Thursday, December 12, 2013

Interview: 10 Questions with the GREAT Chris Garbutt!


Chris Garbutt
images copyright Chris Garbutt

10 Questions with Chris Garbutt!


1.... what medium and tools do you use to create art?

Most of my artwork is produced digitally within Photoshop using a Cintiq attached to a Macbook Pro. This is the same for storyboarding and illustration work.

My education in art and illustration was all traditional painting and drawing. I didn’t start using a computer for making images until after I’d left University (around 1998/1999).

Ironically now I spend most of the time on my illustrations attempting to create very paintily/traditional effects within Photoshop. The main benefit of producing the work digitally is speed and convenience, especially when you’re up against deadlines and addressing notes from clients. I find changing artwork on the computer much, much easier than making changes to original artwork. And when it comes to storyboarding, doing them digitally takes away the need to scan everything in once you’ve drawn it.

I haven’t totally turned my back on traditional ways though as I have been mucking about with watercolours, gouache and inks more recently, which is great fun. But it’s all mainly personal work, sketching etc.



2.... can you describe your creative process when making art?

It’s pretty straight forward really. I guess I start off with a brief, or script or whatever. A problem to solve!

My first approach is to start generating ideas and jotting them down, usually in sketch form, but often just written too. I have a bunch of sketchbooks so this could happen in one of them or on the computer.

At this stage I also try and figure out what the final look, style and technique for the artwork may be. This can involve accumulating a lot of reference material as well as experimenting with techniques.

With this I always try and figure out what the most appropriate approach would be rather than just what I feel like doing at the time. It’s all about attempting to capture the right tone and feel for the job.

From there I start refining the sketches and ideas and then, if this is artwork for a job rather than myself, I’d tidy the sketches (maybe add shade and/or colour) so they’re fit to show the client.

I then get the feedback, address that and then work towards final art.

That’s a very general overview of the process though. It all depends on the job and brief. Obviously producing 30 black and white illustrations for a kid’s book would be quite different to producing character designs for a commercial pitch, or storyboarding a sequence for a movie.


3.... what helps boost your creativity?

Travel, food, wine, exercise, music, TV, movies, tea, cake, anything really… I find it’s good to get away from the drawing desk and experience things, soak up everything around you, refresh yourself and then jump back into your work.

Saying that I also love locking myself away in my work room pawing over comics and books, filling my eyes with other peoples beautiful scribbles and doodles!


4.... what helps you maintain focus and motivation when creating?

For me personally, having a fairly clear idea of what I want the end product to be, what my goals are with the specific project and what inspired me in the first place all helps me keep focused and motivated. That, and fear…


5.... what is the secret to creating a great piece of art?

I have no idea.



6.... do you feel its important to follow your passion in your career?

Absolutely. Referring back to question number 4, remaining passionate about what you do really helps you keep focused and motivated. It can become very apparent in your work very quickly if you approach it with no passion or interest. I understand that often work is taken on simply for the money, that’s just real life, but I feel it’s important to try and imbue each job with as much enthusiasm and passion as you can afford to muster! Or get very good at faking it!

But I guess on a grander scale I think it’s very important to keep in your mind what your true passion and goals are for your chosen career so you don’t lose focus and lose your way through the twisty, turny, coffee-stained labyrinth that is a career in the creative world!

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7.... how and when do you get your best ideas?

When I least expect it.

8.... who are your favorite artists?

There are so many and the list keeps on getting bigger, but right now I have a special fondness for Sergio Aragones, Sempe, David Sutherland, Steve Small, Quentin Blake, Tove Jansson, Ryohei Yanagihara, Christophe Blain and Thomas Wellman.

9.... do you offer workshops for artists?

Not at the moment. Maybe it’s something I could do in the future if anyone was interested!

10.... if you could give other artists one piece of advice what would it be?

Just keep doing it until you get better, then keep doing it even more until you get even betterer.

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