Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist?
I'm 21 years old and I grew up in France. I'm not from Paris even if I live here now. I can’t really say when I have decided to become an artist, I think I've always had this desire throughout my childhood. I wasn’t sure about with which art form I wanted to work in precisely, I just practiced until I had found what I would like to do.
Did you go to an art school or are you self-taught? How did you develop your skills?
I’ve studied art for almost 4 years now. I have graduated in 2D animation and now I’m studying 3D animation at ATI next to Paris. I still work on 2D and sometimes 3D for myself or for school (I work on different projects at the same time). Developing skills is quite hard but I draw every day, at home or in the subway, I believe every situation is an opportunity to learn something new. I observe the world around me and I also take inspiration from the work of other artists, I think learning from people more experienced and talented than yourself is the best way to improve my skills.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
My family has always preferred to let me choose what I wanted for my future and for my career. They have always been supportive and enthusiastic about the path I took. Same thing with my friends: they are my biggest supporters, they help me to progress and I love having them on my side. Without the support of both family and friends I would not be where I am today. I owe them a lot.
Did you have a favourite subject to draw when you were a child and do you still have one today? If you do, what makes it so special?
When I was a child I loved to draw monsters, young heroes, comic strips. It was my own characters and stories most of the time, but inspired by Cartoon Network series, Disney movies, Belgian comics, shonens, etch. Today, my favorite subjects are witches, girls and knights. And more generally, character design. I love to draw some colorful fantastic characters, I don’t know why. When I can’t come up with a new idea I draw this kind of stuff, it feels liberating.
From the initial client idea to the final work: what goes through your mind when you are designing and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
When I start a project or important pieces I usually draw a lot of little concepts in my sketch book. I try to come up with as many ideas around my chosen subject before moving forward. I never settle for the first concept and I like experimenting a lot. It's often raw and unpolished, but it helps me a lot.
What is your process in coloring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
I only color my art with Photoshop, with some original brushes from Kyle T Webster or Goro Fujita. I paint with lots of flat areas, simple lights and shadows. I try to have a fluid coloring process, soft and quick at the same time. I like to be very productive.
Who are the people you work/collaborate with?
I collaborate with a lot of my friends or my girlfriend. If I want to do some funny comic strips I work with Bastien Trabuc who is the funniest (and weirdest) writer I now. If I want to draw some fantasy characters I help my friend Matthieu who’s currently writing a series of fantasy book. Recently, I’ve been very invested in a project called GIFASTIC. It’s a collaborative group we have founded with another friend, Matthieu Fouquet. We make gifs with other animation students from various animation schools (Gobelins, Animation Workshop, Emca, Cal Arts…). We are now about fifteen members. We create fun gifs around a common theme and same colors, with a ton of liberty. The main idea of this collective is to collaborate with others students like us, from all over the world (but mostly France). I think the capacity to exchange with others and team work, are primordial in our discipline, which is why we work that way now.
What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
Everything! I really learned most of all of I know today from other artists. Either by studying with them directly or by trying to understand their creative process, their way to draw etc. I remain open to any possible influence and I’m really thankful for everyone who taught me, either directly or not.
What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
Recently I’ve worked on a personal project, an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, to practice pre-production and character design. I liked it and I did things with colors that I'm quite proud of. However I never really finished this project, I wanted to do 3D concepts on it and a complete story board, but I didn’t have time. I moved on, but who knows, maybe I will be back on this story someday. Right now I’m working on a new project called ''Kevin from Outer Space'', a story about an alien who was living on Earth and that now tries to find his home planet again by travelling through the stars. It’s a personal project and an opportunity for me to practice character design, illustration, staged, etc. I had missed personal project for few months so I want to make this one very special. I’ve just started working on it but I’m already very involved on the story and his characters. I’m also finishing an assignment for school, a creator of chimeras using Python scripting and Maya, I can’t wait to see the final result! We are two on the project and we try to do some illustrative and low-poly 3D based on my designs. I’m also working on the next GIFASTIC. There will be more of us working on it than the last episodes and I think it will be a great one! I love to see the gifs from my friends, they are fantastic. We will release this 6th episode in a few weeks, so stay tuned :) And at the same time I am in final stage for the Disney Art Challenge, but it’s top secret!
What is your long term career goal and what would your dream project be?
My real dream is to make a living with my art. I don’t have a precise long term career goal in mind but I would like to be a pro character designer one day, on feature films or animated series.
What advice would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
I have to deal with art-block so often over the course of a single year! I never stop drawing and my hardest periods are the more productive ones. I switch my mediums, my processes, I watch new references. I don’t really have a secret recipe against art-block and if someone has one.. I would be glad to know it!
What’s your point of view about the industry today: what are the expectations for someone who wants to make a living with an artistic career?
The animation industry has never been so powerful and influent and I’m glad it is like that. But I would like to see more originality in feature films. 3D is a newborn medium and I think we can do better than just copying the Disney/Pixar render. I love it but I’m sad to see all the studios doing the same thing. We need more hybrid project (2D/3D, hand-drawn/3D etc.), mostly in feature films.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favorite designs out there?
Currently I love the work of Suheb Zako, Dean Heezen, Britanny Myers, Jules Rigolle or Cecile de Gantes. I like their characters and the elegance of their lines and process. They are my main source of inspiration right now but I constantly discover new amazing artists and art students through Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest… I collect a lot of references to have fresh ideas all the idea.
Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
You can see my daily work on my Tumblr blog ( thevipersnake.tumblr.com ) and you can find my portfolio on ( arthur-blavier.blogspot.fr ). My collective GIFASTIC is also on Tumblr ( gifastic.tumblr.com )
Thank you Arthur :)