DRAWING FROM INSPIRATION
Inspiration is key to everything we do. Whether you’re an artist, writer, game designer or just a dreamer it’s important to have inspiration. That’s why I thought I’d share some of mine with you. It also might give you valuable insight into the work I create and if you’re thinking about working alongside me, then you might agree that this might be a worthwhile page for my site. Either way, I hope you enjoy what you find here!
SO, WHY DO I DRAW WHAT I DRAW?
Well, I have to admit to being a mercenary and yes, I do it for all for the money. But please hear me out before you condemn me - I draw Fantasy & Sci-fi because I love nothing more than to paint from my imagination. The images I’ve long taken inspiration from have always been strange and unique ever since my earliest days. If you scroll down you’ll see a list of some of the artists that have inspired me over the years.
Fantasy has always been a passion. My love of beasts and monsters, weapons and battles all started with an interest in Warhammer, 40k Rogue-Trader, D&D and the table-top gaming artwork of many exceptional artists such as Jeff Easley, Keith Parkinson. and Larry Elmore (D&D red dragon shown here). Today I get asked to illustrate a lot of dragons. Something I still can’t believe I get paid to do.
My love for Science Fiction started early when I was handed a book called ’50 facts about Robots’ at the age of five. I still have that book. I loved the imagery. Spaceships, cyborgs & strange worlds. Many of my first artistic influences were science Fiction and they remain the strongest visually in my mind to this day with their bright 60’s & 70’s colours. Those bright vivid colours are something I always try to bring into my artwork.
If you want good inspiration for Sci-Fi then Google image search is a good place to start. I constantly check out tech’ news as well because good Sci-Fi is based on fact to be as believable as possible.
Also, I love the challenge of a good portrait. Let’s face it, if you can capture a likeness then you’ve proven you’re worth as an artist. There’s something nice about this type of challenge and about seeing a client’s face when they see the completed work. In terms of inspiration, getting to see your subject from every angle and spending time with them is the most important thing you can do. Although, a good trip to the art gallery to look at the portraits can always help.
When I work with a client on a commission for a portrait I always make sure to get to know them. I’ll spend time chatting and take photographs & video to help.
Having a history in advertising and Branding gives me a distinct advantage when it comes to working as an Illustrator. Not only can I understand & predict the audiences needs but I know how brands work and I know what Art Directors & Creative Directors are looking for.
Unlike many others, I start from a rational line of thought and often spend a lot of time researching before pen touches paper at all. This skill-set has, I believe, proven my work more engaging than that of my competition’s over the years.
Hopefully you share my interests and want to see more. Maybe you already have. Why not take a look through my portfolio or get in contact and say Hi and tell me about that upcoming project you’re working on…
Life Drawing keeps me on my toes and inspires me by getting me away from my usual surroundings. Allowing me to meet new artists and challenging me to draw a subject in 5, 10 or only 20 minutes what I normally have an hour or more to draw.
MY ARTISTIC INFLUENCES
One of the first artists I remember encountering as a child. His artwork was surreal and visionary. For me, Foss was the future. His work captured my imagination. Showing me what was possible with shapes, geometry and most importantly... his use of colour.
I read my fair share of comics. Maybe not as many as I did back in the 90’s but I still follow a few select artists and writers. One of which is Adam Hughes who I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a few times. His line art is amazing and I have to say was as influential to my earlier style as Mucha clearly was to his.
I discovered Thomas Kinkade whilst on Honeymoon in Florida almost 20 years ago. I was blown away by his soft but firm use of the colour pallet. His work inspires awe & hope which is something great for an artist to strive for. His Disney collection is fantastic. I wish I’d of bought a print whilst in Orlando. If you don’t know his work – Check it out!
My studio walls are littered with framed 1970's prints of Ralph McQuarrie's original Star Wars concept art prints. His work is still an inspiration. Ralph built entire worlds with fully formed characters in a single piece. Star Wars owes everything visually to this one man. He worked on many other projects too that we do not recognise him for such as ET and Battlestar Galactica however, there is nothing wrong with being remembered for such an epic as Star Wars.
One of my favourite artists long before I even knew his name. I suspect the same goes for many other people out there. His movie posters are legendary. Star Wars, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, The Goonies and practically every great film I grew up with had its poster created by Drew Struzan. His detail and Composition are amazing and when I was younger I saw films simply because he had painted the poster art.
Most typically known for the Art Nouveau advertising posters created during his time in Paris, I have always loved Mucha's earlier and much later works. I was first captured by the beautifully illustrated 'Le Pater' which showcased many works with fantastical compositions and seemingly complex stories woven into the dark monochromatic paintings. Mucha also painted his 'Slav Epic' which is truly does give weight to the concept of epic storytelling through detailed painting. If you think you know Mucha then revisit his painted works and see if he is still the same artist you loved before.
John Singer Sargent
Often thought of as the 'Great American Artist' John Singer Sargent was born in Italy and spent a great deal of his life and career painting right here in the UK. His beautifully honest portraits which are so realistic where needed and even abstract when the emotion, movement or focus must be shifted. Few artists have ever mastered this technique so well and this could of only happened in a post photography world - although Sargent makes us mistake his qualities for those of an old master. Truly prolific over his years, you should enjoy his portrait work.
The Brothers Hildebrandt
Greg & Tim have created an astonishing amount of fantasy work over the years and know it or not, you have seen it! They created the classic poster for Star Wars: A New Hope, hundreds of Tolkien paintings (That inspired artists like John Howe & Alan Lee) as well as a range of pieces for Marvel during their long career. And that’s just a few pieces you might of grown up with. The Brothers Hildebrandt have created lots more as well. Their dynamic use of colour and bold shapes have helped inspire my love for fantasy & science fiction as I have painted throughout the years.
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS
Given that I spend a great deal of time creating art for books, I thought I’d mention a few of my favourite classics. Let me know on Twitter @LAWRENCEcanDRAW (I'm not calling 'X') if you agree or if you know of any great titles you think I should read!
As well as these sci-fi and fantasy novels which I’m sure you all know very well, I wanted to give an honourable mention to a few other titles (nope, I’m not responsible for their artwork. I just like the books). Dune by Frank Herbert, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, 20’000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. There are obviously a few more titles but I’ll mention a few more when we get a chance to chat 😉
INSPIRATION FOR OTHERS
During my time as a YouTuber I've made more than a few videos to help inspire others. Such as gallery tours, drawing tutorials and trips meet people in the industry to gain valuable insider insights.
INSPIRATION COMES FROM EVERYWHERE
Over the years I’ve used lot’s of sources and it is easier now we have the internet. There are a lot of great people out there putting up some brilliant sites. DeviantArt, Pinterest, Google Images, National Geographic and many more are useful on a daily basis for reference or for coming u with ideas for that next digital painting.
If you have any sites that you use on a regular basis then do me an email from the Contact page and let me know so I can share it with everyone – Maybe even in an email from my mailing list.