amazed, even if all it has is a Photoshop filter over it. You must really have a desire to become better at what you do to receive good critiques because sometimes the truth can hurt if you’ve never heard it before.

Where to find Zach on the Web

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