3DValley Featured 2D Artist for September 2008 – D’wayne Murphy. D’wayne is an artist from California, US. During day time he works as an production artist/ graphic designer at a Real Estate Company. In the late evening hours when it is nice and quite he allows his creative juices and energies to flow and creates horror and fantasy illustrations. He works with various programs like Photoshop, Painter, Poser, Bryce, Terragen, and since recently also ZBrush. Please read our interview with D’wayne below to get to know him and his work a bit better.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who you are and what you do in your daily life?
D’wayne: I live in California, the bay area. I am a father of two wonderful children and the husband of a very beautiful and supportive wife that enjoys horror, sci-fi and fantasy as well. During the day I work as a production artist/ graphic designer for a large and well-known Real Estate Company. During the evening I create digital illustrations based in the genres of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi for various horror and fantasy magazines and webzines. I am trying to work my way into video games and creature creations for film (we shall see how that pans out). Other than that, I am just a regular guy!
Christa: Do you remember the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
D’wayne: I knew I wanted to be an artist when I came to the realization that behind the scenes of all the horror flix creatures, comic book characters and Saturday morning cartoon characters there were folks like myself (creative, artistic) that were using their skills to design and bring these characters to life and this was their job. I was hooked and began to pursue my artistic career.
Christa: Where did you go to school and how did they prepare you for your career?
D’wayne: I attended the Cleveland Institute of Art, in Cleveland Ohio where I was born and raised. I now live and work in Northern California. The institute had a five-year program, which I was enrolled in and later graduated with a major in Illustration and a minor in drawing. The first three years at the institute is where we got hammered with the basics or the Foundations of art which consisted of design, drawing, watercolor, oil painting, figure drawing, art history and art literature.
The last two years is where you worked towards your thesis in both your minor and major fields with a Bachelor’s degree at the end of it all. I am not sure that College prepared me for much in the outside world as far as my career, keep in mind that college is a place to grow and hone your creativity and idealism so career wasn’t high on the list as developing lets say a new technique or way of seeing a certain subject or translating an idea so that everyone could understand it’s meaning. I did however, come in contact with a wealth of new ideas, great people and different ways of seeing and interpreting subject and or conceptual ideas that I would have never been privy to had I not attended college. There were many wonderful folks from different walks of life and cultures who all, I am sure, had an influence on the way that I perceive art, culture and society at large.
I am afraid that I learned most of what I do now concerning my career by real word experience, which means working in my field, asking millions of questions, learning on the fly and dealing with the hard knocks and pleasures that life of as an artist can dish out.
Ceasar The Goon
Christa: Which software packages and/or traditional materials do you use for your artwork?
D’wayne: For sketching and drawing I tend to use a mechanical pencil (I just love those things) or a regular ballpoint ink pen (choice of ink color, black preferably, but I am not choosy). When illustrating on the computer I use a combination of software depending on what the theme or subject matter will be, the main programs I usually fire up are: Photoshop, Painter, Poser, Bryce, Terragen, and now Z-Brush.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art?
D’wayne: Most time I start with sketching and trying to flesh out an idea for the illustration. This consists of me working on various iterations of the subject or subject matter to be portrayed. In doing this I allow myself the opportunity to explore as many options as possible where as layout, composition, and character creation is concerned. Once I have a look established I go to the computer using the various software applications to begin building the building blocks of the illustration.
There is the occasion that I have an idea that sticks out in my mind so vividly that I go straight to the computer to begin the illustration and bypass the sketching stages all together.
Christa: Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and if so why?
D’wayne: I can’t say that I have a favorite piece. However I can say that many pieces that I have created contain artistic elements and accomplishments that I am pleased, proud and surprised with.
Christa: Who or what would you describe as having the most influences on your work?
D’wayne: I can’t say that there is one thing that influences my work. Some of the things that do influence me are drawings & painting by the great masters, comic books and artist, horror movies, FX art and concept work… a ton of other things that I don’t think we have enough space to list.
The Butcher – Sanitarium
Christa: How would you describe your own style?
D’wayne: I would describe my style as a hodge-podge of many different techniques, applications and conceptualizations brought together cohesively as a final illustration.
Christa: What is your favorite place and time to create art?
D’wayne: My favorite time would have to be the late evening hours when it is nice and quite. The place is anywhere that I can get comfortable, relaxed and conducive to allowing the creative juices and energies flow.
Christa: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
D’wayne: I find inspiration in seeing other great illustration work by various game, print and movie artist working in the field (both well known and unknown) and a lot of the old masters work. I use what they do as a gauge to push myself to try new things, experiment and grow as an artist/illustrator.
My main motivation when I am experiencing artistic block or tough times, is that I really have a desire and need to make a name for myself in this field and in the genres that I illustrate for, I keep in mind that anything that is worth having or gaining is always hard to accomplish but it is accomplishable.
Christa: Which areas of creating art do you enjoy the most?
D’wayne: I really enjoy the sketching phase of creating a piece. This allows me to be as loose and creative as I need to be before working on a tight and final illustration.
Christa: Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
D’wayne: At this point I am working with a new 3D program, Z-Brush, which I had my eye on for many years and have since gotten the opportunity to work with the application and see what new things that I can create. I am very excited with the potential that it has in helping me bring a few 2D images into the 3D realm.
Christa: You are working on a project you called the Sanitarium; a graphic novel. I love your horror illustrations and look very much forward to see the final work. Can you tell us some more about it?
D’wayne: With the Sanitarium I wanted to created a graphic novel based solely around the illustrations that I created loosely based on the dead coming back to life (not a very original topic) and taking over a rather large mental institution and terrorizing those who were trapped within it’s walls. However time and work have not permitted me to focus my attention on this project and other’s like I would have wanted to, so now when I hit a creative slump, I now have a subject matter of interest and depth that I can go back to and am guaranteed to generate at least two to three good ideas or final illustrations from. I assure you that at some point, when I can find more time, I will begin writing and producing that graphic novel and trying to get it published.
Christa: You use many different techniques to create your art and are also not afraid to mix them together in one work. Can you tell us some about the various techniques you use?
D’wayne: I like using various techniques in my work because it keeps the piece interesting to work on and secondly it can generate happy mistakes that can tie an illustration together quite exquisitely. During the creation process I may use drawings, various textures either computer created or by hand, pieces of photos and scanned art, anything that I can find or generate that helps make the piece interesting and tie the theme and the illustration together, From there to the final is just combining all of the pieces together digitally and making it look like a whole instead of a bunch of hodgepodge pieces thrown together.
Christa: You create mostly digital 2D art but you also started creating images with 3D software. What advantage does one has over the other for you?
D’wayne: I don’t feel as though one or the other has a distinct advantage over the other perse’. The 3D software however does allows me to set up scenes, poses and environments very quickly and gives me a very good base to start working from, after that is established I still have to go back to my 2D program such as Photoshop to create textures, skins, color corrections, and do my final clean up of the illustration.
Christa: What would be your dream assignment?
D’wayne: My dream assignment would be working for either a game company or film FX company creating character concepts for a major motion picture or newly released video game.
Den the deedworthy
Christa: How do you handle the business side of being an artist?
D’wayne: I would be lying if I said that I have a grasp on the business end of being an artist. As with many creative folks, I’d rather be working at something in a creative way, instead of putting together pricing for a job, keeping track of hours etc… all the fun stuff that comes with the business side of being a working freelance artist.
Christa: Besides 3Dvalley.com, which other graphic sites you visit regularly?
D’wayne: I love seeing what other artist in the 2D and 3D fields are doing, it really doesn’t matter whether or not they are established artist or up and coming I still like to see what’s being developed, so these are other sites that I frequent that high light other artist work and skill: 3DM3.com, GameArtisans.org, CGsociety.org, ConceptArt.org.
Christa: Is there something you can’t work without?
D’wayne: I find it hard to create without having a few things I like have available. They consist of Coffee, Music, Computer, Internet Access and access to plenty Reference and Texture Materials.
Jack the Ripper
Christa: What do you do when you are not working or creating something?
D’wayne: Spend quality time with my wife and two children.
Christa: Thanks for your time and the interview D’wayne!