PK 054: Artist Jesse Aclin on How to Have Fun With Your Style

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Artist Jesse Aclin loves experimenting with sketching and coloring to develop his own, unique style

“A lot of people see an artist’s style and want to copy it. But what’s gone into that style is years and years of knowledge and experimentation.”

When Jesse Aclin isn’t working as a development artist at Paramount Pictures, he’s doing something many of us wish we could get better at. And that’s to develop his own, unique style while still having fun with his art.

So how does he find time to do this? And, how does he stay motivated?

The answers are all in this week’s podcast interview…

Jesse Aclin: His Creative Career so Far

In his current role, LA-based Jesse is a development artist at Paramount Pictures. He’s responsible for taking an initial idea, and then developing this into a more finished piece. You can see some of his work in Kubo and the two Strings, Book of Life, and Turkeys.

He’s also taught online courses at AnimSchool and will soon be teaching character design at CalArts.

But it may surprise you to learn Jesse Aclin didn’t actually go to art school!

He says: “I graduated with a degree in toy design from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, but by the second year, I knew I wasn’t really digging it.

“So I started looking for classes in character design, but there weren’t many opportunities nearby. Then, I discovered a character design class run by a guy called Rick Lacy in Brooklyn.

“I really enjoyed it, and wanted to do it so badly, I just took everything in!”

Jesse on Developing Your Own Art Style

If you take a look at Jesse’s portfolio site, you’ll see a whole range of sketches that look like he’s really having fun with his art. Although he works digitally in Photoshop, each sketch has got a loose, hand-drawn quality. So how did he develop his unique style?

He says: “The keyphrase here is to have fun with your designs! With your own work, you can take chances you can’t always take in your day job in the studio.

“A lot of my sketches are done really quickly in about 20 minutes, so instead of surfing the net during my lunch break, I’ll try and get some ideas out of my head!

“I also like to experiment a lot with color and explore each one differently. It doesn’t really matter which Photoshop brushes you use, but Kyle T Webster has some really good watercolor, mixed media, and inking brushes.

“My advice to any artist who wants to develop their own style is to just get in there and get your hands dirty. I’m learning something new every day!

“A lot of people see a certain artist’s style, and they want to take that style. But what’s behind that style is years and years of tinkering and experimenting.

“It may look simple, but there’s years of knowledge underneath it. To develop your own style, you should learn the fundamentals. A really great book to study is Drawn to Life by Walt Stanchfield.”

Jesse Aclin’s Advice for Artists

Jesse says: “I can’t remember who said it, but I read this quote that really made sense. It went like this:

“If you want something badly enough, you’re doomed to succeed.”

“In other words, if you really work at something, you’ll get there in the end. It may not always be easy, but you’ll get there.”

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • How to develop your own, unique art style
  • How to stay motivated and keep developing as an artist
  • Why your hard work will always pay off in the end

People on this Episode:

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Mitch

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5 Responses to “PK 054: Artist Jesse Aclin on How to Have Fun With Your Style”

  1. james c

    Awesome interview! Loved the humility of a very talented dude. Jesse’s work makes me want to draw! Inspired.

    Reply
    • mm

      Chris at PencilKings

      Hey James and thanks for getting in touch with us! Glad to hear you enjoyed Jesse’s podcast – it’s awesome to hear that another established artist like you is getting inspiration from others 🙂

      Reply
  2. Stephanie

    I found this podcast through a recommendation for Jesse’s blog on Tumblr and he had linked to this interview. I’m so glad I did! It’s a really great podcast for an aspiring artist like me. Being in my first year of art school, all tips and advice as so welcome right now. Thank-you!

    Reply
    • mm

      Chris at PencilKings

      Hey Stephanie, great to hear from you! I’m really glad you enjoyed this podcast, and I hope you find all our other resources useful 🙂 Congrats on getting into art school – as a former fine art graduate, I’ll be more than happy to help you in any way I can. In the meantime, you might enjoy this blog post I wrote recently – The Ultimate Guide to Art School: https://www.pencilkings.com/going-to-art-school/ 🙂

      Reply
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