Welcome to our Thirteenth edition of Artist Spotlight. This week’s Artist is Joshua Werner!
Q: Who are you and what do you do?
A: I’m Joshua Werner, I run As Fall Leaves Illustration, a graphic design and illustration media company in Michigan. I do all sorts of stuff: concept art and storyboards for movies, sketch cards for premium trading card sets, t-shirt designs, book covers, CD and DVD covers, business logos, just about anything that requires creativity and artwork. Oh, and I write a bit too. I’ve self-published two of my own books so far and I’ve also written and illustrated some of my own comic book work. I’ve also done a little acting, but I won’t get into all that here, haha.
Q: How do you work? (Tools of the trade, etc)
A: I’m capable of a pretty big variety of mediums, and occasionally I have to do some stuff that’s more “out there”, such as sculpture or a mural. But usually I work in acrylic, marker, ink, colored pencil, and watercolor. If I’m doing digital work for logos or t-shirts or whatnot then it’s a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
Q: How did you get your start?
A: As a kid I couldn’t stop drawing and creating characters and stories. I used to draw my own comic books in my bedroom, then use the copy machine at my local gas station to make copies of them and I’d sell them to my classmates. When I became a teenager people knew I could draw and I started getting a flood of requests. Things like “I’ve got a sweet idea for a tattoo, can you draw it for me?” and “I’m in a band and we need some cool t-shirts” and sometimes “I want a gigantic painting to hang over my fireplace, here’s $20.” That sort of thing. I decided to go to art school so I could hone these skills and really handle the odd requests and during my freshmen year things had already started to take off. Now I’m 27, have a wife and son, I can do everything and anything people want, and people actually pay me more for it then when I was in high school. Sometimes.
Q: What styles of art do you most identify with (please feel free to include other artist’s names, or other inspirations, etc.)
A: Good question! It depends on my mood a bit. But I really love the people who were illustrators and eventually turned to gallery work, yet they still get tagged with term “low-brow art”. Examples would be Alex Pardee and Camille Rose Garcia. I also love stylized comic book illustrators like Joe Madureira and Humberto Ramos. For me, it’s not about who can technically paint or draw the best, or who can make a piece of artwork look like a photograph, it’s more about having a cool and refreshing style, and having fun with the medium you’re working in.
Q: What kind of artwork do you most enjoy doing/creating?
A: I really am an illustrator at heart. I love artwork that’s attached to a story. I’m having a lot of fun doing sketch cards and base card artwork for the trading card sets right now. I’ve done quite a few sets this past year and I have more lined up into next year already. I just recently finished my sketch card work on Deadworld from IDW comics, Sherlock Holmes from Cult-Stuff’s upcoming set, Hasbro’s Transformers, and a couple Fantasy Art sets. I’d love to take that work to a little larger scale and do more comic book covers. I especially love horror-related work. I’m having a lot of fun doing concept art and storyboards for the upcoming horror movie Morrow Road, and I also recently finished a Dracula trading card set and Night of the Living Dead trading card set. Anything comic book/novel related or movie related is always a lot of fun to work on. It’s great bringing characters to life. Here’s an announcement for you (the first public announcement about this I might add): I’ve just been hired to pencil and ink a new comic book series, I’ll also be doing the cover art. I really click with the writer and I think together this project will turn some heads. So once again, art with a story, you just can’t beat it. Be on the lookout for more news about this soon!
Q: What projects have you worked on in the past?
A: Aside from the things I’ve already mentioned I’ve done some DVD covers, including the painted special edition cover for the multiple-award-winning movie Schism. I worked on sketch cards for Dynamite comics, including Vampirella and Warlord of Mars, and hopefully some other projects with them in the near future as well. I worked on the Avengers 50th Anniversary trading card set, the RMS Titanic Commemorative trading card set, the Pulp Detectives trading card set, the Cryptids trading card set, and other sets for Cult Stuff, Unstoppable Cards, Breygent Marketing, and the Viceroy Card Company. I’ve done lots of flyers, posters, t-shirts, etc for a lot of punk and metal bands. A lot. And one funk band, haha: I designed an official Rick James t-shirt that’s currently available for sale. Lots of work for fashion brands like Malvagio, Pelle Pelle, Requiem, Marc Buchanan, Be Right Over Clothing, and others. Did some little comics for High Noon presents publications. I’ve been in a few gallery shows, including my own gallery show called the Creature Feature Show where we had a bunch of my horror artwork on display along with 2 other contributing artists’ work and we also showed old horror films in a mini-theater setup simultaneously. I’m sure I’m leaving out a ton of stuff. I recommend going to my blog at asfallleaves.blogspot.com and digging through all the old posts. You’ll find all sorts of fun stuff in there.
Q: What is your Dream Project? (if you have one)
A: My dream project would involve getting financially secure enough to cut back on some of the freelance so I could focus on my own project: that would be to finish writing my 3rd novel, creating a graphic novel from it and also a screen play from it, and then letting it evolve and grow into whatever medium the people want to see it in the most. Basically, Optimus Prime, Sherlock Holmes, and John Carter are all really fun characters to get to know and illustrate and I enjoy working on some of history’s most fantastic creations, but it would be even more fun for me to work on my own creations. I’ve got all sorts of craziness running through my brain that needs to get out there, desperately.
Q: What do you like about the art world?
A: Those who help build a sense of community. It’s great when artists help each other, when bridges are built from one section of the art world to another. It’s like the art world is broken up into little cities, and I don’t necessarily want to reside in only one place, I like to travel, and in the art world that can be difficult as though each artist is labeled where they belong, but there are other artists out there who like to lend a helping hand, share knowledge and techniques, etc. When doors open across art genres there’s room for learning, growth, and collaboration. That’s a great feeling, and useful to all artists.
Q: What do you DISlike about the art world?
A: Getting undervalued. Sadly, it can be very difficult to live on an artist’s wage. I tend to work a lot more hours than the average person, often times it’s like working 2 full time jobs. I love art and my chosen field, but I love spending time with my family even more.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve been given professionally?
A: Make sure you’re getting paid and paid properly. Do the math, get paid for your time. If you can make more money working at Taco Bell, then that job might not be properly appreciating your abilities, and remember those are abilities and skills that most don’t have and abilities that are sought after by companies. Your work is profitable, so make sure you’re accommodated accordingly.
Q: What is your goal, professionally?
A: I’d like to become a more recognizable name, not so “behind the scenes”. In doing so, I’d like to think that would grant me more financial security for my family.
Q: What wouldn’t you do without, and why? (could be art supplies, or anything else you wish)
Seriously. I’m no addict or anything, but deadlines are deadlines, sometimes sleep just has to wait. And I can’t rock out awesome work and flow creative juices from brain like a waterfall if I’m half asleep.
Q: Are you open for commissions, and if so, how can people contact you?
A: I am uuuusuuuallly open for commissions. I’d generally rather pull a few all-nighters than turn down work. But lately it’s been hot and heavy, and with this new comic book series I’m penciling and inking my commission slots will be lessened. But please don’t hesitate to ask. Ever. Repeatedly even.
Q: What super power(s) would you like to have, and why? (could be more than one)
A: I’d choose the Marvel mutant Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man. He can create duplicates of himself, and lots of them.
I’d get soooo much work done. 🙂
If you would like to learn more about Joshua, see more of his work, commission him – or anything else in between… his contact info is listed below! 🙂 Thanks for reading, and Thanks Joshua, for being our Thirteenth Artist Spotlight! 🙂
Joshua’s Contact Info: