Matt! Thanks so much for taking time out to talk to Baremelon! To start with, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure! Thank you for asking me, it is quite cool to be interviewed all the way from Dubai!
I was born in San Diego, California, in a hippie beach town called Leucadia, where I was raised by my mom with my older brother Greg. I went to college for animation at Cal State University Fullerton in Orange County (right near Disneyland). My first job out of college was at a .Com doing image production work and graphic design. Shortly after I started, I began doing freelance illustration for various companies until I decided to give it a try full-time in 2006! I have been working for myself since.
What clicked in that precious mind of yours, which prompted you to choose art as a career?
I was fortunate enough to have a very supportive mom who fostered my creativity and encouraged me to pursue whatever made me happy. Luckily for me, it was the love of creating art. It was never really an option if I was going to be an artist, it was just a matter of when it would all come together.
What’s the best and the worst part of being a designer?
I would say I am more of an Illustrator than designer, although I do quite a bit of design work. I would say the best part of being an illustrator is being able to draw, paint and illustrate every day! Every day is something new and different. The worst part is having one of those days where nothing seems to work out, you try and draw something and it looks horrible, you try and switch gears and focus on another project only to hit a huge mental road block. Another thing is that I work out of the house, and you can get pretty stir crazy if you don’t get outside and take a break.
How did the love for robots start?
I have always been a fan of technology, even growing up I would take apart just about anything I could just to see how it works. One of my favorite robot movies was Short Circuit. I really liked how something so simple looking could portray so many emotions by just moving a few things.
What inspired your own personal design style?
Style has never been in the forefront of what I do. I have always learned: Do what you love, learn from others, and style will come. I am not sure I have a style yet, although some say I do, but style is something that constantly evolves and becomes more refined with time.
Which software and tool is your saving grace?
Hands down, Photoshop is almost the only software I use consistently. I use Illustrator when I have to for a certain project, but my go-to has always been Photoshop. I started using it when it was Photoshop 4.0!
For digital, my favorite tool is my Wacom Cintiq. It’s a tablet with an LCD built in that I can draw on. It allows me to sketch out paintings quickly, in the most natural way possible (for drawing digitally).
For good ol’ sketching it is a sharp #2 pencil and a BIC pen. Occasionally I will use Micron pens if I am looking for some heavy blacks.
Any tips or tricks that you’re willing to share?
Always look for inspiration. It is amazing what can spark your imagination. The other morning I was at the park with my dog, and there was this perfect light beaming through the trees, the haze of the early morning still thick, the light was dancing between the branches creating a really neat light show.
What is the expected reaction that you want people to have when they see your designs?
Tell us about any of your latest projects?
I am illustrating some t-shirt designs for a new t-shirt company based in the UK, and working on a couple websites.
What music do you listen to while working?
In the morning I start off with some talk radio like Howard Stern or podcasts like This American Life, Radiolab, or The Potato Potato Podcast. I find it easier to start the day with talk than music. It could come from my early days in school where I would draw while the teacher was talking. Starting in the afternoon, I switch over to music. Depending on what I am working on, it could be some downtempo electronica like Mushroom Jazz or some really hard-core metal like Carcass; I have very broad musical taste.
Any advice or trivia that you want to give to designers in the making?
Stick with it, take criticism and USE it — if you never put yourself out there, how can you improve? Even the best artists can improve, and are always seeking to get better.
Check him out on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattqspangler or visit his website: http://www.mattspangler.com