Steve Stone – Illustrator, Director, highly respected and world-known Digital Artist – who is barely in need of an introduction – answered some questions for Artist Partners. Steve gives us a bit of an insight into how he spends a typical working day, and gives some great advice to aspiring young Creatives. Well worth a read!
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?
I think my work exists somewhere between photography and painting. I started as a painter and have never wanted to lose that aspect to it. The work is entirely digital and usually depicts epic fantasy or historical worlds inspired by the authors that I have worked for like Ben Kane, Peter Hamilton, Terry brooks or Raymond Feist.
How did you start off in the arts? How/when did you realise that you were an artist?
I was always painting and drawing as a child and then went to art school which was a largely unhappy experience because the type of fantasy imagery that I created was frowned upon. But, I knew from an early age that I wanted to be an artist when I saw the work of people like HR Giger and Frank Frazetta. My professional career started in the mid nineties when I started to work on the computer. I spent a year preparing a folio that I sent it through to Artist partners and we have been together ever since – nearly seventeen years now. Christine is part of the family.
Please describe a typical day of art making for you.
I run two companies both producing films and artwork so my working day is one of constant interruption albeit email or calls. I have learned to do that thing that is such a challenge for us men – namely multi tasking. I work in short bursts of perhaps half an hour on an image and then leave the image for something else for perhaps twenty minutes or so. That is how my whole day runs. I never sit and pour over a piece for hours as the process just seems to get less creative if i run too long in one sitting. I need to work in these constant short sittings – that gets the best results with me. It keeps the thing fresh.
What contemporary artists or developments in illustration do you find interesting right now?
All my influences at the moment come from films or computer games. I don’t actually look at illustration that much.
How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
A typical book cover would be scheduled in for three days to get to the first round and then there will be some revision time after that depending on the clients needs.
What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you’re not creating?
Huge football fan. I love football because it has nothing to do with the creative world I live in so gives me an escape away from all things to do with film and the arts. I need that. My team is Manchester United and ,yes, I was born and raised in Manchester Lots of time is spent watching films and I am also a big computer game fan. Both are a huge source of ideas for the art. The other great pleasure in my life is family. I love being a dad!!
Any advice for aspiring young illustrators?
Work hard to hone technique and produce as wide a variety of images as they can. Don’t just get bogged down in one genre or style. Look at what is out there – what kind of work is being commissioned and demonstrate an ability to meet that demand. I would love to say – create from your heart and then see who likes it but the demands of the market place are specific and an artist must be aware of the types of work they will be asked to do if they want to make a living from this.