It’s been a while since I’ve honed my interviewing skills, so I thought it be fun to sit down with my boyfriend Sean Greenberg, a fourth year Illustration student at Sheridan College, for a short Q&A session on his background in illustration, his career aspirations and his incredible imagination.
When did you first become interested in art?
Pretty young, probably elementary school. I can’t give you an exact time though, I’ve always enjoyed drawing.
As someone who loves to read comic books and graphic novels and is a self-proclaimed sci-fi fan, where do you draw inspiration from?
All over the place. Most of it is a subconscious thing and not really thinking about it. There’s not really a such thing as an original thought, it’s just, I don’t really know what’s inspiring what I do.
Describe the process of taking a concept or idea and transforming it into a drawing or painting.
Well, there’s the initial thought. Usually, you visualize it in your head, in your mind first. Then you start doing thumbnails to try and figure out possibly a better composition than the one you were thinking of. Start just going through the steps of drawing it and often you’ll come across something that…you develop something better than you thought of initially anyway and sometimes it comes out terrible, but… *laughs*
If you could describe your artistic style in one word…
In one word?
But I could give you three.
What is your favourite art media?
Right now, I’m mostly working in watercolour with ink over top. I like oil painting when I get the chance, but it’s much more expensive and time consuming. It’s not great for illustrations and you’ve got to be doing a more involved painting with oil for it to make sense.
What is it about watercolour and ink?
It’s just fun, it moves around, you get to scribble a lot. Scribbling is cool, at least, I like to scribble with it. It’s absolutely not forgiving and totally forgiving at the same time. Give up a little bit of the control you were going to go into it, use with it first. I enjoy it.
Which project of yours are you most proud of?
Hmm…A Fistful of Udders, maybe. It’s an 11×17 poster design and it is just hilarious because it takes A Fistful of Dollars and makes it funny because you have cows instead and a fistful of udders, it’s just funny. I’m most proud of it because of the humour and it’s just a genius thing.
Describe the process of creating your Balrog Boogie video, from selecting which illustrations to include, to animating them in Adobe After Effects and comping the final product.
Okay, it started out as “I’m just going to take a whole bunch of my sketchbook art and make something silly out of it.” Then, it turned into months of paaaaaaaaaain and lots of fun…and so painful. *laughs* It was more of a random process really and using video making to see what I could do , what I could apply to give it a sense of commonality.
Why did you pick the song “Balrog Boogie” by Diablo Swing Orchestra?
Because I like it, it’s a very fun song, it’s an awesome song.
Were there some parts of the song that influenced the direction that your video took and some of the animation you did?
Yeah, like the opera singing, I got really into it with having male figures singing a female voice because I thought that was hilarious, and to have the Balrog be like the “ruh ruh ruh ruh” voice. Just hearing the glass breaking in the background the second time she’s [the opera singer] singing really made me come up with the little helicopter flying around with the wine glass and to have that break even though it’s a subtle thing. I wanted it to be as subtle as the glass breaking sound because the first time you’d listen to the song, you won’t notice it. And it’s a song you can listen to over and over and over again because you notice new things and it’s very well paced and it’s just got a lot going on in it.
One of my favourite parts of the video is at a point where there’s an instrumental solo going on. I know you weren’t too sure at first of how you were going to fill that space up, but I love the trees that you drew and included in there and the way you animated them. Did the song lead you to this idea of the trees or was it something that just came to you?
I guess a bit of both because that was the part that scared me for a bit because I didn’t know what I was going to fill in that space and I really wanted to finish this for my summer co-op.
What do you hope to do once you’re finished your degree at Sheridan?
Do the graphic novels and comic books I’ve been working on for, forever, get the stories out and keep making those stories, but I also want to do other things. I’d love to do graphic novels, comic books, concept art, maybe some industrial, magazine illustrations but mostly, my books.
What is your dream job?
Being able to do my graphic novels all day long *laughs* Maybe being picked up by Blizzard (or another video game company) a little bit to do contracts of concept art, that would be pretty cool. I’d like to continue working with After Effects and make videos like the Balrog Boogie music video.
Where can people check out more of your work?
Sean currently lives in Hamilton and is hard at work during his final year of Illustration at Sheridan College. For more of his work and to get in touch, check out the link to his portfolio above.
Thanks to Sean for his time and sharing his thoughts, ideas and background on art and illustration! Stay tuned for another installment, which will provide insight on his final thesis project.