Interview with Brian Miller
Brian Miller is the owner, artist and illustrator behind the Orlin Culture Shop based in Erie, Colorado, USA. Clean lines, beautiful color pallets and grainy textures are a huge part on Brian's retro artworks that already conquered many clients attention. Today we present this interview we done with him.
You can see more from Brian on the following links:
1) First of all I would like to thank you for doing this interview, it's an honor for us to present more about you to our readers. I would like to start asking you about when your interest for illustration and graphic design began?
Thank you, it is an honor to be interviewed and featured on your site!
I have been interested in drawing as long as I can remember. I can recall sitting on a wooden work bench my Grandfather made for me, drawing with a box of crayons which were slowly melting in the hot Colorado summer sun. I had a strong desire to create worlds in my imagination and the only way I thought to express those worlds was to draw them on paper.
As I got older, that urge never went away. I spent time chasing that idea through multiple creative professions, from interactive design, to art direction, to concept art, and finally to my own illustration business.
2) Which artists do you use as reference?
My taste can be very eclectic but the artists I admire and learn from regularly are commercial illustrators from the 1940-1950s (Arthur Sarnoff, Geo Ham, James Dwyer, James Alfred Meese, JC Leyendecker, Jon Whitcomb, Walter Martin Baumhofer, etc.), vintage Disney artists (Mary Blair, Evand Earle, Retta Scott Worcester, etc.), and a variety of pop culture artists like Bruce Timm, Doug Tennapel, Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Paul Pope, Mike Mignola, Miyazaki, Ben Caldwell, Skottie Young, Lesean Thomas, Hethe Srodawa, etc. There are so many artists out there! You can really learn something from almost all of them.
3) Your style is quite influenced by poster art and old school illustration. How did you develop this style and how would you describe it?
As I’ve gotten older my appreciation for old school illustration and poster art has developed more and more. I don’t know why I’m so drawn to it other than it was a rich part of my childhood and its the style that comes out when I sit down to draw unencumbered by expectations. Its the style that satisfies me most because it shows enough detail to be captivating, but leaves enough out for the viewer to engage with their imagination.
4) Describe us a bit about your creative process while creating a piece.
My creative process is not very glamorous. I typically start with rough sketches where I try to capture the idea as quickly as I’m able. I do my best not to over-think things at this stage, but I often fail at that. Once the sketches are done, I move onto blocking in values using black and white as my palette. With the values in place, I try to identify the best color set for the mood and then apply those colors to the piece.
Once in a while I’ll deviate from this process by starting with colors or shapes or more refined pencils. Its really about doing whatever I need to do to keep things interesting and explore the mood I’m after.
5) What's would you consider the best moment on you career till now?
There are two moments I can think of: one personal, one professional.
My personal best moment was earlier this year I realized the gap between what I was imagining in my head vs what I was able to draw was getting smaller and smaller. The disparity between my imagination and my illustrations became less and less an issue and I was able to draw what I saw in my head. This blew me away because I never thought that was possible after years and years of things never looking just quite right. It doesn’t mean my work is perfect, but there’s a freedom in my creative process which allows me to express what I want to express with my work. That was an incredible realization.
The best professional moment was my first picture book deal which happened this year. I didn’t have the confidence that I was ready to take on such a big task but when it came my way, I grabbed it and didn’t let go.
6) How do you describe your daily routine?.
My current routine is:
6:30 am - 7:30 am Drawing
7:30 am - 8:00 am Email
8:00 am - 11:00 am Work (Estimates, Invoices, Contracts, Drawing, Painting, Etc.)
11:30 am - 1:30 pm Workout / Lunch / Shower
1:30 pm - 2:00 pm Email
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Work (More Estimates, Invoices, Contracts, Drawing, Painting, Etc.)
4:00 pm - 9:00 pm Family Time
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm Writing / Creating
10:00 pm - ?? Drawing / Creating until I fall asleep
7) Being a multimedia artist, please tell us what's your favorite media to work with? Why?
As much as I enjoy working with a plain pencil and paper, my medium of choice is working in Photoshop using my Wacom Cintiq. I’m very comfortable working there because I’ve been doing it so long. The technology rarely fights me and it helps free me up to explore. My favorite media to work with is the media that gets out of my way and lets me create!
8) Tell us five lessons you believe are really important for every illustrator.
Learn to create compelling work that is true to who you are.
Learn the difference between popularity and success.
Learn to work hard.
Learn to take criticism.
Learn the business aspect of illustration because being good at drawing is not enough.
9) Tell us five websites that you like to visit.
10) Thanks again for your time, please leave a final message for the ones who are starting out on this kind of business
This can be a very difficult business because acquiring the illustration skills needed to compete in the marketplace is only half the battle. Its very easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed.
Keep pushing forward. Every illustrator who is making it out there did so by persevering and staying dedicated to their craft. Remember, dedication to your craft means you will have to learn things you don’t know and you’ll have to get comfortable with things you’re not comfortable with. Its possible to do - but it takes work! Keep at it, and remember why you got into this in the first place! Learning to be a hard worker is going to be your biggest asset because with hard work you stand the best chance of growing in all aspects of this industry.