I have only been drawing for a few years now. My journey started because I wanted to make video game art. I taught myself how to code games. Even though the games worked well, they were not fun to play. A big part of this was due to the fact that the artwork was lacking. I decided it was time to take a break from code to teach myself to draw better.
Over the past few years I have been seeking all of the art help I can get my hands on. I have taken classes, watched hours and hours of YouTube, and called in some favors with friends. Today I wanted to tell you about one of these friends.
I first met Chris online through my work with For the Love of Indie. After getting to know each other a bit we realized we have a lot of the same friends and interests. He has been enormously helpful in my journey to be a better artist. I am very excited to share some of his thoughts and ideas with you.
Credit: Chris Gregory T.
An Interview With Chris Gregory T.
AI: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your brand.
CGT: Well, my name is Chris Gregory T. I’ve been working on my own (still unreleased) comic book series on and off for way too long now, I draw a monthly comic strip for a comedian named Levi Manis and I usually have a few projects I’m also working on here and there. I mainly do black and white American style comic book art. I work mostly in pen and ink and within the horror genre.
AI: What do you love the most about comic book art?
CGT: It’s fun! I love the dynamic poses, the action, cool outfits and weapons. I sort of have a 14 year old mentality when it comes to art. I remember sitting in high school art class and looking at a surrealist painting,or whatever, and having to discuss the themes of the painting. I’d just be sitting there like “What the hell is this? I just want to draw Wolverine slashing people!” That’s pretty much how I still look at things.
AI: I can totally relate to that feeling. I feel that comic book art is not always given the academic appreciation it should. What are some of your influences in the comic book world?
CGT: If I had to pick one favorite artist it’d be Bernie Wrightson. I’m really into the old school horror guys like Graham Ingels and Jack Davis. But I’m also really influenced by the artists I grew up on like Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee.
AI: Nothing can beat a good Jim Lee live stream. How do you balance your artwork with life, work and family?
CGT: It’s not easy! I have 3 kids, a wife, work full time and go to school part time. For me the biggest thing is priorities. There is always more that needs to be done and never enough hours in the day. So you’ve got to pick what is most important and get it done.
AI: I agree. Prioritization is one of the most difficult and rewarding aspects of time management. Do you have a routine/schedule when it comes to making art? How do you stay productive?
CGT: I use an old school paper planner. Each day I make a to do list and write down each task from the most important to get done that day to the least important. Then I go down the list and block out specific times for each task in the planner. Then it’s just a matter of following the schedule and making any necessary adjustments throughout the day. Because of course my day hardly ever goes as planned. I do my best to block in some time for art everyday and as long as I keep at it things get done eventually.
AI: I recently read about how using paper planners can be incredibly useful in the world of distracting electronic gadgets. It has been making me want to get off my phone and go back to using paper for my writing. What is currently your biggest challenge when it comes to making art?
CGT: Just making the time. I have so many ideas and projects I’d like to work on. Plus, I’m always practicing and trying to improve my art.There are dozens of art books I’d like to read and I have a YouTube playlist with hundreds of art tutorials waiting to be watched. There is no way I’ll ever squeeze it all in.
AI: Balancing production with practice and learning can certainly be hard to balance. What would be the one thing you would go back and tell yourself as you began learning how to draw?
CGT: Just keep drawing! I loved to draw as a kid and throughout high school. But for most of my 20’s I hardly drew at all. I started getting back into it again around age 30. Who knows how good I would be if I had never stopped. On top of that the more I get into art the more I’ve realized that just the pure amount of hours you put in is directly tied to how skilled you are. Practice, practice, practice, that’s what it’s all about.
AI: It sounds like you are a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule. I agree that time and patience is a gigantic part of becoming more skilled. Do you have a specific creative process? How do you come up with the ideas for comics/drawings?
CGT: I’m always making mental notes of things that spark my interest or inspire me. It could be something I see in a movie or something someone says that gives me an idea. Sometimes it’s just an image that I see in my head when I listen to a song. So I’ll make a mental note and just sort of kick the idea around in the back of my head for a while. Sometimes I do this for years. When I’m driving or taking a walk or something I’ll be thinking about different ideas and what I like and what would make it better. Then when the time is right I use the idea.
AI: What advice do you have for those looking to get into drawing and making comics?
CGT: Just start doing it! All you really need is a pencil and paper and there are so many cheap or free resources for learning (like YouTube) that if it’s something you want to do there is really no excuse not to. One thing you need to realize is that you’re going to be really bad for a really long time. My art certainly doesn’t look anything like I really want it to yet. But that’s okay. For me a big part of the joy I get from art is the learning process and watching myself grow as an artist.
AI: Becoming comfortable with being bad is one of the hardest but most enlightening parts of learning a craft. Many people see failure as a weakness, but having the confidence to let people see your current skill level can be very powerful.
I see you are into metal. What are some of your favorite bands?
CGT: I’ve been obsessed with metal since I was pretty young. I spent most of my late teens and twenties doing vocals for different death metal and hardcore bands. Some of my favorites bands are Mastodon, High On Fire, Pig Destroyer, Meshuggah, Converge, and the Black Dahlia Murder just to name a few.Also like any good metal head I’m obsessed with SLAYER!
AI: That is a pretty great list. I like a lot of those bands myself.
Do you have any big goals or projects coming in the future that you would like to discuss?
CGT: Like I said I’m working on a comic book series. It’d be nice to have something to show people in 2019 but to be honest it’s not a priority of mine. My main goal at the moment is to keep pushing myself and improve my artwork as much as I can.
AI: Make sure you share your progress with us! Thank you for your time and for sharing your perspective with our readers!
CGT: Anytime! Thanks for wanting to hear what I had to say.
Credit: Chris Gregory T.
Where to Find Chris Gregory T.
Chris Gregory T. can be found on Instagram @chrisgregoryt
Chris also runs a Facebook group called Drawing Blood. This group serves as a network of artists of any skill level. I have been a member of this group since its inception and have learned an absurd amount about art in a short period of time. Feel free to join us!
Are you an independent creator and want to be featured on Effective Nerd? Feel free to hit me up on social media (@effectivenerd) or email me at [email protected] .
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