Drawing and Illustration HQ

Interview with David Lanham

Damien Mason Damien Mason 2932 posts

Interview number 3 is with David Lanham

I wont deny David’s work has been a massive influence on me. He handles colours flawlessly, jumping between digital and paint with ease, and even has toys!

His work is whimsical, bright and flowing. I know I have a lot of questions to ask him, and I hope you all do too.. so please, if you’re not familiar with his stuff go and check him out

Here are David’s responses!

You are an influence to many, who influenced/influences you?

There’s way too many people to name specifically here, but all of my teachers growing up have definitely inspired me and I get some nice daily inspiration just by browsing art and design blogs like Pasa la vida and Naïmoka.

I’m really interested to know how your creatures evolve- Do you see them clearly in your head firstly, or do they come to life when you start the drawing process?

Sometimes I’ll have a general idea or direction to start off with, but even then, most of my drawings evolve as I draw them and details emerge or get deleted as I refine the drawing. Most of the time it’s kind of like finding shapes or faces in clouds, I let my imagination take it’s course and see what happens, it’s more fun that way b/c I get to be surprised at the results just as much as anyone else.

Your characters are amazing, I wonder, do you create background stories about them? If so, do you write them down or you just keep them in your head?

I like giving them a hint of a story and I’ll put these in the descriptions on my site if they go into a final drawing, but my stories are there to just get the thoughts rolling, I like having the viewer insert their own stories and experiences to bring them into the drawing more.

What art mediums do you use?

I use all kinds of medium, digital is probably the most prevalent on my site, but traditionally, I really enjoy using charcoal pencils, any sort of pen and gouache paints. I’ve use pretty much every other medium at some point, except I haven’t had much exposure to using oils yet, it’s on my list to try out. I love playing and experimenting with different mediums though, it can completely change the results of the artwork.

I notice you have recently been doing more painting. Are there skills you have learned in digital work that you use in your painting and vice versa?

I’ve grown up around both forms of working, but rarely does anything I do digitally affect the traditional techniques. Pretty much all the digital work I’ve done (design or illustration) comes from a strong traditional painting and drawing background. I can’t imagine doing digital work without knowing the fundamentals and theories behind traditional art, I strongly believe that you need that strong foundation to build upon, no matter what form your final work takes.

Wacom or mouse for your digital stuff?

I started with a mouse, but after getting my first tablet, I can’t imagine ever going back to drawing with a mouse. I hardly touch my mouse at all, even for regular computer use.

Your colours are always awesome – I’m wondering if you start with a palette in mind or if you just let it evolve with the illustration?

Color relationships are also a result of learning the fundamentals, deciding what colors look good together becomes second nature after a while. I generally try to have a single color to focus on and then use a range of colors around it, adding in some other complimentary colors to stick out where I want to draw focus.

What makes a “Commercial Artist” stand out from other artists/illustrators? How do compete with the many many other artists out there?

I’ve always believed that doing things that you love and that inspire you to keep pushing and learning will always yield the best results. If you’re having fun and produce the best quality work that you can, other people will recognize what you’re doing and word will spread. This is inherently slow process, but you need to build up some work and let it mature a bit as well. Entering contests or art community group projects will gain good exposure and being friendly, accepting and learning from critiques (and not taking them personally, learning to see your work objectively) will help you and your work to grow. Also, don’t worry about “technique” or “style”, everyone has one and it will emerge on its own, just keep practicing.

In what way has the recession/credit crunch affected your work?

Once you have a computer, working digitally is pretty inexpensive (other than software) and my traditional work is pretty low cost as well so from that aspect, I haven’t had much trouble. I have noticed a small drop in print sales, but those have always been up and down. The client work that I do hasn’t really changed, design and illustration are such a niche area that it’s protected a bit from large influences.

How did you get involved in toy design? Do you have plans for more toys in the future?

Basically, I was given the opportunity to try it out, so I jumped at it :D I’ll keep making them as long as I can, it’s great fun, but it is pretty expensive so it’ll probably be only one toy a year for a while.

Anita Inverarity Anita Inverarity 4172 posts

Thank you David for a really great and insightful interview- love your attitude to your work and it really comes through in the pieces that you are having fun. The toys are great !!

Thank you Damien for letting us pose our questions to David- another top notch interiew :))

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