This week we are fortunate enough to have Eric Wilkerson for Robot Envy’s Artist Spotlight!
Eric Wilkerson is an illustrator, painter, and concept artist currently working in the entertainment industry. He has created artwork for book covers, children’s books, and numerous TV commercial storyboards. His work has been featured in multiple volumes of Spectrum Fantastic Art, on the cover spine of Spectrum 19, Expose, Imagine FX and is a finalist in the ARC International Salon 2013. Client list includes companies such as, Blue Man Group, WETA Workshop, Show Creators Inc., Nickelodeon, MTV Animation, Indika Entertainment Advertising, Daily Planet LTD., Biolumina, Harrison and Star, Science Fiction Book Club, TOPPS. Toys R Us, and Fisher Price.
1.) When did you get interested in illustration and art?
Like a lot of artists, I started out drawing anything in front of me at an early age.
My mom introduced me to comic books. Anime and comics were my world as a kid and I
knew for sure that I wanted to make art for a living after discovering the work of comic
artists Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio in the early 90s. I’m sure there are countless fantasy
and comic artists all over the world that share a similar path.
2.) What are your biggest inspirations, both style and artist wise?
My biggest inspirations artistically come from anime and star trek. It’s what I grew up on
and it bleeds out of me into everything I do. My favorite artists who influence what I
create and level of finish are definitely Jean-Léon Gérôme, Dean Cornwell, Manuel
Sanjulian, Syd Mead, Andrew Probert, Sadamoto Yoshiyuki and former painting
instructors Marvin Mattelson, and Garin Baker. I also spend a fair amount of time in
museums studying old master paintings and trying to apply what I learn to my traditional
painting, which also effects what I do digitally.
3.) What were some of your favorite projects to work on in your career?
Occasionally I do book covers and other design work but I’ve mainly been working as a costume designer for the Blue Man Group on a scifi themed production for the past fewyears. It has been the most fulfilling, creative experience of my life. I work with an array
of talents across stage and film production and I pray that the show comes out soon
because everyone I know thinks I’m designing wool sweaters with tribal patterns and it’s
slowly eating away at my soul.
4.) Does your cultural background affect the style of your work?
I don’t think so. I do my best to expose myself to art from a variety of cultures and infuse that into my work whenever possible.
5.) How do you keep the creative juices going?
Lately I seem to always be doing art for clients. When I have a break I create art for myself. It’s always the most satisfying and often times the most rewarding work I do.
6.) What’s one of your favorite movies and why?
GUNBUSTER. It was an old anime from Gainax animation. Giant robots VS. Alien horde with real world physics and principles of time dilation added in for dramatic effect. Pure awesomeness.
7.) Describe a typical day for you?
I work from home so I usually start my day off answering client emails or preparing a new digital or traditionally painted illustration. Blast movie soundtracks and eat when I start to get lightheaded. I enjoy what I do so much I forget to eat.
8.) Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring artists?
Do what you love and let the market come to you. That was advice given to me years ago and it took me a few years after to put into practice. Before you apply for that staff art position make sure they do exactly what it is you want to create. Otherwise it’ll be a waste of your time, your skill set and might ultimately make you miserable. No amount of financial reward is worth that. Surround yourself with positive uplifting people and remember, if you work from home that doesn’t mean you get to wear the same shirt everyday