Q. RedBubble ( www.redbubble.com/bubblewrap/7 )
A: Tom Godfrey
Tom Godfrey has taken our imaginations for a waltz with his richly textured fantasy images and stories. Tom challenged RedBubble’s Pilgrim to a story collaboration – made in comments under his work – which has added yet another dimension to the finely drawn images. Tom would probably rather be interviewed on a flying carpet than “the couch” – we’ve tried to bring him back to earth momentarily for you.
Q. How do you create your images – what is the process from idea to digitised artwork?
The original idea usually evolves in response to an online challenge, for example creatures or characters in action or repose. Sometimes I literally hold the challenge statement in my mind, until rough images appear. I then do a pencil sketch of what I have “seen”. At other times, when my visualisation well seems a little dry, I will just take a line for a walk until some of the scribbles start to look like something. I scan the concept sketches and then start all the colour and shading effects.
Q. You write wonderful story snippets with your images. At what point in your creative process do these stories and character names develop?
The stories are just a little bit of fun to enhance the image. They usually occur at the end, because the illustrations themselves can go through various incarnations and changes. It’s only when they are finished that the story suggests itself. The characters’ names are an intuitive collection of consonants with a few vowels to make them workable.
Q. Which of your images on RedBubble is your favourite one? We’d love to hear the story behind it.
It’s a bit like children – you love them all equally, while celebrating their differences. I can’t honestly say I have a favourite. I was pleased with the sense of speed, depth and colour balance I managed to get with Swisher. When I saw “The Schnarly” in my head for the first time, I wondered how I would get the simultaneous above and below water effects and the sense of scale, but I was pleased with the final result.
The Clakkerpod “head” was created from the, “take a line for a walk and see what it looks like” approach and it was interesting to see the image evolve. The photo manipulations of the Chief’s wife, witchdoctor and the “the Skybus” were all great fun to do. “Rattus” was my first real attempt at working with layers, as I normally draw and paint everything on one layer. This was challenging and definitely a process I will be using in the future.
Q. You mention in your profile that you left your day job a year ago to pursue your art and passion full time. How has this experience been?
As the joke goes ”…don’t give up your day job!”
On the other hand, I thought I might as well take a leap of faith before I got too old to follow my he(art) and this seemed a much better idea than bungee jumping as a way of exploring my midlife crisis (I am immortal of course, but my current “earth suit” has been going for 55 years).
It’s fantastic to be doing what I love, but it is a lot harder than I had planned in my imagination. Marketing and sales are the tricky part, but I am confident, because I have ticked the “fame and fortune” box in my business plan for this year. :) I currently have five wildlife paintings on display at the Saints Gallery, Sans Souci, in Sydney and will be involved in some exciting projects with the Untamed Artists group this year –see http://untamedartists.mosaicglobe.com/
Q. From whom, what or where do you draw inspiration?
I draw inspiration from many sources, from famous and not so famous artists, to my own experiences. My early years in the hot dry lowveld of Rhodesia, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife had a great influence on my love for seeing natural creatures in natural settings.
Inspiration for the crazy stuff comes from within. I have always had an active imagination and have loved doing simple cartoons when called upon. The digital fantasy art is a combination of an inner cartoon type world along with my developed understanding of traditional drawing and painting methods. The computer and graphics tablet allow me to capture the ideas I see in the fastest and most efficient way. I have a self-created online gallery at: http://firstname.lastname@example.org .