Artist Spotlight with Chris Skinner
Welcome to “Artist Spotlight”, our regular feature where you get to know the artists we work with.
Talk us through your process for creating Ghostbusters.
I normally start by watching the film, even if it’s a film I know well like Ghostbusters. I find it a slightly different experience watching it with creating a poster or piece of art in mind. I’m looking for scenes and moments that will translate into a piece of static art that will give people a nostalgia hit and make them want to watch the film again. I’m not really one for taking stills from a film to use in my art and instead like to try and create the scene from a fresh perspective. I will either start sketching/painting ideas straight in Photoshop or block out some simple 3D shapes in Blender or ZBrush, once I have a few basic assets I can play around with these looking at different compositions and lighting. Once the direction is decided on with the client I then move onto taking the art to a final finish. This process varies from project to project with me, sometimes I go into more detailed 3D modelling before drawing and painting, and sometimes I just go straight to the final drawing and rendering.
How old were you when you started illustrating and what did you create?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, one of my youngest memories is of drawing epic space battles which were kind of like a full comic on one sheet where spaceships would get blown up after they’ve been drawn and stickmen would get run over by tanks.
What is the coolest thing a fan has done for you?
Not a fan as such but someone I’ve worked with on a Back to the Future print had my art signed by Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown). I was also sent a thank you card from BTTF co-writer Bob Gale which is cool.
What are your top three movies and what do you like about each of them?
This is too hard a question so for now I’m going with:
The Transformers: The Movie (1986). - Awesome animation, awesome soundtrack.
The Matrix. – Just loved the story, style and special effects when this came out.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. – Just because it’s Star Wars.
What would be your one superpower and why?
I would like to be rich like Batman…
Which artist(s) inspire you?
There’s too many to name. I love architectural design and illustrations so Hugh Ferris is one of my favourites, you should check his work out if you aren’t familiar with it. Being a sci-fi fan I would also have to say Syd Mead, I love his design work in films like Blade Runner, Aliens and Tron. He also has amazing concept paintings that mix his designs with environments and lifestyle, I could never get bored of looking at his work.
If you were not an artist, what career would you have pursued and why?
I’m not sure I could do anything else, it would certainly be something related to art and design. I studied transportation design at university so I could have gone more down the car design route I guess, instead my first job was designing spaceships for a start-up games company.
Do you have any words of wisdom for artists starting out?
If you are just starting out I think it’s good to concentrate on creating art for things that you enjoy and not what you think will be popular. You’ll have more enthusiasm if you enjoy the subject and I think this will show through in the work. Always be open to new ideas and techniques, I’ve been working in art and design for a long time and I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface!