Robot Artist Spotlight – Dave Pasciuto!

This week we are celebrating the official release of Robot Envy 2 by interviewing our one and only Dave Pasciuto! Dave is the founder of Robot Envy and has been working in the entertainment industry for the past 20 years in film, broadcast, video games and advertising. It was only a couple years ago that Dave launched the first Robot Envy book and since then it has grown into a awesome, diverse community of artists and robotic connoisseurs.

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First, lets talk about RE2. What’s going on with this, chief?

Robot Envy 2 is my latest installment of robots, created exclusively for this sketchbook. The art was all completed in the past few months—with some select pledger sketches from the original Kickstarter project. I had such a blast creating the first book that I wanted to do another one!

Awesome! Man, you love robots so we gotta know, how did RE start?

Robot Envy was inspired by the Kickstarter phenomenon. I had a couple friends who had successful Kickstarter projects, and I started thinking about something I could do. After chatting with some friends, they said, “why don’t you make a book of your robot sketches?” Duh. It was a great idea that I hadn’t even thought of. I love to draw robots, and I also love package design, so I mashed up the 2 ideas and Robot Envy was born.

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Outside of Robot Envy, what are you up to professionally?

Currently, am the Creative Director of an animation studio called Dose. We create everything from concept art to 3d animation and video. I also teach Character Design at Columbia College Chicago. I also taught at Gnomon School of Visual Effects and the Gnomon Workshop, in addition to various corporate training and workshops.

Definitely Keeping busy. Prior to crunch time, How does a typical day start for you?

Well, I roll out of bed around 7, and head to work. This is probably the most difficult part of the day for me. I have to walk between Glazed and Infused and Stan’s Donuts every morning, and harness all of my chi to not stop in! At the studio, we start off the day with a quick meeting to update the status on various projects and then it’s off to the races, with some fun thrown in throughout the day.

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Before you earned your industry stripes, how did you get started as an artist?

I was so very lucky to have a Mother who was both an Artist and Art Teacher. So art was instilled in me from a very young age. As I grew up, I drew more and was exposed to many various mediums and techniques. I never stopped making art throughout my school years. This eventually led to being hired as a pixel-artist on Sega Genesis video games right out of high school. The industry was very new though—situations like that rarely happen anymore.

Outside of the art community, where do you find inspiration for your work?

I think that culture and travelling inspires me a lot. Seeing new things in places I haven’t been before. There is inspiration everywhere. Shapes, colors, lines, patterns and rhythms exist in everything; products, food, nature, music…I get an emotional response to something and that inspires me to create something.

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How important is your studio space? Got any cool toys?

My creative space is very important to me. Being surrounded by cool things that you like and appreciate helps get the creative sauce going. Cool toys? Of course! My Chogokin Panda Z, Zeorymer, a Queadluun Rau from Macross toy (which is a genius design), my Monkey King by Nathan Jurevicius from my girlfriend and all of my Beastlies!

With such a variety of work experience and skills, what is your workflow like?

Over the years I have developed workflows that have evolved quite a bit. My #1 goal is to quickly access the tools I use the most. My logic flow is: Task>Tool>Action. I think about what task I am doing—for example, painting reflections. I have my tool presets open, with my reflection brushes named and organized; then I quickly choose the brush I want and paint. Also, I set the Tool Preset Panel close to the canvas, so I can bounce back and forth fast. I also remapped my Wacom Pen to have the front button set to “Erase,” and the back button to “Right Click.” This allows me to draw/erase fluidly without flipping the pen or changing hotkeys.

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Your robots have a definite style. How did you come to this and where do see yourself down the line?

Haha! Thanks! A lot of my designs are purely shape driven with a bit of retro feel to them. I like interesting concave and convex surfaces that reflect light. Thinking about some of these shapes, I feel like some were inspired by automobiles of the 50’s. I think that the RE2 designs have evolved a bit past that, but there is still much more exploration to be done!

Finally, Robot Envy. It’s grown tremendously since you kickstarted back in 2012 and is only getting better. What future goals are you plugging away at?

We do have a collaboration with another popular franchise coming up! I can’t really talk about it yet. Then there will be another Kickstarter project in the beginning of 2015! Hopefully this amazing community will support us again! This is a very busy year for RE and we have many things in the works, but I just can’t say anything about them right now. I promise they will be cool and the Robot Envy community will be the first to know. Thank you so much for joining us in this Robo-Adventure!

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From thought to reality, Dave has created and maintained (with a lot of help) a one-of-kind artist community. With the release of RE2, we are now embarking on a new chapter of robot-filled adventures that will lead to an even greater place for anyone who loves and appreciates Robot Art. If you want to get your hands on a fresh copy of RE2, Robot Envy will be at C2E2 this year and you can find us at table “E16” in Artist Alley or order it from our online store (http://robotenvy.bigcartel.com). Thanks again for all the love and support!