Meet The Artist: Scott Robertson

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  04 April 2005
Hi Scott. I'm an admirer of your work and appreciate you taking the time to do this.

I have 2 questions:

Are you at a point in your career where you no longer have to actively chase after jobs (in other words, clients seek you out)?

I'm been an artist in the games biz for 13 years and would like to do more freelance illustration work (3D, 2D, Photo manipulation, or mixed) on the side. Got any tips on the easiest way to find potential clients? I'm a fellow ACCD ID grad, but have been out of the commecial illustration loop for a long time.

Thanks for your time.

Richard Green

PS: I just noticed we overlapped a year (1988) at ACCD. Can't believe I never met you. AC was an amazing experience, huh?

  04 April 2005
from: UnknownArtist,
Where do you find the inspiration for such works?

That's a good question. I think that most of it comes from my education as an industrial designer. In that field you are taught a process of how to look at anything and come up with interesting design solutions for that subject. Second I would have to say that hanging around with such an amazing group of artists here in Los Angeles makes it very easy to always be inspired. It seems like someone I know is always doing something cool, that gets me going as well. I think that forums like this one are a larger version of what I have here in LA with my friends and will hopefully continue to grow and inspire all of us together.
  04 April 2005
from: ThePumpkinKing,
When you are sketching concepts, how do you start out, and with what? Do you start out with markers or pens or pencils? Do you just outline the idea itself right away or do you draw guidelines first for the sketch?

To start I like to use all forms of media. Not usually at the same time, but if I'm going for something organic in form I lean towards the media that is easy to get smooth gradations with, like chalk and pencil. If I'm trying to go for something mechanical I like to use pen and marker. Since I have to teach all of the differnt techniques I like to experiment and start many, many differnt ways. As I really believe that strong perspective drawing skills are a great way to communicate your ideas to others I usually start with some loose perspective guide lines to get the sketch started.
  04 April 2005
from: chillnlikeamug,
1. I've always wanted to know why it seems like great designers, such as yourself, rarely see your more radical designs implemented in the automotive industry? I'd pay good money for one of your vehicles?

Thanks, that makes two of us.
Basically I think that doing something like putting a real vehicle into production is so expensive that no one company or one person at a company wants to be held responsible for risking so much money on a radical design. The general public is very conservative and they like familar designs. If it was your money to invest you might spend it the same way they do.

2. Your tutorial in photoshop for the bicycle looks like a real work of engineering genius, I could be wrong, but do you have an engineering background or is it just part of your talent to create great designs that look so sound?

Thanks, but I think that must be the reflections talking to you!
I have designed a lot of real bicycle frames for Kestrel over the last 15 years, so I do know where things go and again my ID training and professional experience make it easy to know how to make things "look" like they would work. That bike is really more of a movie bike. It could be made, someone colud ride it, but it would be heavy and inefficient with today's manufacturing processes.
  04 April 2005
from: maxrelics,
First: What tools do you use in a given day. Does it change for every piece of art work you do or are there a couple tried and true things that you use to make your drawings?

As mentioned a couple of questions ago I like to try everything, all media is fair game.

Second: Which do you prefer, working with computers to make art, or working more with your hands. By this I mean do you like drawing with a tablet (if you use one) or do you prefer to work with a simple piece of paper and pencil or a canvas and a paint brush?

I acutally like both traditional and digital medai quite a bit. The way it seems to be breaking down lately is I do my design work with traditional media working monochromatically and then I scan that into Photoshop and do my color rendering there where it is cleaner, faster and easier to to achieve more realistic material indication. Plus ther is always command Z.
  04 April 2005
from: kamrhon,
Is the reason that your stuff comes out so life-like a result of technique in a particular software or softwares? Can someone who desires life-like results from their work achieve them just through observation of nature or must one know HOW to achieve particular results within their 2d software package of choice?

Yeah, it basically has nothing to do with software and everything to do with gaining the knowledge of what you are observing in nature. You can observe everything you need but the problem arises when you try to apply what you are observing to a form that know one has ever seen before and you are the only one who knows what you are trying accomplish with the sections of your object. This is where having someone explain the physics of what you are observing can go a long way to helping you apply this to your own designs.
  04 April 2005
Hi Scott

I've bought 2 concept DVD from gnomon and your teaching is amazing. Thank you for an excellent tutorial.

I always wanted to ask you whether you have any recommendation for beginners. I'm aiming at getting a job in 3D modelling or concept design in US within 2-3 years. Can design skills be self-taught or must I attend college?

I've been learning to draw and practise modelling every day/night lately. (I am computer science student - should have choose design degree instead).

I from Australia, i wish I can attend your college. Hope you'll release more DVD in the future regarding the subject of Lighting and Shading

Thank you very much Scott.
  04 April 2005
from: kgb,
1. Have you ever painted traditionally or just got your hands wet? What one/two tips do recommend or stress to become a great painter?

I learned how to do all of the rendering and material indication stuff the old way. When I was in school we did not know how to use the computer to do digital 2D work, other than preparing our resumes. One would be to find a good mentor or educator and listen. Second would be to practice, practice looking, thinking and drawing.

2. Do you draw from life? In past? Now? How do you keep your skill up by practicing drawing which subjects? (life, anatomy, imagination?) One/two tips you recommend or stress to become great at drawing?

I'm really short on time lately and so I have no time to draw, which means when I do again in a couple of weeks I will be rusty! I do not often draw from life. I like to start from the ground up and create things I have never seen before. I think learning how to do good perspective drawing can be one of the most powerful creative assets you can obtain. It will allow you to easily create things from your imagination that look convincingly real to other people.

3. How long do you spend on a drawing/painting to have it finished approximetly?

Oh really I cannot answer this one because each drawing/painting is different and some done in mere seconds can be all that is required and if you spend more time on it all you'll do it potentially screw it up!
  04 April 2005
I'm running low on energy and I'll get back to you on this one.
  04 April 2005
Mr. Scott Robertson.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this. I have got as far as I have in art due to talent, and proper mentor/student (me being the student) relations. Not by much education. (I cannot afford too much schooling; I do have 2 degrees one in graphic design and another in fine art). I have to say I really enjoy your work.
I was really exposed to your work one day when I was working as inventory supervisor at a bookstore and decided to run your name through our database and see what books I could find. A quirky little title showed up ‘ How to draw cars the hot wheels way’ well that book is now in my library.
Ok on to the question. Sans school placement what is the best way to get a job as a concept artist for film, television, or games? I have been able to get work with comics due to the fact that you can approach a company during a convention or they have open submissions, ect. Is there such a thing for film work? I know the talent needs to be there I am more curious about the initial open door opportunity.
Thanks for taking the time for this again

  04 April 2005
from: SPIDER2544,
hey scott if your teaching a class again at art center next term, do you mind if i sit in?

I will be teaching again next term, two Vis Com classes. Generally I cannot allow other students to sit in and take away table space from the regulars, but please come by whenever you like to check out the work on the wall each week. Hit the library to check out the DVDs. See you around school.
  04 April 2005
from: DodoPAN,
Scott, i started a thread, Car studio lighting recepies here, on CGTalk. I am looking for that PERFECT car lighting in studio with 3d Max and MentalRay. Any advices ? Hope to hear from you !

I'm sorry I'm no help on the 3D side of things, strictly 2D. I doubt there is a singular perfect set up though. I mean since it is a shiny object designing the environment around your car will be the key to a succesful rendering, in regards to the reflections anyway. Of course the reflections are very sensitive to the viewing angle and the sections of the surfaces all of which will need to be tweaked on a case by case basis, just like doing good photography.
  04 April 2005
Hi Scott

Your DVD at Gnomon is amazing, Thank you for a great tutorial.

I was wondering whether you have any guidance or recommendation for beginners. Can these design skills be self-taught or must I attend school of design?

my goal is to become a 3D modeller with great concept design skills after 2 years + getting a job. Do you have a tips on how to successfully achieve this goal?

Please release a DVD on Lighting, Shading and Texturing. It would be very helpful for lots of students.

I'm from Australia, doing computer science but love art/graphics.
Thank and Take care Scott
  04 April 2005
from: Fede,
I have made an attempt at bringing your 2D drawings to 3D and would love to hear your comments and/or suggestions regarding the modeling as well as texturing. Perhaps you saw the cruiser in different colours, purpose ect.

Thanks, you are right it is a sort of rescue/scout vehicle. The model looks like it is coming along, some of the window shapes and main body surfaces look like they could use some love. The skis and the track look nice. Send me some jpegs if you take it further.
  04 April 2005
from: plaf,
To what extent do studios go on portfolio when hiring people? Is it all about the experience, or does the education behind it factor massively as well? I'm assuming it's all about the talent, but given a choice between person A and B - both talented - the choice would most likely be the person with a traditional background?

Talent, talent, talent. Really your past formal education or lack thereof means very little to getting a decent job. Your experience is important, but being pleasant and have great skills is the key combination to sucess.
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