Joshua Hutchinson is a concept artist and illustrator who works in the digital medium to create mesmerizing environments and landscapes. He strives to infuse his work with vibrant colors and a compelling narrative, hoping to capture the viewers’ imagination and send them to another world. Joshua has done a variety of works including CD album covers, board game art, mobile game artwork, and promotional artwork for independent games. His goal is to work in the film and video game industries and contribute to products and services which entertain the masses.
Iulian: Tell us a little bit about yourself: where did you grow up and how did your early life influence your future as an artist?
Josh: I grew up in the town of Chesterfield in the UK. My family and I believe I got my creativity from my Dad, who is currently working as an architect and used to do a lot of watercolor paintings of the surrounding landscape. It may sound odd, but what really set me on the path of art was seeing my sister draw a banana for her art homework when I was about nine years old. I looked at it and thought, “That looks so real! I want to be able to do that!” From there, I had studied art at as many levels as formal education allowed me, which was up until the age of eighteen, but that was strictly traditional media only. At sixteen I picked up my first graphics tablet (which I still use to this day) and started learning digital art by myself, side-by-side with traditional media in school.
What are your favorite design tools and how did you get to learn them?
I use Photoshop for 90% of my work, but sometimes I do more design-based and more structural work in Zbrush and Sketchup. I have learnt them by myself thanks to the many free tutorials available online.
Are there any other artists out there that you admire and whose work has helped shape your work?
Theo Prins, Jeff Simpson, Jae Cheol Park and the work of Studio Ghibli are a massive inspiration to me, and I have recently been experimenting with similar styles in my work trying to define a style for myself.
Where do you find inspiration?
The artists I mentioned are one source of inspiration, but I also get inspiration from subjects not related to art. The vastness and beauty of space and the deep sea are awe-inspiring to me and although they don’t appear very much in my work, they inspire me to create. Sometimes I also get inspiration from literature and single words, and try to illustrate a scene from a book or a feeling that a certain word gave me.
How would you break down your workflow in steps?
I don’t have one set workflow as I am still developing my own style, but for the majority of my work-particularly more organic landscapes with foliage and mountains—I start with greyscale thumbnails to establish a good composition and values. After I choose one to take further, I make a few copies of it, and quickly experiment with different color palettes. After I choose one of them, I enlarge the image and start to refine the shapes, the colors, and move on to detailing the piece.
Your work is very fantasy-driven. What drives you to that subject?
I’ve always loved fantasy more than any other genre. Sci-fi is also very cool to paint, but it doesn’t give me a sort of warmth and spiritual feeling like fantasy does. I’m sure many other artists are the same in that it’s almost like a form of escapism. I get the same feeling when I read a fantasy novel, or think about the deep sea, or other planets in space.
If there was one piece of advice you could give other beginning artists, what would that be?
I don’t have anything innovative and profound to say in terms of advice. All I can say is the usual “don’t give up, have fun with your work, don’t take it too seriously, and also don’t overwork yourself.”
We selected one of your pieces for the cover of our magazine. Tell us a few words about how that piece came to be.
That piece was actually from a topic on the Facebook group page “Daily Spitpaint”, which offers different topics daily and challenges users to do a 30 minute painting of one of them. The topic I chose was “Soul Ascending.” As I have said before, I am a sucker for anything involving spirituality. I had an incredibly positive response to my quick painting, so I decided to refine it and take it to a finished state, which you can see on the cover.
Where can we find you on the web?
My official website is http://www.joshuahutchinson.co.uk. There, you can sign up to my mailing list to receive up-to-date info on any projects I’m involved with and new pieces of work.
Here are some samples of Josh’s works:
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