With pleasure, we present Junkyard Sam - a Seattle area-based artist with a jolly memorable style. This talented mind kindly took some time to discuss his art, creative process, and why paint terrified him as a kid.
Tell us about you and how did you become interested in art?
Growing up in Texas I specialized in pencil because I figured I’d end up a poor or homeless artist. Lottery kiosks have stacks of little pencils for free so I knew I’d always have access to drawing tools. Paint terrified me, as I feared becoming addicted to color and expensive art supplies.
My art teacher in high school gave me an open-ended free reign to study art. I had multiple hours booked in her classes and for three years I read every art book from every library and even let other studies suffer to focus on art. She encouraged me toward my own self-study program and I became completely obsessed with art. I studied art technique by day and by night I read about the lives of artists from history and wondered what my own life as an artist would be like.
My parents worried a LOT about my future, but they realized a plan for my life was coming together when I was awarded a full scholarship to the Art Institute of Dallas. This led me to an art career in the video game industry where I’ve worked ever since. Working as an artist in games made it possible to buy a house and support my wife & soon-to-be four kids. Not homeless after all!
After 20 years of making games, I rediscovered a love for drawing. I graduated from pencil and upgraded to a fountain pen… but still no paint. With technology, we have something even better: digital! Tools like Rebelle offer an artist a lot more freedom than paint, are more enjoyable, and even cost less. Perfect!
That’s a truly pragmatic approach to career choice. ;) Besides freedom, in what ways does Rebelle influence your creative process?
I draw my linework by hand using various Japanese fountain pens with exotic extra-fine nibs. Paint still terrifies me! Paint has a tendency to go wrong and there’s no undo; One bad stroke and hours and hours of line work are lost! I’ve found happiness in scanning my art & coloring it digitally with a Wacom Intuos pen & tablet.
Rebelle is a joy to paint in because the interface is friendly enough to relax and just focus on the art but powerful enough to use for professional illustration. (Most recently I used it to color the cover of 425 Business magazine.)
Best of all, with Rebelle I don’t have to worry about my art looking “too digital.” The process is simple. I choose a paper texture. I choose the paper color. Then I use the watercolor brush on my scanned drawing and my colors actually stay wet and blend together just like real paint! There’s no other software that even comes close to the watercolor simulation in Rebelle. It’s incredible!
Can you introduce us to your agreeable yellow characters? Where did they come from?
Art school was great for molding me into a commercially viable artist, but all the rules took the fun out of art. Art school said, “Draw BIG!” but I like to draw small. Art school said “Draw realism!” but I don’t enjoy that. Later in my career - with all the pressures of competitive game industry art I realized I didn’t even enjoy art anymore.
So I threw all the rules out the window and took my pens to paper without regard to what I would create. These little yellow guys kept appearing in my drawings with ghosts and monsters in strange exciting worlds from Earth and beyond. After a while, they took on a life of their own. Now it feels like they’ll all die if I ever stop drawing so I keep going in order for them to live on and have new adventures!
How long does it take you do draw a picture? Do you do anything else when you’re drawing?
My drawings range from 5 to 20 hours depending on complexity. This means I draw long into the wee hours of the night after my family has gone to bed. I listen to podcasts while I draw because it’s like having friends talking in the room. With a good podcast on and Rebelle open on my laptop - suddenly it feels like I’m at a party and I’m drawing in the background. I’m laughing. I’m drawing. Time goes by and suddenly a new drawing is finished!
Where can people see and possibly buy your artworks?
My art lives online at junkyardsam.com and all the social media networks as “Junkyard Sam.” I’ll do something big with it someday, but for now, I’m overloaded with game and illustration work so I’m content to make people smile with a few new drawings each week. =)
Thanks a million for speaking with us today. We enjoyed it a lot!
For everyone who’s got interested in Junkyard Sam’s art, we’d definitely recommend not to miss on his social channels:
So spread some love and click that “Follow” button! ❤️