Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Skull T-Shirt Design for MMA Apparel Brand

I was hired to illustrate this T-Shirt design for one of my favorite clients,  Darkhorse Fightwear, for their new line of MMA apparel.  The design was set up for silk-screen using three colors, and illustrated in Manga Studio and Adobe Photoshop.  The design was inspired by a previous illustration I created a few years ago – it was fun to revisit it and test out some new skills while illustrating it.  The design features a skull in the center with wings and chains surrounding.
Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Hip-Hop Zombie Gangsta Digital Painting

Digital painting of a zombie I was commissioned to create for the author Danny King as an avatar and branding identity for his sports blog.  I really enjoy making things look creepy and funny at the same time – I tried to pump a lot of personality into the character.  I seem to really like drawing people and zombies smoking cigars – not sure why that is.  This zombie painting was created in Manga Studio 5, with color adjustments and effects handled in Adobe Photoshop.Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website Background Illustration for e-commerce site

I was hired to illustrate and design a series of characters and backgrounds for an e-commerce website.  The characters were all cartoon “blockheads” that interact with the hand-drawn user-interface we designed for the website.  It was a fun challenge to come up with interesting layouts that didn’t compete with the functionality of the website.  This website is still under development – I’ll post the link soon.
Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Barrel Of Evil Monkeys T-Shirt Illustration

I was hired to create a T-Shirt design for a new apparel brand called Saltopus.  I was given only the direction that it had to include angry monkeys.  I illustrated a few concept sketches, and the client chose this concept, of evil monkeys emerging from an innocent looking Barrel of Monkeys toy.  The shirt was designed to be just one-color, which always poses a challenge.  Since I have no highlight or shading color, I really have to pack a lot of detail into the lineart and make sure it reads well from a distance.  We are both very happy with how this turned out.
Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

Mud Run Rock Drill Sergeant Mascot Design

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

I created this mascot design of a drill sergeant made of rock and mud for Hardcore Muddrun, one of the leading obstacle training courses.  The client needed a mascot for their website, apparel, and other branding.  We are also working on several different poses, along with an animation in the future.  This is probably as close as I will ever get to an actual mud run!

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football Tailgate Cartoon Characters

I created this detailed cartoon scene of football fans, cheerleaders, and players in a stadium parking lot for Coolbone It, a company that creates really cool looking customized coolers.  The coolers wrap full-color graphics around the entire surface of the cooler, making it a piece of artwork.  This design was an incredible challenge, because there were so many characters to draw, and I had to create the design in a way that could be repeated seamlessly on each end, so it could wrap around he cooler.  I’m very pleased with how this turned out.

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Drone STEM science logo illustration design

STEM Drone Engagement Logo

This program uses the cool technology of piloting a Drone as a teaching activity for STEM students.  The company asked me to design and illustrate their logo, with a very clean and technical look, focusing on the image of the Drone.  Sometimes it’s nice to venture outside of my usual style, and this was no exception.  The logo was created as a vector graphic, and supplied in color, grayscale, and black and white versions for different applications.

Drone STEM science logo illustration design

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My finished dumb and dumber zombie parody illustration on a t-shirt available from designbyhumans.com.What do you think?Www.designbyhumans.com/shop/men/dead-and-deader-zombie-tribute-to-dumb-and-dumber/91276

My finished dumb and dumber zombie parody illustration on a t-shirt available from designbyhumans.com.What do you think?Www.designbyhumans.com/shop/men/dead-and-deader-zombie-tribute-to-dumb-and-dumber/91276 Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
My finished dumb and dumber zombie parody illustration on a t-shirt available from designbyhumans.com.What do you think?Www.designbyhumans.com/shop/men/dead-and-deader-zombie-tribute-to-dumb-and-dumber/91276

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Dumb and Dumber Zombie Tribute Illustration Process

T-Shirt illustration I created as a tribute to one of the greatest films ever made: Dumb and Dumber. The piece is called “Dead and Deader,” and features Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carey) as decaying zombie corpses.

The t-shirt illustration was set up for silk-screening using 6 colors. It was a challenge to find the right color scheme for all these items (the iconic tuxedos, the worm farm, the Shaggin Wagon) with such limited color. But I’m very happy with how it turned out. I also recorded a speed-painting tutorial for my YouTube channel that I’m excited to share.

Check out this speed-painting tutorial video I created showing the entire illustration process:

Dumb and Dumber Zombie Tribute Illustration

Pencil drawing created in Manga Studio 5, using a variation of a pencil brush I purchased from the talented Jonathon Rector.  Ray Frenden also makes fantastic pencil brushes that you should check out.

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Inks

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Ink Work-in-progress

The design is now all inked and ready to color.  Coloring is one of the least time-consuming parts of the process for me, but it adds the most to the illustration.

Dumb and dumber tribute illustrationParody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Detail shot of a pretty bird…pretty bird.

Here are a few detail shots of the illustration.  I tried to cram as many Dumb and Dumber references that I could into the illustration.  Here’s Petey, not looking so good.

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Detail image

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Detail image

I really enjoyed drawing the Shaggin Wagon – I hope they bring it back in the sequel.

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

T-Shirt Mockup

And here is the final illustration!  I’m very please with how it turned out.  I created two versions:  a full-color version, and a silk-screen version.  The differences are subtle, but in the silk-screen version, I had to come up with creative ways to create a lot of depth and color using only six colors.

 

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Full-Color Version

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

6-Color Silk-Screen Version

 

 

Dumb and dumber tribute illustrationParody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Dumb and Dumber Tribute Illustration Coming Soon…

Pretty bird…Pretty bird… Polly want a cracker?

I can’t wait to share this Dumb and Dumber tribute image I’m working on with you next week. I’m really, really happy with it.

Also, I noticed that I’m just two Likes away from 5,000 – how did that happen? Thanks so much, it really means a lot. Have a great weekend!

Dumb and dumber tribute illustration

Dumb and dumber tribute illustration

#dumbanddumber #tribute #illustrations


To check out more of my work, or to hire me:

http://www.flylanddesigns.com

Nursing classroom illustrations with cartoon comic teen characters

Brochure Illustrations for Elsevier

Classroom illustrations I created for a brochure for Elsevier, the leading provider of informational publications for medical and scientific audiences. The client needed a series of illustraitons showing how a new book they were publishing can help teachers engage their students more effectively. The illustration was set up in a way that left a lot of empty areas for text and call-outs to be placed without interfereing with the illustration. Digitally drawn and colored in Manga Studio 5.Nursing classroom illustrations with cartoon comic teen characters

Nursing classroom illustrations with cartoon comic teen characters

Nursing classroom illustrations with cartoon comic teen characters

Spiral Direct Dragon

Evil Dragon and Knight T-Shirt Design for Spiral Direct

T-Shirt illustration I created for Spiral Direct of a warrior confronting an evil dragon. I digitally painted this illustration in Adobe Photoshop and Manga Studio 5. This piece was very challenging for me, because of the complex lighting. The client and I went through several revisions, which in the end really improved on the piece. Available from Spiral Direct.Spiral Direct Dragon

Fantasy digital painting of a dragon and a knight

Fantasy digital painting of a dragon and a knight

Sports mascot illustration of an angry jaguar head

Jaguar Cartoon Sports Mascot

Custom illustration I created of an angry Jaguar head for sports mascots provided by Great Dane Graphics. Since much of my artwork is lineart driven, it’s fun to sometimes deviate from that style and explore digital painting a bit more. It can be tricky to translate my style into digital painting, but I tried my best by giving this jaguar a lot of character and attitude. This design was created in Adobe Photoshop and Manga Studio 5, and will be used for T-Shirts and uniforms. Available for licensing from Great Dane Graphics.

Angry gun-toting gangster mascot character design

Gangster Mascot Illustration

Angry gun-toting gangster mascot character design

Angry gun-toting gangster mascot character design

Angry gun-toting gangster mascot character design

Custom mascot character design I created for a vinyl wrap for a bus, and other apparel for a club in Norway, depicting an angry gun-toting gangster. The client approached me looking for a character and logo design for their club, and wanted something intimidating but also kind of fun.

I created this graphic for the “Crooks,” and provided the final graphics in different pieces and colors, so they could get as many uses from it as possible.

Zombie Apocalypse Vodka Poster

Zombie Apocalypse Vodka Poster

Client:

Virus Vodka

Description:

Zombie apocalypse poster I illustrated for the new Vodka brand, Virus Vodka to celebrate their release. The idea was to show a horde of zombies passing by the people drinking the other brands of vodka, and eating only the girl drinking Virus Vodka – because it just tastes better! I provided the client with signed prints, and animated gifs showing the process of the illustration as material to help them promote the brand and gain interest on social media.

Please drink responsibly during a zombie apocalypse.

Zombie Apocalypse Vodka Poster

Zombie Apocalypse Vodka Poster

Detail View

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Bear Volleyball Player Mascot

Bear Volleyball Player Mascot

Cartoon mascot illustration of a Bear playing playing basketball I created for Great Dane Graphics and their children’s sports line.  The graphic will be used for T-Shirts and other products for kids’ sport teams.  The client wanted these designs to be fully rendered digital paintings, without lineart, which is not the typical style I work in.  I’m happy with how they turned out.

Bear Volleyball Player Mascot

Hard Ride Saloon A Sheep No More

Skeleton Rider Patriot T-Shirt Design

Client:

Hard Ride Clothing

Description:

T-Shirt illustration I created for Hard Ride Saloon, featuring a skeleton patriot riding a dire wolf away from a burning Illuminati pyramid. Try saying that three times fast! The client’s idea was to have the patriot character changing the sheep into wolves as he rides past, waving the american flag. This design is 100% ‘Merica!
Hard Ride Saloon A Sheep No More

Hard Ride Saloon A Sheep No More

Hard Ride Saloon A Sheep No More

Illustrationd by Freelance Artist Brian Allen

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

Superhero comic book illustration of a bar fight

The Parish Bar Hero

Superhero character I designed for the Parish Bar in the UK. The character will be used on posters, menus, and advertisements to promote the image of the bar. We have a whole series of these planned in with the hero (and anti-hero, shown here) in different situations.

Superhero comic book illustration of a bar fight

Superhero comic book illustration of a bar fight

Superhero comic book illustration of a bar fight

T-Shirt design of an illustrated lion wearing a crown of amber colored wax.

Rasta Lion for Concentrated Apparel

Client:

Concentrated Apparel

Description:

T-Shirt design I created of an illustrated lion wearing a crown of amber colored wax, for the marijuana-related apparel brand Concentrated Apparel. This design was set up for silk-screening, 4-colors.

T-Shirt design of an illustrated lion wearing a crown of amber colored wax.

T-Shirt design of an illustrated lion wearing a crown of amber colored wax.

T-Shirt design of an illustrated lion wearing a crown of amber colored wax.

T-Shirt design of an illustrated lion wearing a crown of amber colored wax.

T-Shirt design of an illustrated lion wearing a crown of amber colored wax.

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

Click here to see more of my Illustrations.

Children's book illustrations I created for a story written by Kelly Dale, co-star of American Restoration on the History Channel.

Ricky And The Broken Box

Children’s book illustrations I created for a story written by Kelly Dale, co-star of American Restoration on the History Channel.

The story is about a young boy who find his mother’s old broken music box, and with the help of his brothers, sisters, and grandparents sets out to restore the music box before she returns from her business trip.

It was a pleasure working with the author on this bookChildren's book illustrations I created for a story written by Kelly Dale, co-star of American Restoration on the History Channel.

Children's book illustrations I created for a story written by Kelly Dale, co-star of American Restoration on the History Channel.

Children's book illustrations I created for a story written by Kelly Dale, co-star of American Restoration on the History Channel.

Children's book illustrations I created for a story written by Kelly Dale, co-star of American Restoration on the History Channel.

Native American Warrior

Native American Warrior T-Shirt Design

Client:

Dark Horse Fightwear

Description:

T-Shirt illustration of a native american warrior with a green horse spirit emerging from his heart, designed for Dark Horse Fightwear. I really like how this design turned out – at first we weren’t sure how to incorporate the horse (the trademark of the brand) into the illustration, and then we came up with this idea of having the horse be an elemental spirit curling around the warrior.

Native American Warrior

Native American Warrior

Native American Warrior

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

Pig-Pimpin-mockup

Interview of Brian Allen on T-Shritonomy

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by the TShirtonomy.com, a site that features new t-shirt design trends and artwork.

I’m humbled to be a part of their impressive lineup!  If you’re interested in learning a little more about me, and how I design T-Shirts, check out the full interview here:  http://tshirtonomy.com/interview-brian-allen

Here is part of the interview:

It’s been a while between artist interviews, but today we’re very lucky to have had the opportunity to interview the extremely talented Brian Allen of Flyland Designs.com

How would you introduce yourself and your art to people who may not familiar with you?

My name is Brian Allen, I am a full-time freelance illustrator working in my studio called FlylandDesigns.com. I’ve got a wife, two kids, and a lawn to mow. Life is good! I’m really a pretty ordinary guy – In fact, my artwork and the clients I work with are often a lot cooler than I am!

I work with small businesses, bands, and large companies as well, like Hard Rock Cafe, Spiral Direct, and American Greetings.

How did you get started designing t-shirts?

I love designing t-shirts, but I actually never set out to specialize in that as much as I am now. When I first started as a freelancer illustrator, I was grabbing any job I could get (even web design, which I am quite terrible at). As my artwork starting getting better and my portfolio became more focused, I started getting a flood of T-Shirt projects. This made sense, I guess, because my artwork is line-art driven, and usually high-contrast and colorful, which are the main ingredients for some cool T-Shirts.

I quickly hunted out every resource I could to learn how to design for shirts, and the complicated process of silk-screening. It was a bit of a clumsy process at first, but I’ve learned a lot from talking with other artists and printers since then.

What inspires your work?

I make a point to seek out artists and follow their work on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Behance, and Mintees. It’s so amazing how easy it is to quickly put together a feed of amazing artwork. It can also be overwhelming and intimidating if you’re not careful.

Other than that, I draw a lot of inspiration from the pop culture that I grew up with in the 80s and early 90s. Movies, comics, and music of that era.

Can you give us any insight into your creative process?

For many years, I used to draw and ink on paper, and color digitally in Photoshop. About four years ago, I switched to a 100% digital workflow once I discovered the Wacom Cintiq, which is a monitor and tablet combined. I feel my artwork improved a lot about two years ago, when I switched to Manga Studio 5 for most of my process. In my opinion, it is the best piece of software for drawing and inking, and it has a ton of cool features (like painting with halftones) that make designing t-shirts efficient and enjoyable.

I typically start my designs with a series of rough thumbnails. After choosing the best one, I blow it up, and draw over top. Once I’ve got a pretty clear drawing, I usually turn the color to a light blue, and carefully ink the image. My artwork is usually heavily line-art driven, so my coloring process is similar to the techniques used by comic book artists. I drop in the flat colors, make a copy of that layer, and use the flat color layer to make quick selections as a apply the shading, highlights and rendering. When designing T-Shirts, I typically keep each color on a separate layer, to make the separation process easier.

Which is your favorite design of your own?

My favorite design was a full-color direct-to-garment design I created as a personal project called “Take-Out,” featuring a crazy looking alien with a hot-looking redneck girl tied to the hood of his hot-rod/spaceship. There’s just something about this piece where everything worked (which is rarely the case), and if every project I worked on was exactly like this, I’d be perfectly happy.

Which has been your most successful design to-date?

I believe the most popular design I’ve created was a parody illustration of Cheech and Chong as zombies. The silk-screening was perfect, and the posts about the image were shared more than and reached more people than any other posts I’ve made. It was even featured on Cheech and Chong’s own social media outlets. The design was created for an apparel brand called Marijuana Zombie.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

H.R. Giger and Luis Royo.

Favorite T-Shirt designers: Zombie Yeti, Angry Blue, Godmachine, Dane Henry Jr, Jared Moraitis (Beast Pop), Felix LaFlamme.

What are some of your interests outside of art?

My family and I love camping – there are a lot of great places to go here in Pennsylvania, and it’s a lot of fun now that my kids are big enough that I don’t have to worry about them getting carried off by squirrels.

What are your vices?

I often get myself into trouble by taking too many things on at once. I’ll end up trying to go in too many directions at once, and then I can’t really focus enough on any one thing. I’m working on it!

Hypothetical dinner party, you and any two people, dead or alive, who do you choose?

Louis C.K. – I admire his ambition and complete devotion to his art. I heard that every year he completely throws away his previous act, and starts over from scratch, never telling the same joke from the previous year again. I wish I was that fearless!

Ronnie James Dio – Because … well, because Dio.

Are you currently working on anything we should keep an eye out for?

I recently partnered with RageOn.com, the largest distributor of dye-sublimated apparel. I’ve opened up a shop with them, and they will be selling many of my designs exclusively. What makes them different than other T-Shirt sites is that they print the design on every inch of the shirt – even the shoulders and sleeves – and the designs are in full color.

I recently created a design I’m excited about featuring Kermit and Ms. Piggy as a pimp and ho entitled “Pig Pimpin.” You can check it out here.

———

Thanks for your time Brian, we look forward to seeing more from you in the future!

You can checkout all of Brian’s work on his website, here: http://www.flylanddesigns.com

He’s also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Behance.

Marijuana bud leaf mascot logo character I created

Kush Canvas Mascot

Logo and mascot design I created for a marijuana themed printing business called Kush Canvas. The client asked me to create a friendly character made from a leafy bud. I designed the logo in three different versions: one-color, simple-color, and full-color, so that it could be used in many different applications.

Click here to see more of my Logo Designs

Marijuana bud leaf mascot logo character I created

Check out more of my Mascot designs here.

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Childrens book I illustrated about zombies is available for free as an ebook today and tomorrow! If you've got kids, and you like to freak them out, then this is the book for you! Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/boonumlxbo

Childrens book I illustrated about zombies is available for free as an ebook today and tomorrow! If you've got kids, and you like to freak them out, then this is the book for you! Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/boonumlxbo Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Childrens book I illustrated about zombies is available for free as an ebook today and tomorrow!  If you've got kids, and you like to freak them out, then this is the book for you!  Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/boonumlxbo

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie Vaping eJuice

Zombie label illustrations I created for Vaping Sisters’ new line of eJuice flavors. The client gave me the names of the eight flavors, and I had to design and illustrate a different character for each. The labels themselves are only about 2.5 inches tall, so I had to design the characters with a lot of contrast and bright colors so they could be legible at such a small size. The flavors are sold online and in their shop.Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Zombie cartoon characters illustrations for eJuice vaping flavors

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Pig-Pimpin-mockup

Introducing my new apparel shop on RageOn

My new apparel shop is open on RageOn!  I’m super pumped about this – these guys are the largest dye-sublimation printers around – which means they can print my designs ALL-OVER the whole shirt – covering even the sleeves and right up to the collar.  And the best thing is that all the prints are in full-color, so I can really go nuts with the colors, and not worry about separations.  I’m really excited to have a new medium like this to put my artwork on – and they are also plugging me in to their already huge fanbase.  Please check it out and share a link if you know someone who might dig it.

Here was the write up on their site about the news:

Rage On proudly welcomes The Art of Brian Allen to our growing list of brands! Brian Allen is a successful freelance artist from Pennsylvania whose illustrations explore the concepts of light and dark. His quirky art style involves close attention to detail and a healthy dash of humor no matter how creepy the design. Get ready to plunge into a world that’s as vibrant as it is twisted! You can get all of these sick designs HERE!

Pig-Pimpin-mockup

Custom caricature illustrations of doctors and team members

Brian Allen interviewed by The Artful Club

I was interviewed by the Artful Club today!  Check it out if you want to crack the mystery that is Brian Allen.

http://artfulclub.com/interview-with-illustrator-brian-allen/

Here is the interview:

1) Firstly, I’d like to thank you for the interview. We’d like to understand how your interest for illustration started shaping up. Tell us a bit more about what made you go this route!

I was raised by a clan of artists – my grandmother, uncle, great-grandfather, and brother are/were all artists in many different mediums.  My brother and I would draw our own action figures on cardboard and make our own comics.  I always looked up to his talent, and when I look back at it now, I realize that I spent a lot of time trying to outdraw him, and I think that competition helped me grow as an artist immeasurably.

2) Tell us a bit more about how you learned it all. What changed in the last few years in terms of ease of expanding your skills and knowledge?

I learned so much at my first illustration job working at a graphic decal shop for dirtbikes over ten years ago.  The owner was a very talented artist who previously worked on video games before leaving to start his own business.

Once I started my own freelance illustration business a few years ago, the speed and style of learning changed dramatically.  Now the success of my family was literally riding on my improvement and growth.  The threat of starvation can be a great motivator!  And on the other end, once the ceiling of a fixed salary was removed, that was also a great motivator to keep pushing and growing.

After making that move, I become a bit bolder in how I sought out information and growth, often reaching out directly to artists that I admired for so long. 

3) What does your creative process look like?

Every piece begins with a fair amount of strategizing at the beginning.  I admire artists who can just dive right in and create something amazing off the top of their heads.  I have never been able to work that way.  I spend a lot of time with the brief (if working with a client), then I research and gather reference material, seek out inspiration, seek out similar approaches that have worked, and those that don’t.   I find that I can create a much more believable gun (for example) if I know what model it is, how it works, what type of person would be using it, etc.

Once I surround myself with these things, I throw down a lot of very loose sketches and compositions.  Often my first thumbnail sketch is the one I go with, but my personality is one of second-guessing, and if I don’t sweat out all the different options, I spend the rest of the project in a funk of “what-if?”

Most of the time, I work 100% digitally, drawing on a Wacom Cintiq 24HD.  I’ve gotten spoiled on the convenience of this, and sometimes miss the raw experience of drawing on paper.  But as a freelancer, time is money, and there’s no question that working digitally is huge time-saver for me.

4) Do you have any recommendations in terms of good books, programs you use, or media choices you’re willing to share with us?

The program that every digital illustrator should be using is Smith Micro’s Manga Studio 5.  I used to draw and ink on paper, then scan the artwork in and color it in Photoshop.  I switched to a 100% digital workflow about four years ago, but I never felt that Adobe Photoshop was able to replicate the way I drew.  When I discovered Manga Studio 4, then the much improved MS5, it was like having an epiphany.  In my opinion, the program is just so much more accurate in the way it handles drawing, and its tools are more user friendly and built for illustrators.  It made drawing fun and exciting again.

I also always recommend Youtube as a great artists’ resource.  There is an endless supply of free tutorials, speed-paintings, interviews, and inspirational videos on there that I draw from daily.  I often leave it on in the background as I work, picking up a new tip here and there.

I strongly recommend the online classes hosted by Schoolism.com (particularly the digital painting course by Bobby Chiu), and the tutorials available on Skillshare.com.

For books, I recommend the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines   and  2014 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market (Artists and Graphic Designers Market)    these are great books that help reinforce the value of artwork encouraging artists to maintain sustainable pricing for everyone involved.

5) Do you have a special place or object that boosts your inspiration and helps your creative drive? What is it like and why does it have this effect on you?

I always seem to get a lot of inspiration in the middle of a movie sitting in a theatre, or when watching a band play on stage somewhere.  I think there’s something about being in a dark room and being forced to sit down, shut up, and just immerse yourself in another artist’s world. 

6) Could you describe how a productive day would look like from your point of view? Which are the most important hours for you?

When I finish a piece of artwork, and feel that its better than the last piece, I feel productive.  When I’m working on projects that I feel are a step background, even if I’m producing a lot, can quickly make me feel like I’m treading water.  I also hate the necessary evil that is email.  I probably spend about an hour and a half a day answering emails – this is something I never anticipated when I started my own business.  Even though it is necessary, and it’s usually producing new projects, I can’t escape the client and I are just tossing a ball back and forth.

Unlike many artists that I know, I am not a night owl – I’m in bed by 10PM, probably because my kids wear me out.  So the most important hours to me are the normal working hours. 

7) What is your stance on today’s ever growing opportunities enabling artists to take on remote design work?

In one word:  incredible.  My style is very unique, so I could never experience this level of success if I was pulling only from a local pool of clients – especially considering that I live in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania, just outside of Penn State University.  I get to work with clients from all over the world, and my process is basically the same whether the client is from down the street, across the country, or on the other side of the world.  Simple tools like PayPal, Skype, and Dropbox (which are all essentially free) have transformed my business. 

8) What would you prefer: a steady, well paying job in a local agency, or the freedom and often stressful life of a freelancer? Why?

Once I started working as a freelancer, I realized right away that this fit my personality exactly.  I’m a control freak, and need to be the shaper of my own destiny.  I realize now that I must have driven my previous managers crazy, haha.  Now that I have tasted this freedom, it’s hard to imagine how I could ever go back.  The freedom to literally choose which projects I want to work on is so liberating, and I think it has really helped my growth as an artist.  I only recently realized that just as doing good art can you make you better, doing bad art can make you worse.

There is no question, however, that Freelancing is more stressful than my previous steady jobs as an illustrator.  I’m still learning how to manage my time and maintain a balance between work and my family.  It’s very hard to know when to turn it off, because unlike most jobs, being a freelance illustrator isn’t just a job I do, it’s who I am.  It’s an incredibly personal venture.

9) How would you describe “the ideal project”? Did you have any recent opportunities to come close to this?

I’m very proud of a project I did last year for Hard Rock Cafe, which involved creating T-Shirt designs of some of their most famous city locations around the world, such as Tokyo, Miami, Amsterdam, and Yankee Stadium.  To me, an ideal project is one that the client and I both are excited about, both during the production, and after the artwork is finished. I enjoy working on projects that I can put a piece of myself into it – I want people who know me to look at my work, and say, “this is you.”

Thank you!  Here is some contact and promotional information about where to find me on the web:

Tiki man on beach T-Shirt design for restuarant

Tiki Man T-Shirt Design For Restaurant

Client:

Local T-Shrits

Description:

T-Shirt illustration I designed for a restaurant called Big Kahuna Cafe in conjunction with Local T-Shirts. I had a lot of fun with this design – a acgreat theme to be working with during the summer months. The design was created for Direct To Garment printing, so we could really go all out with the colors.

Tiki Man T-Shirt Design For Restaurant

Tiki man on beach T-Shirt design for restuarant

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

Client:

Local T-Shrits

Description:

T-Shirt illustration I designed for a restaurant called Big Kahuna Cafe in conjunction with Local T-Shirts. I had a lot of fun with this design – a acgreat theme to be working with during the summer months. The design was created for Direct To Garment printing, so we could really go all out with the colors.

Tiki Man T-Shirt Design For Restaurant

Tiki man on beach T-Shirt design for restuarant

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

927467_749516048453678_982451972_n

Proud to present the Pig-Pimpin Dye-Sublimated all-over print t-shirt I created for my new apparel store at http://www.rageon.com/collections/the-art-of-brian-AllenPlease help me share this! It's my baby!

Proud to present the Pig-Pimpin Dye-Sublimated all-over print t-shirt I created for my new apparel store at http://www.rageon.com/collections/the-art-of-brian-AllenPlease help me share this! It's my baby! Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Proud to present the Pig-Pimpin Dye-Sublimated all-over print t-shirt I created for my new apparel store at http://www.rageon.com/collections/the-art-of-brian-AllenPlease help me share this! It's my baby!

Pig Pimpin

Pig Pimpin Muppets Parody T-Shirt

T-Shirt parody illustration I created of Kermit and Ms. Piggy hitting hard times, entitled “Pig Pimpin.” This was an illustration I created sometime ago, and I always loved the idea, but the execution was kind of flat. I decided to redraw it, and I’m really glad I did.

Pig Pimpin' muppets redux

Pig-Pimpin-mockup

Pig Pimpin

Pig Pimpin

Purchase as a signed art print

Also available as an all-over print T-Shirt from Rage On

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

T-Shirt illustration of demon and angel wings for MMA apparel company

Angel and Demon Wings MMA T-Shirt design

Client:

Dark Horse Fightwear

Description:

T-Shirt design I created for the MMA apparel company, Dark Horse Apparel, featuring a set of demon and angel wings on the back. I’ve seen T-Shirt designs with wings on the back before that I really liked, so I tried to approach this one by adding my own stylistic input wherever I could. I put most of that into the abstract handling of the “spine” down the back.

This design was set up for silk-screening with 4 colors.

T-Shirt illustration of demon and angel wings for MMA apparel company

T-Shirt illustration of demon and angel wings for MMA apparel company

T-Shirt illustration of demon and angel wings for MMA apparel company

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

T-Shirt illustration of a skeleton riding a motorcycle through flames holding a gun

Skeleton Warrior Biker T-Shirt

Client:

Celtic Warriors

Description:

T-Shirt illustration I created of a skeleton riding a chopper through flames for the motorcycle club Celtic Warriors. It’s always a pleasure to work on direct-to-garment T-Shirts, because I don’t have to hold back on colors.

Signed art prints of the design will also be auctioned off to support the client’s local police force, of which he is a member.

T-Shirt illustration of a skeleton riding a motorcycle through flames holding a gun

T-Shirt illustration of a skeleton riding a motorcycle through flames holding a gun

T-Shirt illustration of a skeleton riding a motorcycle through flames holding a gun

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Sports mascot illustration of a tiger playng soccer for kids

Tiger Soccer Mascot for kids

Client:

Great Dane Graphics

Description:

Cartoon mascot illustration of a tiger playing basketball I created for Great Dane Graphics and their children’s sports line. The graphic will be used for T-Shirts and other products for kids’ sport teams. The client wanted these designs to be fully rendered digital paintings, without lineart, which is not the typical style I work in. I’m happy with how they turned out.

Sports mascot illustration of a tiger playng soccer for kids

Sports mascot illustration of a bulldog playing basketball for kids

Check out more of my Mascot designs here.

Click here to see more of my Illustrations.

Sports mascot illustration of a bulldog playing basketball for kids

Bulldog Soccer Mascot for kids

Client:

Great Dane Graphics

Description:

Cartoon mascot illustration of a bulldog playing basketball I created for Great Dane Graphics and their children’s sports line. The graphic will be used for T-Shirts and other products for kids’ sport teams. The client wanted these designs to be fully rendered digital paintings, without lineart, which is not the typical style I work in. I’m happy with how they turned out.

Sports mascot illustration of a tiger playng soccer for kids

Sports mascot illustration of a bulldog playing basketball for kids

Check out more of my Mascot designs here.

Click here to see more of my Illustrations.

Brian Allen on Behance

2000 Followers on Behance!

Behance is my favorite place right now to connect with other artists and get inspiration. Somehow I just reached 2000 followers yesterday! This is a huge compliment to me, because everyone on that site is top talent, in my opinion.

If you’re on Behance, please connect with me:

https://www.behance.net/flylanddesigns

Thank you!

Mushroom cloud skull in fire for a logo design

Nuke Proof Tools

T-Shirt design I created of a mushroom cloud shaped fire skull for Nuke Proof Tools. The image will be used on banners and T-Shirts for the company’s tradeshows and events. The client had seen a mushroom cloud skull design I did years ago, and wanted something similar. It was fun to go back and work on the same concept, and have the chance to make imrpovements.

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Mushroom cloud skull in fire for a logo design

Mushroom cloud skull in fire for a logo design

Mushroom cloud skull in fire for a logo design

Mushroom cloud skull in fire for a logo design

Mushroom cloud skull in fire for a logo design

Mushroom cloud skull in fire for a logo design

T-Shirt illustration of a evil skeleton with airbrushes and smoke

Airbrush Skeleton T-Shirt Illustration

Client:

Explicit Airbrush

Description:

T-Shirt design I illustrated of a skeleton with dual airbrushes for the awesome airbrush shop Explicit Airbrush. The client and owner of the shop is an artist himself, so I had a lot of fun as our collective minds grew this illustration. This design is set up for Direct-to-garment printing.

T-Shirt illustration of a evil skeleton with airbrushes and smoke

T-Shirt illustration of a evil skeleton with airbrushes and smoke

T-Shirt illustration of a evil skeleton with airbrushes and smoke

T-Shirt illustration of a evil skeleton with airbrushes and smoke

Check out more of my T-Shirt designs here.

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Editorial illustration of celebtiry caricatures building a house

Editorial Caricature magazine spread illustration

Client:

HOSS

Description:

Double-page editorial spread I illustrated for the Canadian DIY magazine HOSS. The magazine features many tv DIY celebrities, and the art director wanted a detailed illustration introducing each of their contributors as caricatures building a house. There were over 18 caricatures that went into this very complex illustration.

The magazine prints over a million copies bi-monthly.

Editorial illustration of celebtiry caricatures building a house

Editorial illustration of celebtiry caricatures building a house

Editorial illustration of celebtiry caricatures building a house

Click here to see more of my Illustrations.

T-Shirt illustration I created of a Pelican on the beach for Mike's Beach Bar.

Iron Maiden Killers Tribute Illustration

Client:

Listenable Records

Description:

Iron Maiden, and the artist behind their amazing artwork, Derek Riggs, have always been a huge inspiration for everything that I do. So I was super excited when I was hired by Listenable Records to create an illustration tribute to Iron Maiden’s first album, “Killers,” for an upcomming sampler that would be given out at Iron Maiden concerts in Europe. I tried to cram in as much of my own style as I could.

T-Shirt illustration I created of a Pelican on the beach for Mike's Beach Bar.

T-Shirt illustration I created of a Pelican on the beach for Mike's Beach Bar.

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Click here to see more of my custom album cover designs.

Client:

Listenable Records

Description:

Iron Maiden, and the artist behind their amazing artwork, Derek Riggs, have always been a huge inspiration for everything that I do. So I was super excited when I was hired by Listenable Records to create an illustration tribute to Iron Maiden’s first album, “Killers,” for an upcomming sampler that would be given out at Iron Maiden concerts in Europe. I tried to cram in as much of my own style as I could.

T-Shirt illustration I created of a Pelican on the beach for Mike's Beach Bar.

T-Shirt illustration I created of a Pelican on the beach for Mike's Beach Bar.

Click here to see more of my Dark Illustrations

Click here to see more of my custom album cover designs.