In the spirit of giving back, and our desire to support local businesses and artists, we are doing an artist spotlight series. We will be showcasing a new artist each day for the next 31 days. Today’s artist is Anthony Genuardi, a digital artist.
As you will see from Anthony’s work he is an amazing illustrator and artist. He is a digital artist who learned Photoshop through trial and error who’s been drawing since I was a small child and could hold a pencil. He likes all things geeky, scifi, and fantasy and that’s reflected in the artwork you will see in his feature.
Question: How did you get into design?
Anthony’s Answer: Well, I’ve pretty much been drawing since I was little. Since I could pick up a pencil. I used to draw my own worlds to play in as a child. I’ve always been a very visual person. I love imagery and what it does to my mind. I can spend hours and hours online just looking at phenomenal artwork (there’s no shortage of talent out there) with my eyes wide in a kind of euphoric art coma. He, he. And, according to the people that know me, the visual arts has always been something that was second nature to me. And while I’d focused on traditional media up to a point, I think my ”visual horizons”, really opened up when I found the digital medium. I was almost out of high school and friend gave me a copy of Photoshop 5.5 circa 1998. Once I started experimenting with it, there was no going back. It wasn’t until fairly recently though, that I actually started looking for ways to make a living off of my work. I’ve done a few flyers, business cards, etc. here and there, but when I started doing fan-art, people really responded….and fast. Posting online of course increases your exposure exponentially. I found Etsy (where I currently have a shop) through my cousin, who is actually a graphic design major and working graphic artist. He was selling some of his work as a source of extra income, and I thought ”Hey, I can do this.”
Question: Where are you from, where did you go to school?
Anthony’s Answer: I’m from Abingdon, MD (that’s the US if your reading this somewhere else). I went to Edgewood High School (your average public school), took a few classes at the local community college, but that’s about it. I don’t really have any formal training. My skills are more the result of a lot of trial and error…..and Photoshop tutorials on youtube. Who needs to pay for school when you can get what you need online. Seriously though, there are some fantastic resources out there for free (which for starving artists is a must). I can’t say this enough: if you really want to learn something (these days anyway), you don’t need a class, just the right motivation.
Question: What are your tools of the trade?
Anthony’s Answer: Let’s see, I primarily use Photoshop for everything you’ll see here. I’m currently using CS6. Just got a wacom tablet and pen, but haven’t really acclimated to them yet. It’s always something I wanted to try, but I don’t need it. The type of design that I do doesn’t really require the kind of painterly strokes that you get with a tablet. I do a lot of vector art with the pen tool (which I was initially afraid of, but once you master it, it’s fantastic). I may decide that it’s great, but I haven’t had enough time yet. Everything I’ve done so far has just been with the mouse (well, laptop touch-pad in my case). I absolutely love working digitally, though. The freedom, flexibility, and speed that it allows you is great. You can experiment, doing crazy risky things that you may not have tried in traditional media for fear of ruining a piece. Happy accidents abound with Photoshop. I can get ideas out of my head faster, before they fade. I can save every new idea on it’s own layer, and undo until my heart’s content. You can change and rearrange different elements down the line, turn an existing piece into a custom design for someone; It’s great. I’m a perfectionist, so it fits me perfectly. I could literally tweak a design almost forever (You have to call it done at some point). It is true what they say though, the tools do not make the artist. They can help, they can make things more efficient, but it’s your creativity that drives it all.
Question: What websites do you go to for design inspiration?
Anthony’s Answer: CG Society cgsociety.org is a great one. Also Conceptart.org. They both feature talent from industry heavyweights in film, animation, game design, all the associated concept art that goes with those things, just amazing stuff from the digital world. These guys will blow your mind. If you ever want a potentially never-ending artgasm, check them out. I also frequent GeeksNGamers on tumblr. Lots of good geeky designs. GeekTyrant.com is a good site for geeky pop culture and they also feature various artists from around the web. Sometimes, I’ll just do a google search for ’alternative movie posters’. It’s a genre that I’ve recently gotten into, and you can find some ridiculously clever poster designs. Let’s see, what else? Pinterest…..just find a few cool boards. Etsy when I like to check out my fellow artists. Behance, DeviantArt,…that gives you a few to start anyway.
Question: What is your favorite movie, band, and artist?
Anthony’s Answer: Wow, I don’t think I can even answer this question. I don’t really have favorites, because, I mean, how can you pick just one of something. Music especially. I like variety in my music so I never listen to just one group or band. My tastes vary from classic and modern rock, to trance, dubstep, trip-hop (I like electronic a lot), old school hip-hop on occasion, 80’s pop…..anything that makes my ears happy. Same thing with movies and artists. All you have to do is go to one of the concept art sites I mentioned above to realize that you can’t possibly list all of the talented people there. Let’s see if I can rattle off a few movies though: The Matrix Trilogy, The Fifth Element, Lord of The Rings, Star Wars, Resident Evil, The Alien series, The Predator series, Avatar, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, The original Clash of The Titans, Legend, Tron….Seeing a pattern here?
Question: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Anthony’s Answer: That’s easy. Space. To the stars. I can’t imagine a more surreal and transcendent experience than traveling that great glittering ocean. Look at some high res photos of nebula clouds and you’ll see what I mean. They’re breathtaking. I actually have a nebula mural painted on my bedroom ceiling (that took forever). Great to sleep under.
Question: When you’re not designing, what do you like to do?
Anthony’s Answer: I’m an avid gamer. Halo, Mass Effect, Final Fantasy, ….I like workin’ the thumbs. Hanging out with friends, relaxing with a cold beverage is always nice. I’d like to go out to eat more if I could afford it (I love food, all of it).
Question: If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Anthony’s Answer: Do they have to be human? Can I meet someone from an as of yet undiscovered species? Let’s see, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Tom Paine; the mighty renegades. Anyone who bucks the system and thinks for themselves. Unfortunately, in the whole course of human history, that’s probably still a small list. Guess that’s why they’re remembered, because they’re rare.
Question: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in design?
Anthony’s Answer: Advice, hmm……. I suppose I could say something cheesy like ”Follow your heart, always be you, etc” (which you should by the way). Exercise your talents. Keep your skills fresh. Learn from other artists as much as you can (hit up youtube). LOOK AT LOTS OF ART! Getting inspired by other artists is important. It fills your mind with all sorts of new and fresh images that will become part of your design pool. It introduces you to new techniques and visual styles that you may never have considered. Look at really great design wherever you find it and try and figure out what makes it great, study it. What about it catches your eye, how do the elements flow together, etc. If you’re ever stuck, start looking at art. It’ll open things back up. Also, don’t be afraid to use references. Some people can pull stuff out of their heads, some can’t. I use reference all the time. If it produces an awesome end result, then that’s what matters.
Some quick tips for Photoshop users: Brushes – Get lots of them. They’re awesome and usually free. I’ve accidentally created artwork before while just trying out new sets of brushes. Textures (images that you superimpose under or over your artwork) are also great. They add an element of depth and visual interest that you might not otherwise get. Combining your art with pre-existing stock can produce some really cool looks. And experiment a lot!
View more of Anthony’s art and graphic designs at his Tumblr page.