Artist Samantha Kallis talks about being a Visual Development Artist | Art Attack

Artist Samantha Kallis talks about being a Visual Development Artist | Art Attack


-My name is Samantha Kallis and I’m a Visual
Development Artist. A Visual Development Artist
will design anything from characters,
props, textures, background paintings, pretty much anything
that shows up on-screen, somebody designed. Today, I chose the theme
of “Adventure.” I chose “Adventure”
because, to me, it’s important
to live your life adventurously but also be adventurous
in your art. As an artist,
if you’re not adventurous and you don’t take chances, then you end up just drawing
the same old, tired thing that you’re comfortable with,
and you never do anything new. You never grow. I guess the big adventure
for me the last couple months has been getting to work at Sony
and working at Nickelodeon, and actually
getting my hands dirty with animated television shows
and features. Learning from professionals
who I really admire — that’s been
the big adventure for me. I think the one thing
that I really learned in the course
of my own adventure is that you really have
to think of yourself — Even though I’m an artist,
I have to think of myself, in a way, as a writer. Everything I do is storytelling, and everything that I create has
to go back to that story and make sure
I’m strengthening that story. Some of the ways that I manage to always
keep story in mind when I’m drawing
is that I have to think about — “Am I making this just
to make a pretty picture, or am I making it
because it goes back to a point that will say something about
that character or that event?” For example, why is this character
wearing a tattered coat instead of a fancy coat? It has to say something about
who he is, or, you know, where he’s been. I think for me,
the narrative of the piece that I created today, I mean, obviously, ships and adventure and going on a journey
someplace… My mom always likes
to tell me — Whenever I’m getting down about
not moving forward in my life, she always likes to say that, “You have to do something,
anything, to shake up the universe.” So I think making a big move
or a little move, just something
to get you out there. And that’s kind of what
this ship going through this strange,
alien landscape means to me, like, they’re shaking up
their universe by maybe exploring a new one. From there,
it really just evolved into “What kind
of landscape is this?” and “Where are they going?”
And I thought, “Yeah, I really want to put
two moons in here and make it about aliens.” Okay, step by step,
the process of what we saw today is sort of the initial spark
of the idea, and I have my reference photos. Then I just sort of, like —
for this particular piece — just went at it sketching
and putting in the big shapes so that I had sort of
a backdrop for my ideas. And you notice the shapes change
pretty dramatically over the course of the painting,
because, you know, just compositionally,
I’m always thinking about it. And you start painting it up, you start putting
some texture on. I have a library
of watercolor textures and washes that I’ve created
and scanned into the computer. Those I use on multiple layers
at different opacities or different layer modes to sort of give the painting
a hand-drawn or touched-by-human-beings
feeling, because sometimes
digital paintings can get a little cold. I use a lot of Photoshop tricks, but then, you can
also see the actual, more traditional-style painting
as I get closer in with, like, the detailed objects
of the ship. So, I suppose my process
is a lot of trial and error and a lot of not being afraid
to go back a couple steps and see if something else works
and move things around. The reason why I definitely
like working digitally rather than
with traditional paint is the “undo” function
and the ability to change what I don’t like in my work
really easily. I think, also,
in terms of work, it’s so much faster. I don’t have to sit around and literally wait
for paint to dry. I can just paint it and go. I would say that in terms
of what I want to paint before I start —
For this instance, it was literally the idea
of, like, “I really want to draw a ship,” so I started looking at ships
and came across one that I wanted to sort of
integrate into a painting. I think the reason why
adventure’s important to me is because
the life that you live informs the art that you make, and if you live a life
that doesn’t have any adventure or doesn’t have
anything new in it, then you’re not gonna have
any material in your sort of mental library
to draw from when you want to sit down
and make something. So I think
you have to get out there and you have to live
in order to make art.

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  1. Thank you for sharing. I loved how happy you seem to be while working on the piece. I find digital work so much fun and there are so many options and endless variations you can make.

  2. Wow…This was awesome. 1.Kallis didn't have to try to be "OUT THERE"in her answers. Which made it easier for me to connect to them. 2. I think that is the field I want to go into…Maybe traditional or maybe digital…or both. Thank you @soulpancake and @SamanthaKellis for helping me make a life changing decision. …now what am I hungry for…

  3. I'd really like to know what educational backround she has because her job sounds so amazing and I've never heard about befor even though it is logic that it exists. 🙂

  4. Very inspirational. I'm a digital/traditional artist, and I usually just draw the same old things all the time because that's what I'm used to and what I know the best about. You have inspired me to get out there and discover all the possibilities I have for drawing.

  5. D: looked it up.. dang, they're expensive! I have a intuos 4 wacom, and when i saw this, i really wanted it… buts its like $ 2000 :'d

  6. Im a good artist i just dont know how to put it through Photoshop and use the tools to create…. well that! does anyone know any tutorials for doing so?

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