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Interview with artist Alan Washburn

CN: First could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Alan: My name is Alan Washburn. I am a freelance graphic designer and digital artist working in Reno, Nevada, though I serve clients from all around the country. I don’t have any formal education experience in the form of art school or college, though I have been drawing for most of my life.

CN: When did you start doing artwork?
Alan: As far back as I can remember, I’ve been drawing. I started when I was four, I believe, with drawing some artwork for my mom and dad.

CN: How has your artwork developed with the addition of computer art tools?
Alan: For the most part, my interests have always been with figure drawing. Up until expanding into digital work, I had briefly toyed with painting, but most of my work was plain gray scale pencil work. About a year ago, I decided to expand into using a Wacom tablet for the first time, and I haven’t really looked back since. It has allowed me to bring a level of color and depth to my work that it previously didn’t have.

CN: Do you prefer one medium over the other?
Alan: I would say currently I prefer the digital medium to others I’ve tried, but I am always interested in exploring new artistic methods.

CN: Where do you find your inspiration for your artwork?
Alan: Most often I find inspiration for my artwork in movies and video games, since I tend to work with primarily fantasy and sci-fi themes. I look to artwork from the past as well, with some of my favorite sources of inspiration being old pinups and Art Deco-styled works.

space suit

CN: Do you have a structure that you follow when creating your pieces of art or do you free form your work and then work from what comes naturally?
Alan: Since I primarily do figure drawing, most of my work will start with me laying down the foundation for the figure, getting it posted, and then filling in the details from there. Once I have the basic figure in place, though, I will often free form design elements off of concepts in my head, letting things change as I go. I try not to get too stuck in creating the exact image I have in my mind, but rather just let things come together while I work.

CN: Your art covers a myriad of different genres, do you have a favorite genre? 
Alan: I would say that my favorite genre is science fiction, though most of the color work I’ve done up to this point has been fantasy-oriented. I find myself often commissioned for fantasy pieces over sci-fi.

CN: What do you find is the easiest genre to create for?  
Alan: Following from the previous question, I find that fantasy is one of the easier genres to create for. There is a wide range of material for the genre to draw inspiration from and so many different elements can be encompassed under that umbrella.

CN: Do you have a favorite piece?
Alan: I wouldn’t say so. I think that I am very happy with the outcome of all of my pieces, liking elements of each one more than others. I wouldn’t say I’ve created something yet that I would consider my masterpiece.

CN: Do you have a genre you would like to do art for that you have never done before?
Alan: I would like to do more work with Art Deco-inspired pieces.

CN: Do you take requests?
Alan: I don’t often take requests because of the time commitments my work often entails, but I do take commissions.

CN: What advice would you give to other artists just starting out?
Alan: If you are interested in drawing and art in general, you need to actually do it. Work on your forms, practice your art, and never be afraid to show your work to others. If you are creating any kind of art completely alone, then you only have your own thoughts an opinions on it to work with. Exposure means feedback, and while it won’t all be positive, it absolutely will all be useful. Creativity and mastery do not happen in a vacuum.

That being said, practice is also key. If you are practicing, you will get better, no matter what you are working at. Any professional can tell you that you have to start somewhere, but more than that, you have to keep going. Passion is important, but nothing happens without action.

CN: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Alan: You can find most of my artwork at http://jackwrench.deviantart.com. I also have a Tumblr presence where you can see my sketches and some of my other random and often inane thoughts at http://jackwrench.tumblr.com/. Either of those websites are a good way to get in touch with me should you be interested in getting any work commissioned. I also do art livestreams where you can watch me work on my pieces in real time; the schedules for my streams can be found on both DeviantArt and Tumblr.


About Carpe Nocturne

Carpe Nocturne is the preeminent digital and print publication to feature the alternative subculture and eclectic creative offerings of all things Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Steampunk, Goth... and every genre in between. We are OTHER THAN THE NORM! We are a publication that features aspects of the contemporary creative cultures and subcultures to include Art, Entertainment, Fashion, Film and Literature, Interviews, Life and Style, Music, Reviews, and Technology found worldwide.

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