In this series of interviews, I want to give you a glimpse into the professional lives of some wonderful creative professionals.
The interview series continues with another Illustrator from the Orlando, FL area: Patrick A. Towers. I met Pat at the University of Central Florida and wanted to pick his brain about what it means to be a freelance Illustrator, later he told me about the united kingdom scholarship he won when he first apply, this is amazing and gives hope to every student ready to have a career and enjoy their educational progress and success as a professional.
With no further ado, Patrick’s interview.
What is your name, title, and company you work for?
My name is Patrick Towers, and I am a freelance digital illustrator located in Orlando, FL.
If asked what you do as a freelance digital illustrator, what would you say?
I do commission work for illustrations, graphic design, and I participate in various shows, conventions and artist activities in the Orlando area.
What made you want to become a illustrator?
It was something that I always enjoyed doing, even as a young child. Video games, monster movies, sci-fi, fantasy, comic books… these all served as inspiration in whatever I chose to draw in my childhood. Where most people would eventually stop, I would still read comics, draw pictures of my favorite superheroes, and put in a type of informal practice.
This hobby never really went away. It wasn’t until I was spurred by some good friends (and fellow artists) of mine to participate in the Orlando Science Center’s Otronicon Show as a featured artist; it was at that point that I took digital illustration seriously. Ever since then, I’ve been creating pieces and doing commissions for people in between work and practice.
Who are some of your inspirations in the field of design, illustration, or the arts as a whole?
I don’t even know where to begin. There are countless artists that I 1) admire and 2) try to study and incorporate into my own style, but if I had to condense it down… I grew up loving Mark Bagley’s art on Amazing Spiderman. In my teen years, I couldn’t get enough of Joe Madureira and his anime/manga-influenced art style (hell, I still love the way he draws). More recently, I’ve loved Sara Pichelli’s clean style on Ultimate Comics: Spiderman, as well as Jim Cheung’s iconic style (and he has amazing copic marker work).
When it comes to video games, I have always been a fan of both Yoji Shinkawa and Yoshitaka Amano (for their work on Metal Gear and Final Fantasy, respectively) though I don’t think I have the artistic chops to try and emulate their style. I’ve loved the artwork that has been produced for the Street Fighter series of games, most notably Bengus, Edayan, and Akiman…and I’ve always loved Keiji Inafune’s renditions of Megaman, as well as the artwork that has come from the Megaman X and Megaman Zero series.
Another source of inspiration is seeing what current designers are making – Abduzeedo.com is a great site that highlights what is hot in the graphic design industry. I think that taking what works and incorporating it into illustration can serve to elevate a piece, so I frequently try to see what designers are currently making. When it comes to illustration, I love browsing Conceptart.org to see people’s current and past work – it’s important to me to see what people are currently making, as well as where they started.
What makes you most excited about working with any of the mediums or technologies you use on a daily basis?
I like how digital art allows for versatility – you can create a piece that has a painted look, or cel-shaded, textured, or a mix of varying styles. I feel like this versatility favors the creative, allowing digitally-produced art to be a viable artform… while the use of programs like Photoshop can expedite the process of producing work, the fact remains that in order to create good art, you need to first be a good artist – digital media is no exception.
What do you expect (or want) to see happen within the design and illustration fields over the next several years?
I would like to see more accessibility to the technology – I think with the prevalence of tablets, and the cost of hardware going down, this will happen. What I don’t want to see, though, is an inundation of bad design or art – it still takes countless hours of practice, study, and self-evaluation to become a good illustrator, and no program I feel can make someone a better artist in less time.
If you had to choose a different, completely unrelated career, what would that look like?
Before I declared Digital Media as my major at UCF, I was on the fence about majoring in finance – sometimes I wonder where that would have taken me.
Is there anything else, personal or professional, people should know about you?
I am scheduled to be a featured artist yet again at Otronicon 2013, at the Orlando Science Center (January 18-21, 2013)! The show’s supposed to be very great, with some new additions this year, and for those who have not yet seen it, the Star Wars exhibit is now at OSC! If you make it out, please come by and feel free to say hello.
Some of Patrick’s Work