P.S. Brooks: Featured Artist
Home: Yorkshire, UK
While exploring twitter one day, I ran into the most enchanting character. “Who might you be, little one?” I whispered to the screen. No response, but by that time it was too late, I was in love. (This conversation happened with the little mouse at the top of this post.)
Illustrations draw me in, along with a wide variety of other art forms if I am to be completely honest. I want to step right into the world that has been carefully crafted. Patrick, (PSBrooks) does such an excellent job of creating these worlds that I was glad he allowed me to get to know him a little better.
Your website is rich with a variety of images. What were your first interests in art?
I grew up watching a combination of Western and Eastern animation. Aside from Disney shorts and movies, I watched shows like Battle of the Planets and Kimba the White Lion. I was fascinated by the characters, colors and stories, and believe this is one factor which contributed to my strong interest in art. Another factor was my grandfather Brooks, who painted in oils and acrylics, and also used other media such as oil pastels and pencil crayons. I began drawing my favorite characters from the animation shows I watched and then progressed onto creating my own characters and stories. Throughout my education, Art and English were always my strongest subjects and I continued with Art through A levels, Diploma, and right up to my Degree.
Were classes the way you honed your craft?
I studied Art at GCSE, A Level, Diploma and Degree. During these years I explored many different ways of working and used different media. At GCSE, I found a strong appeal to working with pastels and continued to do so. I first used Photoshop while studying for my Diploma, but utilized it much more in my Degree. Though my Degree was in Fine Art, I used both traditional and digital media to create my work. Almost all of my current Photoshop skills were self-taught, aside from some useful tips picked up from online videos.
I like how you use Photoshop as an artistic tool.
I’m currently exploring ways I can create similar effects to traditional media in Photoshop by using custom brushes and layers. I like several parts of the creative process – from the initial brainstorming and exploration of how to begin a specific scene or character, to experimenting with color tones and composition, to finally being able to sit back and think ‘yes, this is finished.’
What kinds of things spark your inspiration?
I’m constantly inspired by the creative work of others – whether that is illustrators I discover on social media, or books, animation and films that I find out about. Last September I first set up my Twitter account and am incredibly glad I did so. I’ve not only gotten to know other writers and illustrators, but have been inspired to create illustrations using specific guidelines. Daily Doodle is one Twitter art challenge I’m very glad I found. I also participated in Inktober and Illo Advent. This year though, my main focus has been developing work for the Colour Collective weekly challenges established by Penny Neville-Lee. It’s wonderful to see the creative work of others and I’m inspired every week by the high quality illustrations.
I am very glad you established your twitter account as well. I’ve been through your website several times, but would like to share a few more images.
“Origin of Starfish” was done for the Corn Colour Collective and was my first all digital pastel style illustration. I was experimenting with trying to achieve a similar effect to traditional pastels digitally. After making some custom brushes, I explored different methods of using them in Photoshop. Starfish are fascinating and I wanted to illustrate a whimsical and dreamlike scene about them. I used different Photoshop layer effects to create the bubbles and wave reflections.
Customizing brushes, that’s a great idea. It really puts your personal style into your work. I also like how you played with how star fish originated.
“Sailing Home” was done for the Champagne Colour Collective. I wanted to illustrate a scene that focused on the sunlight of early morning and of two characters being reunited. I tried to use warm hues and create a brightness that surrounds the characters and ocean. To create the wind and light effects I used Photoshop layers and opacity settings.
“Raccoon and the Moon” was done for Payne’s Grey Colour Collective. After experimenting with a particular style of illustrating trees in the previous Colour Collective, I wanted to explore them further. Using the Grey tones of night, I first built up the landscape and composition, then added the characters and foreground elements. I wanted to create a scene of calm, mystery and wonder that looking up at the night sky at the stars can bring.
What suggestion/s do you have for people who want to make their living as an artist?
Keep practicing illustrating every day. Find what media you like to work in and explore other media. Learn about different ways of working creatively. Surround yourself with other creative people to be inspired by, and to inspire others. Never listen to people who tell you that you should quit. Keep persevering and do what you love. Build a strong portfolio and get to know other illustrators, artists and writers. Don’t give up. Unless you’re rich, get into part time employment to pay the bills if there are gaps in freelance commissions. Get a good agent to help you become more established. Be humble and be open to learning something new every day.
Thank you, Patrick, for being this month’s feature artist.