[hide][top]Who are you and how did you first get into design?
Well, my name is James. I first got into design a good few years ago, messing around in Photoshop/PSP ( CS was pretty much brand new, Paint Shop Pro was owned by JASC, and I'm fairly certain Invader Zim was actually still on the air. ) just to give you a time frame.
Started out doing just stick figures and simple edits - adding text to an image, things like that, until later I'd discovered signatures, and basically moved on from there, doing web design and other graphic art.
[hide][top]People regard you as one of the best artists on this site. How do you feel about this status and do you agree?
Not to sound cocky or anything, but yes, yes I do. .
That said, anyone who's read the info in my design showcase knows that I kind of hate a lot of my own work. I honestly don't know why. I just do. I'm rather hard on myself a lot of the time
[hide][top]How do you think you've best contributed to the artistic side of the site?
[hide][top]You do many types of art from large pieces to websites to fractals, which is your favourite?
Fractals. There's just something about using math and numbers to create artwork that's just awesome.
Web Design is a close second - creating interfaces that people will probably use is pretty fun - and it's interesting to see just what you can get away with, especially now with CSS3.
[hide][top]What artists inspire you / Who are your favourite artists? (from any site)
Most of my favorite artists aren't on any sites - people like Picasso, and Yoji Shinkawa. Those that are, are people most around here probably wouldn't know.
People like .PMI ( R.I.P. ), who did a ton for the GFX community - his resources like render packs and tutorials/guides, his signatures ( which are all quite stunning ), and just being an all around pretty awesome person.
When I was first starting out, it was his tutorials that actually helped me get much better. Tutorials like his "Alles es Alles".
Another favorite of mine, so far, is EvilAngel. The work I've seen from her has just been amazing.
Last up is 1LastHope. This guy has done some killer signatures, and I especially like his work with text.
[hide][top]What are your favourite pieces that you've seen? (on any site)
[hide][top]You've made a few resource packs in the past featuring some c4d renders, are you still resourcing and if yes, then what type or resources do you provide?
Resourcing is something I've recently taken up, and I do it from time to time. I mostly do tutorials ( Which can be found right here in the Artistic Inspiration "Tutorials" section. ), but I also have a couple of .PSDs available as well as a small pack of C4D renders I'd made a long time ago - you can find them in my design showcase.
I tend to post them as I make them, and don't really have any kind of schedule to it - I just do them when I feel like it .
[hide][top]Do you have any advice for beginners?
Learn to take criticism
I've seen it a lot - someone new to sigging or design in general, posts something they've done and gets criticism on it - and they take it as that person bashing them or insulting them. Or they make excuses, like "that's what I wanted" or "I'm still new".
This primarily pertains to people who've received nothing but praise on their work - usually from close friends and family who likely wouldn't say a bad thing about your work anyway.
Usually, the people giving you these comments aren't doing it to rain on your parade or make you feel bad - it's to try and help you out. Granted, sometimes it can be a little harsh - but you have to learn to deal with it, and take their advice - no matter how harsh it is.
The only time you can actually get better - is when you can admit to yourself that you aren't perfect in the first place.
A lot of times, newer sig artists will just find a tutorial and follow it to a T. This is ok to start with, but you should really start to branch out, and try things a little differently. Otherwise, you end up relying on tutorials sort of as a crutch, and will find yourself unable to really do anything without one.
A lot of tutorials leave room for improvisation. Change things up a little. If it tells you to use a gradient map - try to choose your own. Choose your own stocks/renders - even if the tutorial supplies them for you. It's good practice.
Play with the filters - sure, that tutorial says to use a Spatter filter there - but maybe an Angled Strokes filter would look better for the image you have?
Don't be afraid to step outside the tutorial and do what you want. Doing so will let you eventually break away from the need for them at all.
[hide][top]You're a member of a few gfx sites, which ones do you recommend to beginners?
First and foremost, I'd probably have to go with Pimped Pixels - it's a very friendly community, and everyone there is quite helpful. You'll also get good, proper feed back on your work, and they offer their own school of design as well ( for a small fee ).
Next, I'd recommend SigResource. Another friendly community, set on actually helping people get better. They also offer a good selection of resources - like renders and stocks.
[hide][top]As a graphic designer by trade, how do you suggest others to begin a career in designing?
Well, I wouldn't really call what I have a "career" - I'm lucky if I can get work. It is NOT easy working freelance.
That said, I do have a few things I've learned just hopping around freelance sites from time to time.
It's fairly cutthroat. You've got to be pretty aggressive if you actually want to work freelance. You can't just say "I work freelance" and expect things to happen - you have to put yourself out there.
Schooling is both a waste of time, yet worth it. I mean graphic design school. It's a waste of time because by the time you get out of the classes, usually, the stuff you've learned is already out of date. Things are changing in the design world at a massive clip, and the schools can't keep up.
It's worth it, however, to do it for the simple fact that it can help to set you apart from Joe Schmoe down the street, if you're looking to work full time, that is - though it can help in freelance as well.
Social Networking. You may scoff at things like Facebook or Twitter - but there is no better way to stay up to date on job openings if you network with the right people. A site like LinkedIn can be a big help in finding people in the industry you want to work in, and being able to actually connect with them.
Think of it this way - it can be far faster to send a tweet saying "Freelance artist available for work #freelance #graphicdesign", that then show's up on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Moster profiles, where all of your friends/family/past clients can see it, than it is to mail/email out resumes to multiple businesses and then wait on them to maybe ( see: never ) call you back.
You also stand a much better chance of actually landing work that way too.
Try to keep your personal and professional lives separate. If you HAVE a Facebook/Twitter account already - don't use them for client interactions. try to create a separate account for that.
Also, if you do use your personal account - try to avoid having friends on it who like to post embarrassing, stupid photos of you. And try to avoid posting things like party pictures - unless it's something tasteful.
Basically, no pictures of you with a bottle of vodka or shot of Jack in your hand, throwing up the Devil Horns and otherwise acting a fool.
You really don't want a possible client/employer seeing that - it sends a really bad image of yourself to them.
That said, don't be a robot either - be yourself - just act like you have some sense, essentially. Try to act like a professional anywhere you go.
This all being said - that possible client/employer could still find those things about you, just searching your name on Google. And trust me - a client who cares about his/her work and who he/she is hiring, will possibly do that.
So, just play it safe and try to be on your best behavior, but don't feel like you can't or shouldn't have fun - just be careful what you share.
You should also try to set yourself apart from others. You can do this most easily in your resume. Create it yourself. Don't just use a template - actually design it. Create a logo or brand for yourself. Make it stand out from the crowd.
A client or boss looking for a creative person for their job/business will definitely take a second look at a resume that actually shows what the individual is capable of.
[hide][top]Finally some links to learn more about the Fox and his work
The Fox's Den
( Design Showcase )
Deviant Art Profile
That concludes this Artist Spotlight. I'd like to thank SniperFox for taking part in such a fantastic fashion and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Some quality responses Fox
Here are the other artists interviewed so far if anybody would like to take a look