My Artistic “Influence Map”

There’s a new meme for artists floating around the internet called an “Influence Map”. It was started by Boston artist Matt Laskowski over on DeviantArt.com. Here’s how it works: you download a template that contains a grid of white squares. Then you paste in samples of artwork from other artists who have inspired and influenced you over the years. The bigger the influence the more squares his or her sample takes up on the grid.

Here’s my Influence Map (click to view larger):

It was really difficult to decide who to include, or more accurately who to leave out. There are *so* many great artists out there whose work I have studied and learned from over the years, and the list continues to grow.

To make things a little easier on myself I left out some mind-blowing artists whom I have only recently been exposed to (Nico Marlet pops immediately to mind). Though their work inspires and challenges me, I haven’t really followed them long enough to say that I’ve really absorbed what I can from studying them.

The artists I did include are (from left to right, starting in the upper left): Glen Keane, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Norman Rockwell, John Nevarez, Stephen Silver, Milt Kahl (he represents all of Disney’s Nine Old Men), Dennis Jones, John Byrne, Heinrich Kley, E.C. Segar, Carter Goodrich, and Rik Maki.

Like any artist my style is still evolving and (I hope) improving. As I continue to learn and grow I’m sure my list of artistic influences will ebb and flow as well. This is just a snapshot of where I’m at today.

What are you waiting for? Zip on over to Matt Laskowski’s DeviantArt page and make your own Influence Map. [EDIT: Feel free to post a link to your Influence Map in the comments section below, as well as over on Matt’s Deviant Art page.]

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DC Comics Documentary Coming To DVD Nov. 9

On November 9 Warner Brothers will release Secret Origin, a DVD documentary about the history of DC Comics, the comic book publishing giant that introduced the world to Superman, Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, and countless other costumed heroes.

When I was a kid I was obsessed with Superman and comic books played a huge role in my early development as an artist. I wouldn’t just read them, I would study them and try to copy the drawings. For some reason I always gravitated towards DC Comics as opposed to Marvel so I’m excited about this documentary. Here’s the official trailer:

I gotta say I’m a little disappointed in the trailer, though. It feels very fluffy and without much substance. I hope that’s not indicative of the film. I’d really like to learn the gritty behind-the-scenes details about the various challenges, struggles, bright ideas, and difficult decisions that the DC Comics editors and creators have grappled with over the years. I’m not an expert on DC Comics but I know that as the comics biz has evolved over the decades DC has faced their fair share of creative challenges and controversies. Walking us through them would be both entertaining and instructive.

Of course you can cut a trailer a thousand different ways to give almost any impression you desire (YouTube mashup trailers, like the one that presents “The Shining” as a romantic comedy, are great examples of this). So here’s hoping the DVD has some real meat and isn’t just a giant smiling commercial from the Warner Brothers PR department (Warner Bros. owns DC Comics).

You can pre-order Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics from Amazon.com.

I’ve Been Podcasted!

Yesterday I was interviewed by fellow illustrator Bob Ostrom for his podcast “Creative Independence”.  For each episode Bob interviews a fellow freelancer and they discuss tips and tricks about the biz. Bob is a terrific guy and he understands the ins and outs of freelancing. It was really fun chatting with him.

Bob asked me several questions about how to market yourself as an illustrator and I cobbled together a few thoughts. I shared a few tips about cold calls and face-to-face networking, gave my two cents about “social networking”, and touched on a few other topics related to self-promotion.

Bob does the podcast in his free time so it may be a little while before my interview airs. In the mean time I recommend listening to past episodes (iTunes link). Bob has interviewed some very smart and talented people so there’s loads of helpful info to be gleaned.

Download My New PDF Portfolios

At my website you can download free PDF mini-portfolios of my work. The PDFs I had posted were getting a little old—I hadn’t updated them in almost a year and a half—so yesterday I uploaded new PDFs including some of my latest work. Click on over to download my…

  • Character Design Portfolio
  • Illustration Portfolio
  • Toy Design Portfolio
  • Resume

They are all in 8-1/2 x 11 format so that you can print them out to keep on file. If you like what you see and could use some freelance illustration or concept art, please get in touch.

Also, about 6-8 times per year I also send out a very brief email showcasing my latest work. If you’d like to be included just sign up.