I see myself more as a communicator than an artist. My purpose is to visually convey an idea solidified into a message. Working with clients provides all the necessary fuel for my drive. There is something about collaboration that sparks me much more than creating by myself. It is not to say I have no ideas of my own, but to share the conception of a solid message brings more excitement into the equation. It is evident I have had the great fortune of working with some solid art directors out there.
In the case of Sean Craven's The Tourists, published by Tor.com, the ideas were plentiful. The story had some bizarre visuals that deserved exploration. Some of these ideas were more literal, taken straight from the story, but in the end, the training I received drove to something much more conceptual. As an illustrator, I learned not to depict just the scenes of a story, but to grab the complete story, drop it in a bucket, shake it, and see what comes out. The usual result is a concoction that relates to the story in every way, but retains a certain amount of mystery that does not give away the plot.
When it comes to technique, I like to use the computer as a tool for speeding up the illustration process. In their thumbnail stage, projects are still very malleable. The computer offers a quick editability that no other medium can provide. As the project begins to take a more definite shape, I start moving into traditional media, mostly inks.
This job for Tor is a perfect example of my process. It goes from digital thumbnails and comps, followed by a large, inked drawing that is then taken back into the computer for some coloring and detailing.