“If all my work was dragons and robots,
how am I going to pitch that to a fashion company?”
~ Dennis Brown
Artist Dennis Brown doesn’t worry so much about his own style. Instead, he prefers to let the mediums he works with determine how his paintings and drawings will look.
Because of this, he’s not tied down to working in any one field, and has produced work for the fashion, games, editorial, and advertising industries.
So what’s his advice for artists who aren’t sure how to find their voice, or don’t know what to include in their portfolio?
The answers are all in this week’s podcast interview…
Dennis Brown: His Creative Journey
Dennis was lucky enough to get his first freelance gig while still at Ringling College of Art & Design in the early 2000s.
His tutor, Shawn Barber, was pro-active in helping his students pursue work and, after taking a look at Dennis’ work, suggested he send his portfolio to some magazines.
It paid off. Eventually, Dennis managed to land his first paid gig at hip hop magazine, XXL, aged just 21.
“I was really shocked by this early success,” says Dennis. “I didn’t know this was actually possible!”
And, since those early days, Dennis has gone on to produce work for a wide range of clients.
Konni & Lace – mixed media on paper by Dennis Brown
Dennis Brown on the Creative Process
For Dennis, the creative process when working with magazines and newspapers has a similar formula.
He explains: “Usually, I’ll get a brief from the art director on what the article’s about. Then, I’ll produce a range of thumbnails which I’ll submit to them so they can choose.
“From here, it’s a step-by-step process, where I’ll produce a cleaned-up version of the final sketch before working this up into a full-on finished piece.
“Then, usually about a month after submitting my final version, I’ll see it published in the magazine.”
Dennis Brown on how to put Together Your Portfolio
Many artists worry about finding their own style, and often try and stick to one subject matter or medium to show consistency.
But, for Dennis, having a range of different styles is more about your journey as an artist and trying to find yourself.
He says: “Looking back, I was making art in a range of different styles. It was a mixed bag. However, because my portfolio contained a decent number of strong pieces, anyone looking at it was able to see my potential.
“I think it’s more important to find the style that represents you as an artist – even if you’re painting a wide range of subjects in a range of different styles.
“My work is still a broad spectrum of styles – from game art and production-based stuff, through to illustration and fine art using traditional media. It’s great to dabble in different genres.”
And it’s this open-minded approach to his work that has helped Dennis find work with a wide range of clients. By not pigeon-holing himself as an artist, he’s been able to approach different clients with confidence.
He laughs: “If all my work was dragons and robots, how am I going to pitch that to a fashion company?”
Dennis Brown on his own art
If you take a look at Dennis’ Tumblr or Instagram feeds, you’ll see how he likes to make art using lots of different styles and mediums.
So how does he do this?
He explains: “I’ve always been fascinated by how each medium works. Each medium has its different strengths, and I’m really drawn to that. I’m fascinated by different ways of making an image, and figuring out different ways to represent it.
“Don’t worry too much about finding your ‘style’. Every artist already has a style, and for the most part, it’s more about actually putting in the work. Do this, and your style will develop on its own.”
Listen to this week’s show and learn:
- Why experimenting with different mediums can make you a better artist
- How to put together a varied but consistent art portfolio
- Why putting in the work is more important than worrying about finding your style
People on this Episode:
Links From This Episode:
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