The amazing Sam Wolfe Connelly, whose work I find simple transfixing, was kind enough to have a chat with us. He tells us about how he creates the magical, emotive atmosphere in his work and how he has been able to develop this beautiful style.
Can you tell us a little about what you do?
What I do— I try and split my work equally in the fields of fine art and illustration. All my art starts off traditionally, usually with a graphite drawing (I don’t like to paint) and then I either layer acrylic washes over-top or I scan it straight into Photoshop and work off of it from there. Always, though, I try and keep my art looking ambiguous in how it was created, so it doesn’t detract from the piece.
Can you tell us a little more about the specific materials you use?
I usually start off with a pretty detailed graphite drawing on BFK Rives toned paper and overlay that with washes of acrylic. Once I get a general palette established, I go in with colored pencils to push and pull the darker and lighter hues to get subtle values. I alternate with acrylics and colored pencils until I get something close to what I had originally pictured.
You mentioned using Photoshop. What functions do you find most useful for the kind of work you do?
I like photoshop for its forgiveness when it comes to cleaning up mistakes, but at the same time, I feel like it eliminates too many restrictions that one might have when traditionally drawing, which can be really overwhelming. Usually, I just like to usephotoshop to subtly alter the color in my drawings with gradient overlays and digital glazes, but sometimes I feel comfortable enough to paint 80% of a piece on my tablet. I guess it really just depends on the job at hand.
Has using the computer had a large influence on the direction your style has taken?
I’d say using the digital medium in my work has definitely let me do things I normally wouldn’t be able to do traditionally, though I always try and stay as far as possible from having that ‘digitally generated’ look. I feel like a good digital illustration shouldn’t look like it was made on a computer.
What inspires you to work apart from art?
I’d say the constant need to just put my feelings down onto paper. I feel like no matter how frustrated I can get sometimes with my art, I’m always itching to come back to it because I feel like I’ll burst if I dont get my hands on a pencil.
What would be your dream project?
Illustrating a Pokemon card.
© Sam Wolfe Connelly, 2011.