>I was always the class artist. I guess my earliest memories are drawing in the church pews. My family had no particular affinity toward art. There were a few books around of the famous artists but none appealed to me. It still interests me that I had the drive but not much to base it on. I do remember later on finding Bernini sculptures and Norman Rockwell work that stood out to me.
>One of my biggest influences is Alphonse Mucha, known mainly for his beautiful french Art Nouveau advertisements, he actually created some of the most wonderful oil paintings later in his life. He had a great grasp of realistic rendering of people and emotions and also interesting color and design sense that he brought together seamlessly. But he really took them to a whole different level with some of the mural work he did late in life. Some artists I admire are JC Leyendecker, Doug Fryer, Jeremey Lipking, William Whitaker, Nikolai Fechin, Inges, John Singer Sargent, Dean Cornwell.
>My training came mostly from countless hours drawing any, and everything I found interesting as a teenager. I studied Illustration at BYU which helped me create fuller images. Most of the credit can go to time and practice to develop and discover. My path has remained consistent but the images have become richer with more depth and control as I learn and grow. It's been like building a house, I think drawing people in a sketchbook has always been the foundation and I have just continued to build and add to what I have.
>I work in pencil and paper and oil paint. But, I also have a career as an illustrator that is done primarily digitally.
>When I create something new, I search and think about a concept, I've got massive files of great artwork and photography of others that inspires me. When I've got an idea I will think about it and develop it on paper. Lately I've really been studying visual symbolism and concepts and how an audience will consciously or unconsciously respond to particular compositions or details and been thinking about how I can make my pieces work on a deeper level. I next will work up sketches with any photographic reference I need to solidify any subjects. A full drawing usually get turned into a value study on the canvas. Next a small color study and optimally I want to do a study or 2. Then I can get into the final piece with confidence. The way I've been working lately is to break the elements down and deal with just one at a time. This way by the time I'm to the actual painting I'm not worried about juggling color and value and shadows, and drawing and proportions, etc., etc. etc. It's a lot to manage, so by the time I am to the actual painting it is pretty automatic and soothing. I'm just thinking about making it look nice.+
>The hardest part about the process is coming up with a compelling idea. I want it interesting but subtle and beautiful. There's a reason those special peaceful moments come rarely in life and they are not easy to create. I know it's done when I am satisfied that I've caught the feeling I set out to find.
> I try to take the same deliberate approach each day to all my art and consciously think about how I can push myself and my art. Illustration work is done on the computer but all the art principles are the same so I'm happy to let my illustration grow my fine art work and visa versa. Unless I'm too busy, I switch in the afternoon to my painting easel. I'm happily working at my home so 5:30ish I can walk upstairs and enjoy my family and four young kids. But around 9 their off to bed and am back at my sketchbook drawing for the rest of the evening.
>I am working on more and more artwork, particularly oil paintings. I would love to get into the large mural scenes like Alphonse Mucha's Slav Epic works. I've got an idea I'm really excited about and well into the process. It is a pioneer woman and her child setting off toward the unknown.
David Malan, b. 1980