Welcome to the interview of Cameron Davis.
I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Cameron Davis and his art awhile back when I was watching his gnomon training series on CHARACTER DESIGN, and I was an instant follower. Afterwards I went to check out his other works and I was mesmerized by his creativity and lush work with color.
I give my biggest thanks to him for having this interview with us. My hope is for you guys to be able to take away the great advice he gives and to be just as amazed with his art as I am!
His Official Site: SITE
His DeviantArt Page: DEVIANTART
His Facebook Page: FACEBOOK
1. You are an amazing illustrator as well as a concept artist. For those who may not know who you are, How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I suppose I’m a visual storyteller. I used to call myself a “character designer” because that’s what I feel I do best, but I’m so interested in the whole process of a project that it’s hard for me to just do one thing. I’ve been called an illustrator, concept artist, and visual development artist by trade but I love storyboarding and production design as well.
2. Your illustration work is incredibly intricate in its detail and imagination. Where do you gather the inspiration for these works?
Most of my successful pieces (they’re not all gems) come from events in my own life. I’m inspired by absolutely everything I see. I won’t rule out anything because of fear of being type cast in a particular genre. Once it has gone through my filter, it will come out looking like mine if I’m honest with the process. Also I think time is a big factor. I like to take things slowly with bursts of inspiration. Let it germinate, rot, fester, and be reborn sometimes over days, weeks, months, or even years.
3. What was is like working as a concept artist at a big game company like Activision and being the artist behind the Guitar Hero franchise?
Guitar Hero for me was an amazing time in my life. It was front page and everyone was playing it, not just gamers. I got to see characters I designed pop up all over popular media. I got to meet some of my biggest heroes growing up (I toyed with the idea of being a guitarist as a teen and still play everyday). It was a blast and I was only 23. It felt like, “well that was easy!” But I had so much more to say. I worked hard and used it as a platform to bring attention to what I really wanted to do, a series of art books called “Sleepwalker.”
4. Your pieces are rich in color, how do you go about choosing your colors and working with them? Do you have a personal color palette you work from?
Everyone has a default palette they lean towards. I try to work all over the place with color, whatever fits the mood of the piece and helps tell the story. But I’ve noticed I tend to work fairly saturated, poppy, with a prevalent use of violet and purples. I love the orange, pink, and purple palette. Like rich sunsets. I’m a hopeless romantic..
5. What are a few of your favorite movies and what about them do you enjoy so much?
I really shouldn’t get started on movies I like. This could take a while. They are many and vastly different and I like them for different reasons. I like anything from Jodarowski’s Holy Mountain to John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Whatever my mood calls for or I want to be inspired by. I have hundreds and hundreds of dvds at my studio so I can grab quick reference at any time, or just put something on in the background to keep me company. I love movies.
6.I looked through your sketchbook on your site and loved what seemed to be captured moments around the town. Where do you draw these wonderful sketches and what about them appeals to you so much?
7. Being featured on a Gnomon DVD is a huge honor and achievement. What was it like working on them?
Gnomon is great. Indeed it’s a great honor and I’m grateful for them promoting me because I really have no time to do it myself. Working on the dvds for me is very scattered. That’s how i work. Just get everything out and sift through it later (which is a pain in the ass for their editors, sorry Robert and Eric) but I had a great time. Gnomon and a school called Saga recently sent me to Brazil for 2 weeks to speak at an event called the Union. The next few years are going to be very exciting for both institutions and I’m lucky to be a part of that so early on.
8. When your not drawing or working, how do you enjoy spending your free time?
“Free time” is a hard concept for me. We only have so much time on this planet in this form, with this super computer brain at the top of the food chain and I like to make the most of it. So I never really turn off the creative process. If I’m lazing about watching a movie, I’m probably still studying the story, character development, or production design. If I’m sleeping in, I’m probably opening my mind to dreaming of my next story. I have fun “working” so I never have to work. But I like travelling, staying in shape, hiking, any chance I can get closer to nature is refreshing for me.
9. What is a major mistake you see younger digital artists making?
Using the computer too often and as a crutch. The computer is great for getting things done fast and being able to make changes quickly, tweak colors, present ideas. But when I see a kid who thinks he’s an awesome artist because he can push pixels around, I sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I use the damn thing all the time but when you have to go through a machine to get “you” across I feel something gets lost. In the future this may not be the case. I want to see the human touch. That’s what we all want to see at the core of life, and what audiences are buying. They are buying a piece of “you.” Something relateable.