Spotlight: Karl Liversidge Interview
We have interviewed Karl for our website and have some of his thoughts and tips for using Photoshop for creating stunning images.
TCT: How did you learn your specific design/art software?
Karl: I’ve been using PC’s most of my life and been playing around in Photoshop for years (probably over a decade). So mostly it’s just something I have learned over time with practice experimenting and continual use. To this day I still learn of things I can do in Photoshop and they are always adding new things to the program, for now I know everything I need to know to create an image, with this said I always like finding new techniques online and trying them and seeing what I can learn and take from them.
TCT: What is your favourite software tool?
Karl: I would have to say Photoshop, mostly because it is the one I know the best and I spend little time trying to figure out how to use the program and more time creating the images in my head. I have tried a few others and from time to time force myself to use a bit of painter but I find the process to slow for me and quickly go back to Photoshop.
TCT: Do you have a favourite technique that you would like to share?
Karl: My favourite is just painting everything from sketch all the way to end product, with as few layers as I can. And taking full advantage of the Hard round default brush that comes with Photoshop, it is the most versatile brush of them all. I have recently been trying a few others including the AO (ambient occlusion) technique that seems to be getting a lot more popular these days. I enjoy that one because it breaks things down to separate parts so you are not worrying about so many technical aspects at the same time … It’s hard to nail down my favourite since i change my process a lot and am always adding and try new ways of doing things … and sometimes I go way back to painting everything in B&W and then adding colour after.
TCT: Do you first sketch on paper or design directly into the program?
Karl: It’s not often I take my pencil sketches through to digital I tend to just leave them in my sketchbook and paint only my digital sketches. Sketching digitally first just feels faster and there is little lag between idea/inspiration and motivation to the actual creating process.
TCT: How long does it take to create a simple design (We know there are many aspects, but a rough idea)?
Karl: Some painting and illustrations come together quickly, others take more time and reworking to make them work better than the initial sketch / plan. Some images can be quick-ish around 1-3 hours (mostly considered safe zone painting and relaxing painting) others will take longer to clean and refine, have more detail or because lack of planning and reference may take longer to get finished. I honestly tend to get bored around 6 hours on a piece and want to move on but of course for some images I have to push and finish them. Personal work (lately) is not more than 10 – 12 hours on a piece.
TCT: What or who inspires your work?
Karl: So much inspiration from other art/artist, photos and sometimes people I’m also not shy to say money is a big inspiration! I get a lot of inspiration from talking or hearing really motivated people.
TCT: What is your creative process or how do you come up with your illustrations?
Karl: The process is always random for me, personal work that is. I often find myself sketching random gestures and rough poses until and idea hits me and I see what I can make of it. Sometimes I see a photo or painting and want to create something similar and start sketching with that in mind. Often my sketches are extremely loose and I just straight into painting.
For client work, I have briefs that need to be followed and this dictates how my process goes. My sketches will be a lot cleaner and readable for the client. Sketches will be done and planned where colour palettes, moods, content and compositions are decided on before going into the painting process to make sure what I am doing is what the client wants(this also saves time and makes less changes near the end of the project). This might also be why I like the random freedom that is in my personal works.
TCT: Any suggestions for beginners who want to do illustrations?
Karl: If you wish to do Illustration as a career, you are going to have to really really really really really really really reeeeeeaaaaally love doing it. It is a hard road to travel and requires an insane amount of time, effort and sacrifice. I say you have to have great passion and love for this career, because it asks a lot out of you, especially in the beginning of your carrier. Having passion and drive is what keeps you going and fighting.
A lot of people talk about balancing social life and working/studying to get better…From my point of view, there is no balance if you want to be great, you have to give it everything you have. Would you rather work crazy hard for 6 years and then have money time and comfort to have a social life … or would rather have a social life and struggle for the rest of your life ?
Then the general suggestions: Look online or locally for art communities to join and share your work with, you will be surprised how many are willing to help, crit your work and give you suggestions. Learn to not take all crits and comments to heart. Some people are going to be douche bags, mostly out of jealousy or hate, this is a sign you doing the right thing. Find those that will support you and help you and just have fun learning as much as you can. Most of the top artist will tell you they have no talent and got where they are from nothing less than pure hard work and dedication.
TCT: Anything else you would like to add to inspire our readers?
Karl: Don’t give up. Hard work and dedication is needed if you want better things….a better life….more success. If it was easy everyone would be well off, successful and living the high life. Give yourself to your work and great things can happen.
TCT: What equipment do you use?
Karl: Monitors : 24″ LG LED + 24″ Samsung LED, Samsung is the screen I use to paint on.
Intuos 3 Wacom Tablet (keeping it old school)
Razor Nostramo = Game pad used to set hotkeys for Photoshop, creates a more ergonomic work space and can improve work flow/speed.
HP headset for Skype and Google Hangouts.
Logitech Cam (old school style) For the hangouts and the Skype.
My Balls = Baoding balls used for hand exercise and to stimulate blood flow to avoid hand injury. Great prevention of RSI (repetitive strain injury).
Cheap keyboard + Mouse
Snack to avoid starvation.
Pino :: Gamer PC. – Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (64bit) upgraded to 8.1)
Power Supply: Corsair Gaming Series GS800 80+ High Performance PSU
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 (3.4GHz, 8M Cache, 8x Cores) CPU
Memory: 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz High Performance Gaming RAM
Graphics Card: SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD 7950 3GB 384bit Overclocked Card
Primary Hard Drive: 1TB Seagate 7200RPM SATA3 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache HDD
Details 🙂 everybody loves them 🙂
TCT: Where can the reader’s see more of your work?
We would like to thank Karl for taking time away from his busy schedule to respond to our questions and supply us with images of his studio which you can see here: Karl’s Studio
Here are some images of Karl’s fantastic work:
If you know an Artist you would like to see interviewed let us know or if you are an Artist and want to be interviewed let us know also – just email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Creative Tablet