Recently I had the opportunity to interview Richard Roberts, who in my opinion is a fantastic illustrator and a great art director. I first came across his works on deviantART and was immediately drawn into them.
In this interview, Richard shares his experience as a digital illustrator, his own unique approach to digital art creative process and tips and tricks for attracting clients as a freelancer. Make sure you check out this interview, and hopefully you would find it interesting and useful.
Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Would you mind giving a little personal background information about yourself and your websites for our readers?
My name is Richard Roberts; I was born in the Wales and moved to the United States when I was young even though all my family still resides there. A positive side of the move is the fact I have had the opportunity to travel back many times.
I am a 20 year old digital Illustrator and started theotherstream about two and half years ago which is my online portfolio and also my freelance company. Other than art being my life I also enjoy soccer, music, and food, friends, reading about world affairs and other cultures and just having a good time. Oh and also I am a massive tea drinker, it’s almost an obsession.
Is digital art something that you’ve always been interested in? Can you give us a bit of idea of how did you get into this field?
I have always been the creative type and very visual. My story behind my venture into digital art is quite a funny one. When I was thirteen I played online games like most other kids my age, and I came across a digital art piece on a gaming forum and was instantly fascinated. It led to me installing a early version of adobe photoshop.
For a few years it was just a hobby but it grew into more of a profession once I knew it was possible to make a living off it. My school years were quite dysfunctional because of moving which led me to finishing high school online. This allowed me to have ample free time, which resulted in me putting my full focus on improving myself as an artist and mastering my trade.
Although I have much to learn, my current knowledge and skills have got me to where I am today. Like I mentioned before two and half years ago I started theotherstream and since then my freelance career has really taken off.
Your artworks are extremely detailed and impressive, could you explain some of your creative process to our readers?
I always find starting with a solid idea and plan is the best way forward. I think some of the best artworks out there always start in some sort of pre planning stage.
Many of my ideas come to me in dreams or at the most random moments. For example my piece Supernova was based the song Champagne Supernova by Oasis. I was listening to the song and I had the idea of a women floating in space thinking about life and the idea was born.
Once I have the ideas I start laying out everything and work on the composition. It’s best to work on a piece as a whole because if you work on it one part and a time and later need to change something you will have wasted a lot of time.
Designer always face a series of challenges during the artistic process, do you have similar difficulties? What are they and how do you tackle those issues?
The classic artists block, of course I have had many of them. Most recently I faced one during the fall months of September to November. They can be really demotivating and a real pain in the ass. But when you do work your way through them it feels like your reborn and you come back stronger then ever.
I think the key to avoid an artistic block is do something everyday; it doesn’t have to be a serious portfolio project just something to keep you fresh. If you in a block the best advice I can give you is look around the net for inspiration, write down ideas that come to mind. And then just mess around and try to get something going, it will work with time.
My first piece after my block was Supernova and I spent two months working on it on and off and it really helped me get out of the slump.
What would you do to find inspiration for your design work, if it happens to dry out?
Inspiration is everywhere for me, some of the best websites are the cg society or deviantart. They are filled with so much talent and ample of amazing inspiring pieces. I also find inspiration from nature, movies and music.
You’re a freelance at the moment, could you tell us a bit of your own experiences in terms of finding/attracting clients?
My freelance carrier at the moments is going very well! I am constantly learning new things and love working with new clients. As for finding and attracting clients that’s the harder part of the game. For finding them the key is publication and also sending out emails to who ever you can.
Social networking is a key thing to, twitter and facebook are great tools I would advice any freelancer to take advantage of them. Entering contests is also another great way to get exposure. No matter how good your work is if you just sit around waiting for them to come you won’t get far. Networking and making connections is crucial! Attracting clients has more to do with your personal style and quality of your work. Only put your best pieces of work in your portfolio, even if that means you will only have 5 pieces to show.Quality of quantity wins every time.
I see so many artists doing the trendy styles to try and attract clients, while that may get you a few jobs it doesn’t build a unique name or style for yourself. So long term your hurting yourself more then helping. It’s important to do your own thing and have your own style. It takes much longer, but building a name for yourself and style will attract clients long term.
And lastly, thank you once again for the interview. Before we go, could you give the readers a bit of intro of your current project and future plans?
Thanks so much for the opportunity to be interviewed, it was a real pleasure! I am currently working on a book cover design in the style of my piece titled “Melting Time” I can’t say any specifics but it should be released with in a month or so, I think people will like it! As for future plans, pretty much just keep working hard and hopefully expanding theotherstream at some point.
Where to find Richard?
That’s it for this interview! Hopefully you enjoy it and find it useful. Till next time, have a great day!