Meet Matt Peppler (@mattpeppler): Michigan Based Illustrator

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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 Matt Peppler, a digital illustrator.

Matt has always had the attitude that there is always something more to learn and something greater to gain. These traits have brought him success as an illustrator because of his non stop visual creations and craft refinement.His designs come from marker illustrations which are edited in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create dynamic color, texture and composition.


John Hughes Movie Poster

Question: How did you get into design?
Matt’s Answer: I have been creative my entire life. From the moment that I could hold a pencil I started drawing. As an illustrator and graphic designer I began hitting my stride while in college where digital programs from Adobe were introduced to me. That was the missing link.

I would say that without the introduction of these programs I would be a mediocre artist at best. Working in a digital and traditional hybrid allows me to fine tune the artwork that I can create.

Going to college and gaining a Digital Illustration degree would be the time that I got into design. The possibilities are endless and because of being a digital artist, I can go down many different avenues. Since graduation I have expanded on the foundation that I was given and have been able to go creatively in my own direction.

Building Better Worlds

Building Better Worlds

Question: Where are you from, where did you go to school?
Matt’s Answer: I am from Lansing, Michigan. The college that I attended is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Digital Media Illustration from Kendall College of Art and Design.

Question: What are your tools of the trade?
Matt’s Answer: All the work, whether it is a logo, graphic design, or illustration begins with Sharpie and Micron Marker Illustrations. Once the drawings are created, I scan then images into Photoshop where I clean the image up a little to remove pencil and erasure marks. From there I bring a jpeg of that drawing into Illustrator where I do a simple live trace of the black and white drawing to further clean up the edges of the drawing. From there, the file goes back into Photoshop where I inject texture and color into the drawing. Photoshop is also the program that I use to create the composition. Every illustration that I create comes from a composite of multiple drawings.


Zombie Uncle Sam

Question: What websites do you go to for design inspiration?
Matt’s Answer: There is usually not a specific website where go to gain inspiration. I don’t like looking at what people are creating because it stunts what I can do. If I am in a creative funk and I am having a block, I usually start looking at random photography. Colors are a huge influence on me personally and artistically. If I see colors that make a powerful impact on me, it can generate an emotion. That emotion can be a wide range of things, but it is the emotion that is inspiring. That is what I grasp onto and it is what breaks me free and I can start brainstorming on how to recreate that same emotion in a new illustration. I think that if there is one website, it would be Google Image Search.

Question: What is your favorite movie, band, and artist?
Matt’s Answer: Music and movies are huge in my life. I love all sorts of music, but my favorite band is Creedence Clearwater Revival. I could go a very long time and not listen to anything else. The music of CCR has a way of getting under my skin, but in a good way, listen to Up Around The Bend and you will know what I am talking about. There is a lot of great story telling in there and the guitars are fantastic. My dad was a movie lover. He always knew the good movies from the bad ones and introduced me to what has become my favorite movie of all time, The Thing by John Carpenter. That movie is wildly entertaining from front to back. I love the mash up of science fiction and horror contained in that one. Really good stuff. I would never say that I have a favorite artist, but what I love is Japanese wood block prints. The colors that are contained in those pieces is inspiring. That is where the foundation of color I use came from.

Question: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in design?
Matt’s Answer: For a very long time I always wanted to see what other artists were creating, the kind of colors that they use, and the types of topics that they are visually displaying. I would see some artwork and love it and then try to emulate what they were creating. This became a shortcoming. Instead of creating what I wanted to create, I was illustrating and designing what I thought people would like. It was not personal or original because someone else had created it and I was just following suit.

To put it another way, you should innovate and not replicate. March to the beat of your own drum. Whatever you want to create, look inside yourself and figure out how you would create the work, and not how a different artist would create the work. Trust me, you will have your own voice and artistic work.

View more of Matt’s art and design at his tumblr page.

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