Hi Robert, how are you?
Hello sir, I’m doing great.
Can you introduce yourself?
Well my name is Robert Schilling. I’m a 22 year old illustrator currently living in South Florida. I’m finishing off my last year at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, majoring in Illustration, and hope to start a career in the field of film and video game art.
Sounds great. Do you think your studies will be useful to achieve your dream?
Yes, definitely. Art college has helped me become an all around better artist, both technically and professionally. It really helped me develop my own style and I’m currently taking classes dedicated to marketing myself as an illustrator and developing a stronger portfolio. It’s just been a great learning experience and I look forward to applying those skills in a real work environment.
I’ve just interviewed many creatives (musicians, illustrators, manager) involved somehow with video-games and, well, first time I talked with one of those I was really curious. What is the reason many artists work in this field, according to you?
Well, I think it’s a variety of reasons. For me personally I’ve always had a fascination with video games and films. I thinks it’s because they are the greatest blend of mediums. You have such a wide variety of artists (musicians, illustrators, actors) working together to create one piece of art, it’s the ultimate collaboration. Both industries are so rich in creativity and innovation (and rich financially) that it’s hard not to want to be a part of it. To be someone that had a part in creating something like that would be amazing.
Do you think video-games are art pieces?
Yes, definitely. I know there’s a lot of money and company influence that goes into making a video game, but it still takes a creative team to put it all together. You have people dedicated to their craft working hard to put out something people will enjoy. I think it’s hard to argue that it isn’t art. I mean look at many of the old painting masters like Michelangelo and DaVinci. They were artists that were commissioned by churches to create these beautiful paintings, but does that make the paintings any less breathtaking if someone else supplied the money and vision? I don’t think so.
Can I ask you what your parents and friend think about your dream?
Yes, actually my parents have always been really supportive of my interest in a career in illustration. My dad is a self-employed musician, so he totally supports the idea of me doing what I love, but at the same time pushes me to work harder if I’m going to succeed at it. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends that support me in what I’m trying to do, I don’t think I’ve ever been discouraged from pursuing this.
When did you get passionate about drawing?
Um, well I was pretty passionate about drawing since an early age (5), but I think it was during my time in high school that I truly realized I wanted to do it for a living.
Can you tell us anything about your creative process?
I sure can. Well, with any piece I work on I always start with sketches of the composition and various designs of the character. Sometimes, If I think a sketch is strong enough, I’ll go ahead and scan it in and start to digitally paint over it in Adobe Photoshop. I often use the sketch as a guideline for my digital painting. I often do a gray scale painting first and add in the colors later when I’m happy with the lighting and details. That’s pretty much a general idea of my process.
What are your main visual influences?
I have a couple of main visual influences. I went through a period of time where my art looked very similar to Dragonball Z characters because I was obsessed with the show. After I started to practice with realism a little more, my style turned into a weird blend of anime and realistic drawing. It wasn’t until I got to The Art Institute that I really started to experiment with my style, using different techniques and visuals I learned from fellow students and professors. That’s where I picked up a more grungy, whimsical look. I most recently have been highly influenced by the works of David Rapoza and Dan LuVisi, I’m just crazy about their work.
What is your favorite piece of work? Why?
Favorite piece of work of mine? I’d probably have to say my Frankenstein piece
It’s a somewhat older piece of mine, but I think it accurately sums up my style of art.
What are you working on these days?
Well, right now I’m in my last couple quarters of school before I graduate so I’m focusing mainly on building my portfolio with more character concepts. I’ve been trying to get back into my Mortal Kombat series of redesigns, so I may work on that in between school work. I’m also interning with this toy company “Frombie” next quarter, so I’ll be designing concepts for toys and illustrations of the characters. So in other words very busy, haha.
Ahah, indeed! Can you tell us anything more about your work at Frombie?
Well, I haven’t actually started yet, that will be next quarter. But it’s a new toy company that’s growing quickly and I have some good friends that work there, so it should be a great experience. Like I said before, I’ll probably be doing toy concepts and illustrations of the characters.
Sounds good. Thank you Robert, the interview is over. Is there anything else would you like to say to our readers?
Thank you! It was a fun interview and I appreciate the exposure. :)