Brice Chaplet aka Mr.Xerty from France shares his journey and insights as to what it takes to start out and establish oneself as a freelance digital artist and illustrator and create some surreal artwork.
CG. What according to you are the secrets to becoming a successful self-learning freelance digital artist?
Brice. No secret, it is all about ‘work, work, work!’ You have to practice yourself all the time and concentrate on what you do. In another way, you have to take some risks and explore new ways of creation. But you mainly have to build your own style day after day and stick to it!
CG. Where do you feel the digital artist is heading in 2018 as a profession?
Brice. It’s been 10 years since I’m doing this and, to be honest, I at times find it more difficult today than when I started to work and get new clients. We (illustrators, creatives) are probably a bit too many in the market and freelancers don’t get the recognition and exposure they deserve.
This may be because people believe that it’s easy to produce artworks since it’s computer-assisted. Also, I think digital related jobs are not so well-highlighted. 10 years ago, Graphic-designer or Illustrator was the thing to do to have a cool job (In my point of view, as a French digital-artist).
CG. What kind of a digital impact do you feel digital design and platforms will have on the next generation and its society?
Brice. We can already be said it’s everywhere around us and it will continue in this way. Youth are born with it and they will see this as a totally assimilated thing and continue to develop it more and more. But we have to keep in my mind that it is important to inject poetry and bring our souls and a bit of ourselves into the pieces we create, else it will lead us to a cold and boring world.
CG. What is the main idea behind your works and how do you conceptualise the composition?
Brice. It depends on the subject and the style I want to show. My style is very surrealistic and dreamy, with a worldwide cultural touch. I try to tell the story and illustrate my thoughts. I start writing some keywords on paper and a little story like “A little girl flying over flowers on a bird”.
Then I’ll draw a basic sketch, after which I’ll begin to work on the composition – first with Photoshop, using pictures I find on the stock website like Adobe-Stock or Deviant-Art or pictures I’ve already taken myself. It could also start from a cool picture (like a portrait) that inspires me and then I let my imagination flow – it’s more unconscious in this case and that’s how I can experiment with some new techniques.
CG. Also, what are the main software and tools you specifically use and for what purpose?
Brice. I use a Wacom pen tablet (to draw light and shadows for example) in Photoshop (since the 10th!), which is the main software I’m using to create my artworks. I also use a bit of Maxon Cinema 4D and Adobe Illustrator to create shapes and abstract elements and writings.
CG. How do you suggest other young designers can attain efficiency in their skills and ideas?
Brice. Be open; collaborate; read a lot of books and watch tutorials! Get feedback from friends and also from strangers who don’t know you personally and will be more honest in their critics! This is one way to grow as a person and even as a designer – it all then very naturally reflects and shows in your work.