Hello Rob, please tell us a bit about you. Who is MrEyeCandy66?
Hello, my name is Rob and I am a self-taught artist from the Chicago area. My art can be categorized as "realistic" but I really see it a study of light, reflection, texture, and shadow, with pencil. I work directly off of reference photos usually, but at times will work from imagination. My favorite things to draw are portraits, although animals are a close second.
How did your Drawing journey begin?
When I was young I would draw cartoons from the newspaper comics. I graduated to drawing my own comic books for my own amusement and I would spend many hours in the Art section of the library paging through artworks by Rembrandt, Frank Frazetta, Norman Rockwell, and Boris Vallejo. It fascinated me how simple paint on a canvas could come to life and just jump off the page. In High School My Art teacher was very talented, and very influential. She worked with me one on one often, and taught me how to see things in a different way. She taught me to be aware of this "second sight" in everyday life, and how to see for example the effect of light and reflection on different surfaces. Take a glass of water with ice, set it next to a lit candle. The reflection of the candlelight off the ice, the way the flame is distorted through the water, the way the light from the candle dances through the glass casting the shadow on the surface. These are all things I have been taught to notice in everyday life and help immensely when drawing.
How did you discover deviantART and what keeps you here?
I discovered deviantART by accident a little over a year ago. I was just amazed at how many other artists were out there doing the same thing I was doing. I was also astounded at the vast variety of mediums out there whether it be digital art, or plastic sculpture, photo manipulation or the many mixed mediums. DeviantART is a great site to be inspired, and more importantly inspire others to express themselves, use art as a form of relaxation, or simply to just pass the time. Of course it's a great place to meet people and share stories also.
Is there any other art form that you would have liked to explore if you had the time and resources?
I am very interested in sculpture and oil painting. I currently lack the space for painting and I wouldn't even attempt sculpture unless I had the workspace for such an adventure…someday
Do you have any insecurities regarding your art?
Oh sure, don't we all? Art is a never ending learning experience, isn't it? I have been trying to overcome skin tones with colored pencils, and with graphite I always struggle with the details of drawing "jewelry" that the subjects are wearing.
Did your art ever helped you in dealing with your life problems?
Well I have always been a shy person, and art tended to help me with confidence issues growing up. Now it’s a great way to meet people and spread the word about the artist within everyone, and the fact that you really don't need professional training to have fun with it. I often still go to the library and work on a drawing in a conspicuous spot just to have some input from random strangers. More often I will go to a public place and set up the easel and start to draw. Art is an international language and people always have something nice to say when they walk up and see you at work.
What keeps you motivated to create art?
I use art to relax and at the same time, as a creative outlet. I am the type who can come home from work at 5pm and sit and draw into the late hours. I also like finding new subjects that might be a little more of a challenge than the last work.
What are your tools of the trade and why have you chosen those particular items?
My particular tools right now are a nice array of pencils usually ranging from 6H down to 2H then from 2B up to 7B. The H pencils have a very hard lead and are good for drawing light lines and light shading. The higher the number of H pencil the lighter your lines will be. The B pencils have a soft lead and good for dark areas. The higher the number of B pencil the darker your lines. The paper I use almost 90% of the time is called "bristol board" it comes in a rough surface called "vellum" or a smooth surface which I prefer. The pencil flows very free on the smooth paper and it’s not as prone to smudging. Kneaded erasers are really helpful; they are malleable and can be shaped for large or small areas. I also like a pencil shaped eraser because it can be sharpened for fine detail. For blending my pencil lines to make a smooth texture like skin I use just an everyday tissue and lightly rub over the pencil to make an even transition from dark to light or light to dark. Last but not least a good pencil sharpener. That’s about all you need. It’s a relatively cheap hobby and can give you hours of enjoyment.
When you look at where you are now (in terms of your art), what do you feel has been your greatest achievement?
I love to draw hair, and it was just this year I made a huge breakthrough on my graphite hair technique to where I am satisfied and others seem to like my style.
What are your thoughts in reference to self-taught vs. academy trained artist?
Well, as I said earlier I had the foundation laid in High School and just took it from there. I think as far as schooling goes it can be valuable in learning the basics. I personally don't think an artist’s "style" or "technique" can be taught in a classroom or from a book. There is no substitute for sitting down and practicing as much as possible. An artist style will develop over these sessions and make them unique. I was told once by a friend who picked a particular piece of my art out of 75 others. He said "I could tell instantly which one was yours." What a great compliment for and artist.
As an artist, what have been the biggest challenges you encountered, and how did you deal with them?
The transition to colored pencil is still a huge challenge for me. I have been drawing in black, white, & grey tones for 35 years now, and to suddenly have to look at, and interpret colors is a whole different way of thinking.
What do you consider your "strength" in what you do and why?
I think my strengths are drawing eyes. It takes practice to be able to convey eyes with feeling and emotion. They are the first thing put down on paper during a portrait and they must be to my liking before moving on with the rest. The eyes also are a deciding factor when picking out a reference photo to draw.
Out of all your beautiful works, which one is closest to your heart and why?
I would have to say my favorite work I have done so far is my "Ahh Sophia" a drawing of Sophia Loren. I like it because her hair turned out exactly how I wanted it to and the fact that I was able to capture her skin texture.
What is the one thing you always wanted to do, but never got a chance to?
I love photography but suburban Chicago lacks interest. I always wanted to travel the world and take photos to build a huge reference library.
Your quote is …
"Draw things you like and it will keep it interesting"
Any last words of wisdom you would like to share with us? Perhaps a good piece of advice to a newbie?
Practice makes all the difference. Art in general is a learning experience and you will never master it. Make each new work a challenge; don't be afraid to push yourself. Strive to do your personal best. Your "style" will develop over time but it won't come easy. Above ALL have fun!!
Thank you very much for allowing me to interview you, Rob!
Thank you all for reading! Please feel free to visit MrEyeCandy66's gallery mreyecandy66.deviantart.com/ga…