Erik Gist
Erik Gist
San Diego
Horror illustrator and teacher at the Watts Atelier
Erwan Audefroy
Hello and thank you both for being here. Why is that even today illustration is not taken as serious as fine arts even if it also takes a lot of hard work?
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Erik Gist
It's all about the Benjamin's. Money equates to value, as illustrations start to fetch the same prices as "fine art" that perceived gap is closing. Artist's like Norman Rockwell are finally being seen as the master's that they were, others will follow.
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Matthew Medeiros
Erik, have you ever used Stan as a nude model? Will you ever use Stan as a nude model in the future? Will it be posted on Proko.com?
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Erik Gist
I only draw Stan nude from my imagination, and those are just for me.
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Muneem Islam
I am trying to differentiate myself from my peers, do you recommend any good books on rendering technique for drawing and painting?
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Erik Gist
All the Loomis books. "Don't worry about being different, be good, these days that's different enough" John Asaro
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Uku Kivisild
Hi Erik and Meadow, I am a big fan of your art and the Watt's Atelier online lessons. How should someone learn to draw to a professional standard when time is a limiting factor as they are full-time employed in something unrelated to art? - I spend 10-20 hours a week still on art so time management isn't the issue. Also, If knowing that I am doing the right type of learning is the problem, would mentoring be the only way to ensure you are learning the right thing? PS. Kristian or whoever reads this question is a bae!
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Erik Gist
What she said, she's very smart
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Pencil Pusher
Can you share your best habits from your art practice that helped you get to where you are today?
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Erik Gist
Being able to repeat apparently mundane exercises over and over. I love the saying "Don't do it until you get it right, do it until you can't get it wrong"
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Erin :-)
What types of work did Disney and Viking Children's Books ask you to complete? How could someone align there studies for success with those types of work?
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Erik Gist
I did the covers to the Haunted Mansion comic for Disney, and a "children's" book called More Bones for Viking.
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Jonah Sanders
Do you have tips on recreating the Atelier experience at home?
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Erik Gist
Nearly impossible. My best recommendation is to find some like minded people locally, and get together periodically to draw and paint
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Praneet Akki
I love Erik's figurative artwork. How long did you actually study Anatomy while training and for how many hours you used to practise?
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Erik Gist
30+ years and counting. At different times different amounts, anywhere from 15 hours a week to 60 hours a week. Somewhere in between is best ;)
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fro_pl
Not a question, just wanted to say - when someone commented Eriks work on instagram, that he wish to draw like him - Erik replied, that there is nothing special about him - it is just hard work. Its nothing life changing - but impact on me was huge. So anyway, thanks for your art and stay safe!
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Erik Gist
I stand by this
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herve801
Hi. What must be included in a good current illustratoon portfolio? And what pitching advice can you give a beginer freelancer
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Erik Gist
I would recommend a minimum of 6 good pieces, no more than 12. Do samples until you have 6, then start replacing the worst ones with better ones until you have 6 you are really proud of, then top out at 12. Emphasize quality over quantity, and try to target your dream job as much as possible. Don't put anything in your portfolio that is a job you wouldn't want to do. When pitching, briefly introduce your self hand them your portfolio "reader ready" (oriented so all they have to do is open it) if on a tablet have it already qued and active with sleep mode turned off. Then keep your mouth shut unless specifically asked a question, answer the question and only the question, then be quiet. The more you talk the more likely you are to say something wrong, you are nervous after all.
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Jahsee Mullings
I am 15 yrs old boy and I am trying my best to understand everything I need to know about art on proko and elsewhere to achieve that dream. I am planning to be a self taught artist using proko.com and other art websites to help my grow. Questions: 1. Could you give me the difference between a concept artist and an illustrator because I want to be them both in the gaming industry someday. 2. When being a self taught artist, would I get less money working in the gaming industry because I have not graduated from a physical art college? 3. Would I hinder myself from getting jobs or a fan base because I don’t have an art degree? 4. Could you give a summary of what it is like working in the gaming industry? 5. Why do you two are so interested in art? 6. What could I do right after I am out of school meanwhile I am learn art and eventually applying for Jobs in the industry? 7. Where would I apply for different companies worldwide? 8. What are some encouragement you two could give to me for always continuing to love art? Thanks for your time in advance and for you lovely answers. I WANT TO WORK AT XBOX SOMEDAY 🥇🧨🥇
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Erik Gist
1. In the simplest terms an illustrator conveys story through character, composition, and staging, often in a single self-contained image. Concept design is more often conveying narrative or functionality though design of one part of the overall project. Concept design usually needs to be more functional and interactive, where illustration just needs to look cool. However, there is a lot of grey area and crossover. The line has become very blurry. 2. Nearly nobody cares where you went to school or how you got good. Your portfolio is your degree. The industry cares about three things, are you good, can you meet deadline, and are you easy to work with. 3.NO! 4.It's fun, but intense. Deadlines and volume of work can be very fast paced, but the many different kinds of work can be very rewarding. 5.Because I like telling stories, and I don't want to work in Hollywood. 6.Anything you want. I would recommend a job that gives you some flexibility of schedule. 7.Go to their websites and look up their submission/application process. Go to conventions to network. 8.Find your specific passion and pursue it with everything you have. Try not to let the "job" aspect of it make you bitter or resentful.
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aby_graphite
Please give some insights into illustrating for graphic novels and their covers as well. What should the process be for the planning out the panels and how is flow of story decided? For the cover, how is the title designed and how are both cover art and title graphics merged together?
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Erik Gist
This is an incredibly complex question. The easy answer is 1. Rough thumbnails breaking down the flow of your panels and their contents 2. Breakdowns refining the contents 3. finishes, final rendering. For a more in depth analysis I recommend reading the many books by Will Eisner and Scott Mccloud as well as How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. As for covers, that's usually handled by the graphic designer. Usually there is an established template that you can ask for from the client. Every so often the cover designer will do something unique, and that can be a lot of fun. Even more rarely you can fight to incorporate the title into the artwork.
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mikeostwald
Hi, i am currently recreating Art School at home inspired by the Draftsmen podcast and bought a couple of books to get started. Now I just wanted to ask what the most effective way to study from books is ? I am curently reading the book Drawing the head & hands by Andrew Loomis but i feel like im not studying it properly by just copying the drawings and reading the text.
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Erik Gist
It sounds as though you're doing things mostly correct. The only thing I would add to this is after you have read a section and copied the drawing, find a similar piece of photo reference (or get a friend to sit for you) and try to repeat the process on your own. Sometimes copying someone elses drawing can leave you with either a false sense of security or a feeling of emptiness (depending on your personality) because much of the problem solving was done for you by the original artist.
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royuchiha
How to practice effectively as a complete beginner in digital art?
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Erik Gist
I don't think there is anything unique to digital art, it's just another medium. I would recommend focusing on the fundamentals regardless of your medium of choice. That being said, I do my digital work with the Apple pencil on an IPad pro in Procreate
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Jason Winter
Have the two of you Ever collaborated on a painting?
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Erik Gist
Not really a true collaboration, but we have painted on each others paintings. The closest thing to a true collab was a book cover we did early in my career. I couldn't get the head right so she painted the whole head and a few other bits and bobs
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Chris Bodary
For about 6 years I’ve been on my journey to be the best fine artist I can be and eventually teach as well. I have gotten really serious in the last 2 or so and I’ve have been wanting to start some kind of academic classes and have heard a lot about the Watts Atelier. I’m on the East Coast, and my wife and I both work full time and are expecting our 3rd soon 😀. The Watts Atelier online school would be a big financial commitment for us but do you guys feel like it would be something invaluable to an artists growth? I manage to consistently practice for 2-3 hours a day and i can tell I’m improving, just wondering if you would suggest someone like me and my situation to join Watts atelier online. Thank you so much. Ps, Stan, if your watching, Proko has been a big help! You’re the man 👍🏼
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Erik Gist
Sounds like you have full plate. Congratulations on expecting another child. I thing the Watts program would be beneficial to anyone pursuing representational art. There are many options that are affordable including are memberships for less than $100 a month
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tobyh
QUESTION: hi, I was recently accepted into art school (MASSART) and was wondering if you had any tips navigating the academic side of the art world, or any tips about careers during/ after college, especially focusing on horror illustrations? (as horror artwork tends not to get featured as much due to censorship.) have a wonderful day, thank you for all your amazing artwork, goodbye!!
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Erik Gist
I don't have much experience with the mainstream academia of art. I received my degree in graphic design, which is technically a Bachelors of Science. I am a firm believer that you get out of a school what you put into it, but also that the university system is not designed to teach craft or trade. As far as career path, I'm a big believer in experience and initiative. Find someone successful at your dream job and ask them how they got there. Even though I'm kinda known as "the horror guy" I don't necessarily think of my self that way. That being said I like to push mood and atmospherics in my work, and am certainly a horror fan. My big secret is that I painted samples of the type of work I wanted to do, then showed it to anyone that would look (conventions, mailers, art drops, strangers on the street... everyone) slowly the work started finding me. I would strongly recommend going to conventions that focus on your chosen genre, nothing replaces facetime.
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Graciela Hinojosa
Hi! Thank you for taking the time to do an AMA. These are my questions: What are the pros and cons of specializing in one niche/type of ilustración? I've to learn to adapt to my clients due my day job, but I've always wanted to specialize in medieval or modern fantasy. I've been keeping it as a hobby because I've been often told that niche is a death end, because that industry is dying (still haven't got a concrete answer of what is "dying"); and if you don't build your own fan base and make your own business, you never going to make it. How true or false is this? Thanks in advance for your time! Hope you have a good day!
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Erik Gist
I have a couple responses to this. First, follow your passion. Art careers are long and challenging so pursue what you love to do, if that is a niche market do that, if it's versatility then do that. Second, obviously pursuing a specialty will make things more challenging economically because you are narrowing your options. Of all the work out there you are only pulling from a very small percentage. If you are going to be exclusive to one genre you will probably need to be one of the best at doing that. If you are willing to take any work there is more room for just being "okay" but you will need to have a broader knowledge base and inspiration pool to draw from. I don't buy into the "dying" theory, but it is changing, it is becoming more about ideas than craftsmanship. If your ideas are unique, and you can produce them under a deadline, you will always have work.
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Aardvark Anderson
QUESTION: Is the adage "draw from life" needlessly repeated in modern times? CONTEXT: I have attended live figure drawing sessions. And they are great! But I honestly, honestly, honestly feel like I get way more out of sitting down and really flipping through my model reference packs. I can set timers and do quick sketches. And I can also slow way down and really zoom in and just work on a calf and a foot for as long as I want. Also, I don't have to awkwardly make accidental eye contact with a naked person in a yoga pose. Am I wrong for thinking this way?
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Erik Gist
IMHO it isn't repeated enough. While there is much that can be learned from book study, and drawing from photos, there's more to drawing from life than just refined, long rendering of the subject. You are also learning to see and interpret the real/ 3 dimensional world. This is invaluable when trying to bring authenticity to your work. I encourage students to draw from the real world as much as they can, not just figure drawing.
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Daniel Richardson
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Erik Gist
Hello
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