By Jason Thibault
I first saw the extravagantly detailed work of Anville through a blog post on OMG Posters. I then high-tailed it over to his website to find out more. Turns out all of his work was equally impressive. We wrote back and forth throughout the summer and he sent over a lot of new images as well as process steps to share with all of the readers of Op Wound. This is an artist to keep an eye on in the fine art, illustration and poster worlds. Once the secret gets out, he’ll be highly sought after.
And let’s be honest. I did this interview as an excuse to show you as much awesome art as I could humanly fit in this blog post.
What inspired you to first start drawing? Did you struggle in your formative years or did it come easy to you?
I always drew when I was younger but the first real hit of inspiration came from Spawn #28. The detailed inking of Todd McFarlane and the dynamic camera shots and anatomy of Greg Capullo was a total inspiration. For years I redrew spawn panels I liked, but added my own touch, I don’t think I ever “struggled”, more it was experimenting and having fun, and always testing out maxing out my capabilities from drawing to drawing, always adding more. Originality came a few years later, after being inspired by numerous wine bottles, 18th century etchings, and engineering drawings of engines. Moebius and Battle Angel Alita were also huge inspirations, along with discovering the rock poster scene a few years back.
First professional work (piece / year) and maybe a quick story behind it.
The first piece that defined my style would be “Lafourcade I” in 2006, which took a total of 3 weeks to concept, and a month to pencil. It was the biggest thing I had attempted to do something that large, and took a total of 8 months to finish. It features the first time I had drawn things I had been dreaming to draw, things I only saw in my head. A massive dying tree, armored warrior women with chainsaws, heavy filigree and just organized chaos. Its an overly complicated study in duality, which really doesn’t mean anything. Next month it is going to be screen printed.
Were you self-taught or formally educated? (or mixture of both, mentors etc…)
I was self taught, though I did attend art school and participated in traditional life drawing and concept classes. A big portion of my learning was self taught, staying up all night reading “The Dark Knight Returns” and Maxfield Parrish books.
Tools of the trade: Taking a quick glance over at your pens, brushes etc…what tools have you mainly been using over the last few years?
I rely on microns for the most part for inking, along with Faber Castell pitt artist pens for filling ink blacks, and brushes ocassionally. Three different kinds of pencils are used when concepting, a creatacolor monolith (hb) for rough sketching, .5mm mechanical pencil with hb lead for fine details, and a .5mm 2h for final pencils. More time is spent penciling than I notice, sometimes going through a whole Pentel click eraser in a drawing, trying to make things look just right.
How has your toolbox evolved compared to when you first started out?
The addition of dozens of French curves, c-thru rulers to match parallel lines, and a massive light box for final inks. Sometimes I will use the computer for drafting complex geometry, as I studied 3D Studio Max in school, and consider it a part of my training, so I use it when I need to.
Favorite brand of ink:
Higgins is what I use when brush inking.
Type of paper:
Strathmore Vellum Bristol, and graph paper when I sketch.
Which artists or creators do you return to for a quick boost of inspiration? Who are the masters of ink?
Once a client has handed off an illustration job to you, how do you first tackle the job. Could you give us a quick overview of your process?
I go to pencils same day, and just bust out a few sketches. Once an idea is solidified, Ill usually run it by the client. Almost every time, I will sleep on a good initial sketch and wake up and check it out, and it always sucks. I usually have to “punch up” the art by adding objects, elements and all other kinds of details to make it something unique, and have a approach. Going to inks usually means Im 100% committed to the piece at the moment.
The inking process is completely different than the penciling one, details are done on the fly. The pencils act as the girders of the drawing, where the hatching and details are the façade. Id you compare the sketches to the final inks, you can tell what I mean.
What’s currently sitting in your mp3 / CD player / turntable?
I switch between heavy metal and contemporary classical. The new Kylesa record has been on repeat, with Burst, Hacride and Gojira being the main contenders. A lot of shoegaze is also on tap, along with a lot of atmospheric prog-rock such as Oceansize and Boris is playing a lot as well. Something I can put on and let play for a few hours without messing with it. As far as classical goes, I spin Rachels, Deaf Center and Mozart.
What’s hanging on your walls and what is your favorite piece of art that you own (not created by you)?
I am a fan of Horkey, so the majority of collection is his work, along with a few Jared Connor prints I really dig. I also collect prints that are different than what I usually like, such as my collection of Dan McAdams prints (Crosshair) , which are beautifully screen printed posters of decrepit buildings done in colorful separations. My favorite piece as of now is “Snow Queen“, a Joseph McSween (2H) giclee I picked up.
What’s the last novel you read and last movie that you saw that you’d recommend? Which movies and books do you always return to?
I just came off of a huge Stephen King audio book binge, which I listen to while working, but the last novel was “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. Its a cliché but it is a must-read for any type of creative person, to not compromise your goals or spirit. The last movie was “Mulholland Drive” which is always interesting, how Lynch lights all the scenes, very creepy. Movies on rotation are Seven, Event horizon, Old Boy and Dark City; anything with a real dark baroque vibe, with interesting tech and occult themes.
Current and upcoming projects?
Among 3 or so images being inked now to be screen printed, I am also working on a body of fine art pieces that will be painted, with certain paintings being inked as well. Its intimidating moving into painting to learn, as it’s a whole other process from picking up a pen. During the creating of these paintings, I am currently working on Lafourcade III, which is taking up my whole bedroom wall and is being penciled now.
What would you tell an aspiring artist who is working his ass off but still needs and wants to break through to the next level?
Dont let anyone tell you what you are doing is wrong, or popular, or marketable. Keep at it always, you can always improve and get to the next level. Doing art for free for exposure is what has helped me. Making some posters, flyers or your pals album art…whatever you can to get the art out there.
Spend conscious effort developing your own style, and figure out what you are giving to the art world that is unique. Having a real skill set with a pencil in your hand is very important, try not to rely on computers to make the art pop, make a nice clean original. One thing that may be more difficult is to find a mentor, someone who has been where you are and can advise you on the next step with experience, as an artist. I am very lucky to have found an excellent mentor. Don’t half-ass your art, and it will always reward you.
For more info and reading, head on over to Anville’s website.