Emotion, architecture, museums, and classic Nintendo games have influenced digital art created by students and an alumnus of Clark’s Becker School of Design & Technology. The three interactive media majors realized at a young age that art was a passion. Charles Marble ’22 uses his everyday surroundings to help shape 2D characters that start as a simple sketch. Emily Clewes ’23 references real-life architectural designs to make convincing 3D digital art, skills she hopes to use in the field of environment art after graduation. Sammi Bosque ’24 is also a psychology major and finds that emotions and personal experiences play a major role in the concepts behind her 2D artwork.
ClarkNow asked Marble, Clewes, and Bosque to share a behind-the-scenes look at their creative process, from ideation to completion.
When did you realize that art and/or gaming, design, and technology is what you wanted to pursue?
Charles Marble: Art has always been a big part of me, whether it was drawing for art class in grade school or just for fun. Video games have also been influential, primarily Nintendo series games such as “Super Mario,” “The Legend of Zelda,” and “Kirby,” among countless others. Their characters, worlds, and stories were inspirational.
Emily Clewes: I realized art was the direction I wanted to take my life when I started middle school. I was fascinated by art throughout elementary school. I also grew up playing video games with my family and friends, so I wanted to combine those passions.
Sammi Bosque: I grew up with an artistic mom, but I never saw art as a degree path. My mom always supported my dreams, but I thought I needed to do something else and could do art on the side. I didn’t pursue art in college until after my first semester. I started printmaking, and I was hooked. I was a studio art major, but when the University adopted the Becker School of Design & Technology during my sophomore year, I took a cartooning class and was so warmly welcomed by the department and students. Studio art limited me to traditional art. With game design, I can create in traditional and digital mediums, and apply my skills to create art for another love: video games.
What is the creative process behind your work?
CM: I get my ideas from prompts I find online or things I see in the world. Occasionally, ideas will just come to me. Inspiration is all around us and you have to find what speaks to you the most.
Once I get an idea, I sketch it out with stick figures and rough outlines. Then I start sketching details like environmental aspects before going over them in ink. Once that is done, I color everything before then adding finishing touches. I know it sounds simple, but there can be a lot that happens during the process, from complete revisions to slight adjustments. It also depends on the illustration in question, whether it’s drawing a single character or something more.
EC: I tend to work in references and simple shapes to start my process. Real life provides the most reference I could ever need for architectural designs, textures, and colors.
SB: I paint a lot of emotion. I focus on what I feel and put that on paper or screen. I’m also inspired by reading or going to art museums. A lot of my ideas stem from my mental state. If I have been having a lot of migraines, my art may focus on pain or strain around the head and brain. I also have a painting of eyes stuck in a woman’s hair, looking at her. I felt like people were watching me and judging me and I wanted to reflect that.
Which part of the process do you enjoy the most and which part the least?
CM: There are actually two parts that I quite enjoy: the initial sketch and coloring the illustration. I like seeing everything come together from stick figures and rough outlines. Coloring feels relaxing after doing all the line work. On the other hand, there’s no part of the artistic process that I would say I outright hate, but inking can be somewhat tedious.
EC: I find the best part of the process is the high poly design of the model. I go all out and create the most detailed form of the model I possibly can.
SB: I enjoy the excitement of starting something new and the last bit where you slowly feel your work is complete and you can stop. The middle is tough because you keep trying to get to that endpoint.
What skills have been the most important to develop during your time as a student in the BSDT?
CM: Developing my general art skills was most important to me. I’m always looking to improve my work as an artist and the Clark environment presented the perfect place to do so. The variety of assignments allowed me to practice new styles while also finding ways to improve my general style as well. It was a wonderful learning experience.
EC: Workflow and texture process have been most important, as you can make even the most basic of shapes seem interesting and full with the proper technique to your textures.
SB: Patience. Always take your time and give yourself enough time to complete your assignments. I’d also say being open to criticism and adaptive to what others want you to do. If you’re a character artist, take a lot of time to focus on anatomy and practicing anatomy of creatures.
What shortcuts or tips do you have for artists who are still learning?
CM: If you feel like something in one of your illustrations isn’t working, you should take a step back and look at it carefully, even take reference from something similar. That way, you might be able to find out what’s missing. Never give up and keep practicing. I know it’s very general, but we all start somewhere, and we won’t get any better unless we keep trying our best.
EC: Always try to create your own flow, or else it won’t come naturally. Go from low to high poly or high to low, as either work. Try to create a clean flow for UV before you get to that point so it’s easier down the line.
SB: Practice, practice, practice! Draw what you enjoy. Follow tutorials, sit outside and draw people, and just have a good time with art. It’s all yours. Don’t feel like you need to have the most expensive supplies, paints, or devices. Just use what you can and build yourself up. Pencil and paper are always your friend.